Merkel Protege Stepping Down as Party Leader Amid Turmoil

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Germany's Defense Minister and Angela Merkel's protégé, is resigning as leader of the Chancellor's CDU party and will not seek to compete for the country's top job in the next election.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, or AKK, as she likes to be known, made headlines on Monday by announcing that she will not lead the Christian Democrats (CDU), according to German media citing party spokesman. Likewise, it will be someone else to run for Chancellor in the next election.

AKK, who will still keep the position of Defense Minister, will arrange the selection of a candidate by summer. She will give up the leadership as soon as she makes sure that the CDU is prepared for future, the spokesman added.

Kramp-Karrenbauer was picked as CDU chief back in 2018, being widely seen as Merkel's potential successor. But a series of political scandals made critics argue that the 57-year-old politician isn't up to the top job.

Last week’s news further undermined her political career. At the time, regional MPs in the eastern state of Thuringia gathered to approve a new government after last October’s elections.

No party secured an overwhelming majority but Thuringia’s former Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow of the Left Party, sought to stay in office, benefiting from an alliance with the Greens and Social Democrats.

All of a sudden, the CDU sided with rightwing Alternative for Germany (AfD) and pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), electing Ramelow’s rival Thomas Kemmerich instead, breaking a long-standing taboo on cooperating with AfD.

The rebellious CDU move not only sent shockwaves through the ruling center-right coalition, but also showed AKK was effectively powerless to maintain order in her own party.

Merkel had to cut short her visit to South Africa and quickly quell the crisis. She insisted that what Thuringia’s CDU members had done was “unforgivable” and demanded that the vote be reversed.

You can read this article as it originally appears at RT here.

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This article originally appeared at RT.