Merkel’s successor not up to job: poll
Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is preparing to hand the chancellorship to 56-year-old Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (pictured) next year, but polling suggests many voters think she is not up to the job.
A Forsa poll claimed 70 per cent of respondents said party leader Kramp-Karrenbauer was not suitable to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel, 64, who should stay on until 2021 when her term ends.
Within the CDU, 52 per cent considered “AKK” an inappropriate choice, the polling for broadcaster RTL suggested.
In December, weeks after Kramp-Karrenbauer took over the party leadership, polls suggested she was the second most popular politician in Germany, behind the veteran chancellor.
But CDU sources allegedly said this week that Merkel wanted to see out the two remaining years of her term, casting doubt on AKK’s accession.
Merkel brushed off questions about a rift with AKK or that she was losing confidence.
“I have never concerned myself intensely with rubbish in my many years of political engagement, which is why I’m not going to comment on this further,” Merkel said in Brussels amid talks to select the European commissioners.
The CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), disappointed in last week’s European election, largely to a growing Green vote.
The centre-right alliance won 28 per cent of the vote, its worst score at a national election since they were founded 70 years ago.
The CDU is accused of losing touch with the under-30s, one in eight of whom supported the party.
YouTubers criticised the CDU and the SPD, its centre-left coalition partner, for their record on the environment and economic divides.
AKK compared the effect of the YouTube criticism to that of 70 newspapers all attacking the government ahead of an election.
“That would have been a clear case of propaganda before a vote and I think it would have triggered a spirited debate,” the chosen successor said. “On the topic of propaganda, the question arises: what are the rules that govern the analogue world and what rules carry force in the digital sphere? That is a question we will have to discuss.”
She was promptly accused of calling for censorship, a sensitive issue in Germany, given the legacy of the Cold War and the Third Reich.
“AKK is weighing up regulation of the opinions people can express before elections,” said Christian Lindner, the liberal Free Democrats leader. “On the contrary, we need more debates, particularly on social media.”
Chief crisis defuser Merkel moved to end the criticism: “Everyone I know in the CDU stands up for freedom of expression as a central principle.”
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. Picture credit: Wikimedia