Potential Merkel successor lays out vision for "new CDU"

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-07 23:58:08|Editor: yan
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BERLIN, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the current secretary general of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and one of the candidates to succeed Angela Merkel as party leader, provided the first outline of the political priorities she would set in the post on Wednesday.

Speaking during a press conference in Berlin, Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is colloquially referred to as "AKK" in Germany, said that she would personally prioritize protecting German prosperity during an age of digitalization, strengthening the subjective sense of security in the country, and combating a feeling of alienation which many citizens had begun to experience.

Within the CDU, Kramp-Karrenbauer distanced herself from Merkel by calling for a new style of internal politics. Whereas the federal government had frequently dictated legislation to the party in the past, it was now necessary to "reverse the processes" and ensure that the CDU arrived at a position on policy issues first which was then reflected in concrete legislative outcomes.

Unlike rival candidate and acting health minister Jens Spahn, Kramp-Karrenbauer rejected the notion that migration is the single most important political challenge faced in Germany today. Echoing calls by Merkel for European solution on asylum policy, she argued that related issues could only be solved on the level of European Union (EU) and its Schengen free travel area.

While first steps had been taken to enhance security within the wider EU against external threats, Kramp-Karrenbauer lamented that these were still in an embryonic stage. As a consequence, it was still necessary for Berlin to provide an answer to ambitious proposals for a strengthening of the bloc made earlier by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Although Merkel has not endorsed any of the three candidates to succeed her, Kramp-Karrenbauer is widely seen in Germany as a close ideological ally of the veteran stateswoman and her preferred candidate for the party leadership.

Serving as the state governor of Saarland before moving on to federal politics in Berlin, 56-year-old "AKK" was successfully nominated as CDU secretary general by Merkel in February 2018.