Kramp-Karrenbauer to step down as CDU leader

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has served as the head of the CDU since December 2018, having beaten out former CDU/CSU parliamentary faction leader Friedrich Merz and Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. [EPA-EFE/FILIP SINGER]

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has announced her intention to resign as leader of Germany’s CDU party. The news comes amid on ongoing political spat in the German state of Thuringia, following the recent election of a regional leader who had contracted support from the far-right Alternative for Germany party.

Speaking an executive committee meeting on Monday morning (10 February), Kramp-Karrenbauer said she will “organize the process of candidacy for Chancellor this summer, continue to prepare the party for the future, and then give up the party chairmanship,” according to individuals in attendance.

The decision comes on the heels of the political crisis in Thuringia, where the state branch of her party joined with the liberals (FDP) and far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) to elect Thomas Kemmerich as the Minister-President. While Kemmerich has since resigned, the so-called “breach of taboo” has spurred protests throughout the country.

The election has also raised questions about Kramp-Karrenbauer’s leadership. Despite her orders to work with neither the far-left (Die Linke) nor the AfD, Thuringia’s 21 CDU parliamentarians voted with the AfD anyway. This has left many asking whether she ever had the authority required to govern the party.

Her Social Democratic (SPD) coalition partners in Berlin echoed these criticisms during the emergency summit over the weekend. “She made the chaos even larger!” SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil told local Stuttgart newspapers.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, has thanked her for her work and called for her to stay on as Minister of Defense.

Kramp-Karrenbauer has served as the head of the CDU since December 2018, having beaten former CDU/CSU parliamentary faction leader Friedrich Merz and Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn.

Edited By Samuel Stolton

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