12.02.2020 | Merkel nightmare: How Chancellor ruined OWN legacy as humiliating defeat looms
Source - The Daily Express
The German Chancellor of 14 years was hoping Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer would help stop the Christian Democratic Union from drifting too far to the right. There were fears the party’s moderates would be alienated by this and would instead turn to the Greens. But Mrs Merkel’s protégé Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer threw in the towel on Monday, adding more chaos to the end of the Chancellor’s long reign.
Alexander Clarkson, a lecturer in European studies at King’s College London, believes Mrs Merkel’s decision to remain in office as chancellor until elections in 2021 was to blame.
He told POLITICO: “CDU politicians struggled to balance loyalty to a new CDU leader with the need to keep a line to the old CDU leader and current chancellor.
“The situation undermined Kramp-Karrenbauer’s authority in the party and government — and also helped blow a succession of gaffes out of proportion and weaken her hand further.
“The task of reforming the German military — something Merkel had hoped would help Kramp-Karrenbauer boost her profile — also proved a poisoned chalice, distracting the CDU leader from the basic party management that could have helped her head off infighting.”
Mr Clarkson added Mrs Merkel’s hopes of managing her own political end and shaping the next era of German politics were over, now that her chosen successor is no longer taking the role.
He said: “Each of her potential successors within the CDU will struggle to reach out beyond their own faction and unite the party.
“With the CDU weakened, its sister party in Bavaria the CSU could make a claim to put forward the alliance’s next candidate for the chancellery.
“But even a clever tactician like CSU leader Markus Söder will struggle in an election if his partners in the CDU are wracked by infighting.
“We may yet see history repeat itself again.
“It looks increasingly likely that Merkel will see her long reign ended by a resounding electoral victory by a coalition of the left spearheaded by exuberant Greens.”
Meanwhile, Mrs Merkel’s conservatives have called for a swift decision on who should lead the party and be its next chancellor candidate.
Mrs Kramp-Karrenbauer said she would organise a process to fill both roles in the summer.
But Alexander Dobrindt, chief lawmaker of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), said the so-called “Union” conservative bloc must find a much quicker solution.
He said: “In my opinion, such leadership questions must be resolved quickly.
“We need decisions now to make things clearer.”
CDU deputy leader Volker Bouffier also put Kramp-Karrenbauer’s timetable into question.