Merkel allies press for swift resolution of succession question

German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets Germany's Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer during the meeting of the Christian Democratic Union's Bundestag fraction in Berlin, Germany February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi

Senior members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives called on Tuesday for a swift decision on who should lead the party and be its next chancellor candidate after her protegee Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer threw in the towel.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Monday she would give up the party chair as well as her ambitions of running for chancellor, as she believed one person should do both. 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 swifter solution.

CDU parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus warned that a prolonged leadership debate could hamper the ruling coalition’s work. The party should not rush the decision, but definitely avoid a delay until autumn or even winter, he said.

Kramp-Karrenbauer had faced growing doubt over her suitability to replace Merkel, who has led Germany for 15 years but plans to stand down at the federal election due in autumn 2021.