Angela Merkel's choice elected ruling party leader

Angela Merkel's choice elected ruling party leader

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer - known in Germany as AKK or even "Mini-Merkel" - has been duly elected the new leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union party. She was narrowly voted into power with 51.8 percent of votes - 517 votes from 999 cast - by CDU delegates.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been chosen to give Harvard University's commencement speech May 30.

German party leaders, including Merkel, have traditionally been selected through backroom deals and faced no competition during confirmation votes at party conventions. "AKK represents the emergence of a new generation and the "change with continuity" that makes many German voters comfortable".

Harvard officials announced the selection Friday, calling Merkel "one of the world's most influential leaders" since she was elected her country's first female chancellor in 2005. Had Merz won, it would probably have meant an untimely end to Merkel's reign, since she pushed him out of politics in the early 2000s, and he believes she led the party too far left of centre.

This week Merz, who has insisted in the face of widespread scepticism, that he could work well with Merkel, won the backing of powerful former finance minister and the current parliamentary speaker Wolfgang Schaeuble.

After a smattering of applause throughout the course of her final speech as CDU chief, Merkel was bid farewell with a rousing standing ovation that lasted about 10 minutes and included a brief encore.

"We have to have the courage to buck the zeitgeist", Kramp-Karrenbauer said in her speech to delegates.

A third contender, Health Minister Jens Spahn, 38, an outspoken critic of Merkel's 2015 decision to welcome more than one million asylum seekers to Germany, is seen as being in a distant third place.

Kramp-Karrenbauer has shown a greater willingness than Merkel to cater to conservative rhetoric, and on Friday rejected the notion that she would be a Merkel clone.

She also celebrated Germany's balancing its budget in recent years and its response to the eurozone debt crisis.

Germany's neighbors are already concerned that the departure of Europe's longest serving leader could weaken the European Union. She moved her party relentlessly to the center, dropping military conscription, accelerating Germany's exit from nuclear energy, introducing benefits encouraging fathers to look after their young children and allowing the introduction of gay marriage.

In 18 years of experience, she said she "learned that leadership is more about internal strength then external volume".

For years, Merkel's popularity lifted the CDU and its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union.

'We kept a cool head, ' she said.

Months before the national election where the CDU slumped to its worst result since 1949 winning just 32.9 per cent of the national vote, she managed to secure over 40 percent of the vote in Saarland, marking her out as a victor in a field of losers. But the mother of three also inherits the hard task of ending the CDU's lackluster showing over the past three years in local, regional and national elections, as well as winning back hundreds of thousands of voters.

"In times like these, we will defend our liberal views, our way of life, both at home and overseas", Merkel told deputies according to Reuters.

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