The & # 39; Mini-Merkel & # 39; in Germany the challenge confronts & # 39; Conservative Disrupter & # 39;

The German Chancellor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer's protege-director, tries to leave the shadow of her mentor and shake off her nickname "mini-Merkel". She says she wants to restore the feeling of voters to being part of a German homeland.

"An era is coming to an end, we need to think of a way people can feel at home here," Kramp-Karrenbauer said this week as she made her leadership bid to follow Angela Merkel as president of the ruling Christian Democrats, or CDU.

Merkel announced last week that she would resign as a party leader in December and end an era of two decades in which she moved the most powerful party of Germany from the right of the political spectrum to the center. Her decision followed two regional elections in which the CDU and its center-right allies, as well as the left-wing Social Democrats, suffered their worst election reversals in decades, in favor of the Greens and the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Kramp-Karrenbauer's comments came in the wake of an opinion poll suggesting that a majority of Germans feel like strangers in their own country, mainly because of immigration. According to a study conducted at the University of Leipzig, one in three Germans think the state is "overwhelmed by foreigners in dangerous degree".

Doubt to Merkel will end his term

The inflow of 1.6 million refugees and migrants since 2014 is generally seen as the condemnation of Merkel's fourth term of office. She intends to complete her tenure as chancellor, which ends in 2021, but there are doubts as to whether she will succeed. Many observers do not expect that its "big coalition government" will survive, amidst the growing signs that the Social Democrats would decide to step out of the lightning-reigning alliance next year.

FILE – German Chancellor and President of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Angela Merkel, right, and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer left, Secretary-General of the CDU, lecture at meeting in Berlin, Germany, November 4, 2018.

A poll published by the newspaper Bild this week shows growing impatience with Merkel's decision to stay on as chancellor, with 62 per cent saying that she should give way to a successor and resign by the end of the year.

Kramp-Karrenbauer was cared for by Merkel, who picked her from the Saarland region in February, bordering France and Luxembourg, where she served as prime minister, to make her the general secretary of the CDU. She has been slower than her main rivals for the job as party chairman. A thousand CDU delegates will choose their new leader at a party congress in Hamburg early next month.

Kramp-Karrenbauer is considered the most liberal of the contenders and most in line with Merkel's centrism. So her recognition of the importance of a sense of belonging & # 39; is seen as an appeal to more conservative party activists, who have long struggled at Merkel's march towards the center and her sympathy for the voters of the Social Democrats.

& # 39; Conservative disrupter & # 39;

A pious Catholic, she will have to try all parts of the party if she wants to defeat her biggest threat, Friedrich Merz, a businessman who has turned into a politician and an old rival of Merkel. The 62-year-old Merz left active politics in 2009 for a lucrative career in business and finance after losing against Merkel. He has been a conservative darling, lovingly remembered by them for the argument that immigrants should assimilate and adopt German culture. He is seen as unpredictable and labeled as a "conservative breaker" by the German press.

FILE - German conservative Friedrich Merz arrives at a press conference on his candidacy to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel as leader of the Christian Democrats, in Berlin, Germany, October 31, 2018.

FILE – German conservative Friedrich Merz arrives at a press conference on his candidacy to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel as leader of the Christian Democrats, in Berlin, Germany, October 31, 2018.

The militant Merz for years rejected any idea of ​​a return to frontline politics, and his announcement last week that he would seek the party leadership was not something that Merkel had expected, her assistants acknowledge. It has also transformed a predictable match between the clear front-runner, Kramp-Karrenbauer and minister Jens Spahn of the health service, which is also seen as a run.

According to business newspaper HandelsblattMerz would change the CDU, change it into the "party of law and order instead of friendly selfies with asylum seekers – the party of churchgoers, entrepreneurs and especially the party of men." Most German commentators accept inevitably that if Merz is chosen, it would be impossible for Merkel to finish her term.

Merz took an early lead in the race to pass Merkel; but he has disappointed some people about the right to praise the European Union's reform plans advocated by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, who would see the bloc more integrated, and the argument that Germany should do more to ensure the EU to keep each other.

"We need to tell people in this country that the Germans should contribute more than others to the success of the European Union," said Merz during an event held by a research group last week. "We have to do more than we actually do, because if Europe fails – and this is a clear option, nobody can deny it, Europe is really at the threshold right now – if Europe fails, the Germans will be the ones who suffer most of that. "he added.