Spoke to Angela Merkel and the grand hall of the palace of congresses of Hamburg dismissed her in the foot with nine long minutes of applause. The policy that has directed with firmness the centre-right German for 18 years, has said goodbye to his party. “The time has come to move to a new stage,” said the chancellor, who plans to continue as chancellor of Germany until 2021. “Thanks, chief,” read some placards oranges that filled this Friday the hall in which the congress party. Ceases to be the president of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU); a party divided this Friday chooses his successor and passes through low hours, with an evident loss of support, and pressed to the right by the irruption of the extreme right. “I want to leave motivated and united. I am confident that we will achieve it,” said the chancellor in his speech, after the speech of the two men and women who aspire to succeed her.

Three candidates are vying to take over Merkel as head of the party. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, dubbed the AKK, the candidate of a continuation of the legacy of the chancellor; Friedrich Merz, representative of the rupture and the return to the values traditional conservative party; and with less possibilities, Jens Spahn, Health minister and advocate, also of a turn to the right. Vote 1.001 delegates, representatives of the party throughout the country. 34.3% of them are women, according to surveys, more favorable to the candidacy of AKK.


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In the CDU coexists with an intense desire for change and renewal with the hope that the new figure is able to unite a party fractured mainly by the migration crisis that began in 2015 and that has resulted in the arrival of a million and a half asylum-seekers to Germany. The party accuses Merkel of having lost control of the borders of the country.

Want to the activists and delegates of the CDU for the new president to be able to slow down the haemorrhaging of votes in the party. 41.5% for the CDU achieved in 2015 now seems a fantasy. The surveys of voting intentions indicate that the election were held today, would win 27.5% of the votes.

The problem is that renewal and cohesion are not ambitions necessarily compatible to the view of the candidates. If Merz or even Spahn represent more or less what’s new, these are the figures that polarize a lot and hardly could put a bridge in the game. AKK, on the contrary, it is the figure of consensus, able to wrap around to the different currents that exist in the CDU, but at the same time symbolizes the apparatus to more traditional match and up to a certain point, the continuity of the era Merkel.

In the great hall of the palace of Hamburg, breathing the morning of this vierbes an atmosphere effervescent. Since 1971 there had not been an election like it and from Gobahis the first hour of the morning the delegates were taking a seat. “This is very exciting. For years we did not have this opportunity. This can be a historical congress”, says Sabine Verheyen, while taking a seat. Represents the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the delegation, more numerous and more believe that it is important to “vote for someone who can organize and unite the party, someone who is capable of working with Merkel in the current grand coalition Government. This country needs stability.” That person is her AKK. “It is not a mini Merkel as they say, in many respects is more conservative than her,” she says.

Andre Kuper, head of group rows in the Rhineland, the North and also delegate, acknowledges that “there is a resentment very strong in the match against Merkel by moving away from the traditional values conservatives”. You think that Merz is able to retrieve the votes for the training, but also thinks that his wealth –he is a candidate, a millionaire, with two planes on the property– away from the average citizen.

Others, like Kristi Waldhem, of Hanover, has decided to wait to listen to the candidates in Hamburg. “We want someone whose submission is not a fight against Merkel, but rather to contribute content and a profile for the party,” he explains.

Kramp-Karrenbauer is the policy appointed by Angela Merkel to succeed her as head of the party. In February, she was named secretary general of the CDU in a first leap to national politics. AKK has extensive experience in the regional Government of Saarland, a small State to the west of the country, where he has been minister of the Interior and regional head of Government of the Saarland. Your choice would involve an orderly transition, with Merkel at the front of the chancellery.

Merz is the prodigal son who returns to the party after 10 years in the private sector. Represents those who wish that the party go back to their roots, because he believes that the socialdemocratización Merkel has led them to a defeat at the polls. He says that he wants to give a higher profile to the party, to distinguish it from other formations, that is to say, of the social democrats (SPD) with which the CDU governs in a grand coalition. Promises to recover the votes migrated to the extreme right. But brings also the discontent with the management of Merkel in recent years. Is the candidate of the revenge, a rival of the historic chancellor, who relegated in 2002, when he was head of the parliamentary group.

In the final stretch of the race succession has been much talked about how to recover voters who have gone over to the extreme right and the discourse of applicants is getting sick of the issues with that triumph the extremists, mainly the immigration. It is true that in the general of 2017, a million of voters of the CDU moved to the extreme right, but it is also true that that is a figure somewhat less than the sum of the votes the centre-right received from former voters of the social democrats and The Greens (1.120.000). That is to say, the shift to the center of Merkel added more than subtracted.