Chancellor Angela Merkel's successor at the helm of the ruling Christian Democratic Union and her heir apparent as the head of government on Friday faced down her challenger and won his loyaltyBERLIN (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd November, 2019) Chancellor Angela Merkel's successor at the helm of the ruling Christian Democratic Union and her heir apparent as the head of government on Friday faced down her challenger and won his loyalty.
The showdown at the CDU congress in Leipzig saw party boss Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer seek to mend internal divisions after poor election showings made her main critic, Friedrich Merz, who lost last year's leadership contest, question the party's future under her.
"I have told you how I see the way forward. I will not lie, this road will not always be easy ... But if you think that the Germany I want is not the Germany that you have in mind ... then speak up and let's end this, here, now and today," she said.
"But if you think that you want the same Germany, if you think that we should walk this road together... then let's roll up our sleeves here, now and today and begin," she concluded to a long, standing ovation.
Merz had hinted at an early vote on the next head of state, rejecting the CDU leader as a possible new chancellor. But taking the podium shortly after his rival, he instead praised her for delivering a "combative, brave and forward-looking" speech.
Merkel took the backseat during the conference. She quit as CDU leader last year, handing over the reins to Kramp-Karrenbauer, and is expected to serve out her fourth term in 2021. In her speech, she urged Germany to pitch in as the EU president next year to make Europe stronger.