What to expect from the successors of Merkel?
Angela Merkel’s decision to leave the post of chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and not to run for office after 2021 plunged not only Germany but also the entire Western world into shock. In the United States after Donald Trump came to power, it was Merkel who was called the leader of the "free world." Now he will lose this leader.
The reason for the decision of Merkel was a disastrous result in the elections to the Hesse Landtag, where the CDU showed the worst result in 50 years, losing more than 10% of the vote. Merkel’s partners in the ruling coalition from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) experienced a similar fiasco.
Now experts are wondering: who will be Merkel’s successor as head of the CDU, and then the German chancellor? If, of course, the CDU manages to win the elections to the Bundestag in 2021 and form a ruling coalition.
The list of favorites is long.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer - former chief minister of Saarland, who recently rose through the party line to the secretary general of the CDU. The 56-year-old politician is one of Merkel’s most loyal supporters, including on the issue of refugees. For her, the main foreign partner is Washington.
The Minister of Defense of Germany, the mother of seven children, Ursula von der Lyayen, can be attributed to the real successors of the Merkel case. Despite the ambitious and leadership qualities, it is also not necessary to expect a return to conservatism, which is required in the ruling faction of the CDU / CSU. Recently, the authority of von der Lyayen fell due to an investigation into the involvement of freelancers in the defense ministry.
Supporters of Jamaica
Among the followers of Merkel, the German media called the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Lashet, thanks to which in 2017 the CDU increased by 7% in the local Landtag, taking away the palm of the SPD. Lashet loyal to Merkel, but is in good relations with the Free Democrats (FDP) and is even ready to form the next government with them. The little-known 45-year-old Daniel Gunter, who is the leader of the “Jamaican coalition” in the Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein as prime minister, would also have taken such a step.
Not less, and perhaps more chances for the chancellorship of open critics of Merkel in the CDU. Their leader is Friedrich Mertz, an ultra-conservative and opponent of the “social democratization” of the conservative party. Mertz is hated by the CDU coalition partners - the SPD, not to mention the "Left". The reason for this was a speech in which the former member of the European Parliament said that those who want to live in Germany for a long time must "adapt to the mature liberal leading German culture." Merz has personal accounts with Merkel, who in 2002 squeezed him out of the CDU / CSU leadership. All those who want to return to conservatism, from which the current chancellor has departed during the migration crisis, will unite around him.
A big critic of the migration policy of Merkel is Health Minister Jens Špan. Already announced about his candidacy for the post of head of the CDU, Špan is a representative of the conservative wing of the party, although he is an open homosexual. Along with Lashet and Günther, he is also a supporter of the coalition with the Greens and the FDP. For Špan, the basis of foreign policy is a European project led by Berlin. He considers the US to be the main ally outside the EU, with which the FRG must be united in the anti-Russian direction.
The Last of the Mohicans
The head of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, stands apart. The most experienced of the candidates, who began his career in 1965, he headed the office under Helmut Kohl, held the posts of Minister of Internal Affairs and Finance. Supporter of the order and, unlike Merkel, who knows how to make others listen to him, and not only in Germany, but also at the European level. It was thanks to Schäuble that the Eurozone and Greece were imposed austerity after the financial crisis. Restraining factor for the crown of his long career as the Chancellor's chair may be age (he is 76 years old) and ridicule to a wheelchair. Although the head of parliament does not give signs of fatigue.