To the emotional farewell of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the delegates of the Christian Democratic Union gathered to elect a successor in Hamburg, the birthplace of Merkel.
Merkel, 64, will hand over the baton to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the 56-year-old general secretary of the CDU and strong supporter of the chancellor. "AKK", as some Germans affectionately call it, so as not to stumble over their name, was Merkel's preferred candidate, at least according to many German media and analysts, because the Chancellor had not publicly endorsed anyone. Kramp-Karrenbauer defeated party colleague Friedrich Merz – the convinced rival Merkel and the former party leader of the party.
Before the vote, Merkel in her 30-minute speech before the vote looked a bit tired and atypical about her words.
Nevertheless, Merkel kept her message simple and straightforward as she was over 18 years as the leader of the Christian Democrats. She even needed a moment to make fun of herself because she was nothing and was "bone dry".
During her speech, Merkel urged the party to unite and show the Germans that they can lead their country through turbulent times of growing polarization, crises like war, terrorist attacks and climate change. Merkel said that the CDU is well-suited to this, if it sticks to its core values, but at the same time is open for change and looks to the future.
"Now is the time to open a new chapter" and bring in new leadership, "Merkel said." At that moment, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. It was a great pleasure for me, it was an honor for me. "
The delegates stood up and brought a long applause to their longtime leader, who simply said," Thank you, boss. "Merkel went back on stage To nod to the crowd several times with smiles, smiles and waves, she finally returned to the microphone and reminded the delegates that they had "much to do." And they did, because Merkel's three-way race Successor was heated.
In the first round of voting on Friday, Kramp-Karrenbauer came first with 450 delegate elections, but she did not get a majority, so she and her second-highest vote fighter were elected The 63-year-old Merz calls for a more conservative, tougher attitude towards the party than Merkel and had in recent weeks for a more militant Approach to suppression of those pronounced in the CDU center.
Kramp-Karrenbauer narrowly defeated Merz The runoff election won with 517 to 482 votes. After the result was announced, a cramp-karrenbauer hitchhiker embraced Merkel and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Angela Merkel, a mentor to the newly elected successor, smiled widely and looked happier than she had in months, having been subjected to a less politically turbulent transition than she will hand over to governess at the end of her term as Chancellor in 2021.  Kramp-Karrenbauer, former Prime Minister of the small German Saarland and quite new on the national political level, is pretty sure that he will succeed the Chancellor CDU in this German general election. However, the mother of three children also inherits the daunting task of ending the disturbing CDU and winning back hundreds of thousands of voters in local, regional and state elections over the past three years over the past three years.
Most of them were the right-wing alternative for Germany over Merkel's controversial decision to openly welcome asylum seekers in 2015, when hundreds of thousands of Syrian Iraqis, Afghans and others came to Germany and elsewhere to other European Union countries to escape war and poverty.
After their victory Kramp-Karrenbauer immediately extended an olive branch to Merz and her other important opponent, German Health Minister Jens Spahn
"" There is room for both in this party, "Kramp-Karrenbauer said, adding: the renewed confidence that resulted in their German parliamentary elections must be continued and linked to the goal that unites us all to preserve and shape our great People's Party. "
Some German observers predict that Kramp Carthaginians, even if their CDU party unites behind them in the next few years, has a long way to go to persuade German voters and the larger European Union that they can be just as stabilizing and powerful as Chancellor Merkel 19659022]