Merkel’s CDU to elect new leadership by year’s end
BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party will elect its new leadership by year’s end, general secretary Paul Ziemiak said Monday, detailing plans for a clean slate after a disastrous election that the party lost to the Social Democrats.
In power for 16 years under Merkel, the Christian Democratic Union is grappling with its deepest crisis in decades after turning in a historic low score in September’s election.
Its leader Armin Laschet last week signaled his readiness to step aside, setting the ball rolling for renewal at the top.
Ziemiak said a date for the congress to determine the new makeup of the party’s top brass as well as how rank and file members can participate in the leadership selection process will be announced on November 2.
But the party’s leaders “today agreed unanimously that we will elect a completely new executive board,” he said, adding that in terms of the calendar, the “window for this is year’s end”.
Bild daily had reported that the party has made a tentative booking for December 6-13 in Dresden for its possible congress.
Laschet, who is state premier of Germany’s most populous region North Rhine-Westphalia, was elected head of the CDU in January.
For some time, he was the clear favourite to succeed Merkel, who is bowing out of politics after running four consecutive coalitions.
But his party’s ratings began to slide as he committed a series of gaffes, including being caught on camera laughing in the background during a solemn tribute to flood victims.
With the CDU’s ratings plunging, Merkel tried to boost Laschet’s campaign with joint appearances, but was unable to help the conservatives pull off a win on election day.
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