The political future of Germany will be decided this Friday in Hamburg. 1.001 representatives of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will elect the person named to succeed Angela Merkel at the head of the conservative party european. The winner will have many possibilities of ending up being chancellor of the first european economy. When missing a few hours to the election, the result is still very open, and the barons of the party have broken the silence to go well for business as usual centrist of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, or for the renewal, and the turning to the right that represents Friedrich Merz. If there is anything clear is that the new head of the CDU you need to repair the division of a match low hours.

The congress of Hamburg marks the end of an era that began 18 years ago, when Merkel took the reins of the party that Governs Germany in a grand coalition with the social democrats. At the end of October, chancellor Merkel announced that he was relinquishing the presidency. He did it down by the growing discontent that gnaws at the party, before the bleeding of votes in past electoral events and the rise of the populists (Alternative for Germany), which have found a gap increasing to the right of the CDU. Of whether or not there is harmony between the new party president and the chancellor will largely depend on which Merkel is able to finish his term in 2021 as intended.


The mystery of the 1,001 Hamburg who elect the successor of Merkel An open race to succeed Merkel in front of the German conservatives The unknowns of a Germany without Merkel

The announcement of Merkel has become the congress of Hamburg in crucial. It will emanate a single winner, which faces the challenge of uniting a party divided about the legacy of a chancellor in his fourth term and regain the electoral terrain, lost in a context of instability and increasing political fragmentation, also in Germany.

Attend three candidates, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, alias AKK and nicknamed the Mini Merkel to represent the center and therefore the option of continuity. In front of her, Friedrich Merz, a successful business man, who returns to politics after being ousted by chancellor 14 years ago, and that suggests a return to the essences of a party that considers that it has been listed in excess towards the centre. And finally, with less chance than the previous two, Jens Spahn, the current minister of Health, belonging to the wing than to the conservative CDU.

For two weeks, the candidates have traversed the country in eight regional conferences, in which they have tried to convince the members and especially to the thousand of delegates called to vote. The interventions have not helped to clarify who partly as a clear favorite. But yes they have caused some euphoria in a match that was not held an election similar for nearly half a century. The surveys among the voters of the CDU show a benefit for AKK, but they are the 1,001 delegates, and not the supporters, those who vote, which increases the uncertainty about the outcome.

Until mid-week, heavy weights in the party had avoided revealing their preferences, but the announcement of Wolfgang Schäuble, the president of the Bundestag and great pope of German policy has been broken abruptly, the truce. Schäuble has made clear in an interview, that he supports his friend Merz. “It would be best for the country,” said the man, who according to the German press hatched behind the backs of Merkel a plan to pressure her to leave the leadership of the party.

The support of Schäuble to one Pinbahis of the candidates has not sit well with the supporters of AKK and in particular the Economy minister, Peter Altmaier. “It had not been made public out of respect to the delegates. But now Schäuble has opened the closure, I can say that with Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer we have the greatest chance of uniting the CDU and win elections,” he told the Rheinische Post. Another prominent member of the party, Daniel Günther, a young star has opted also by AKK. Merkel has not ruled openly, but it is an open secret that their candidate is Kramp-Karrenbauer.

His open support could be counter-productive. No candidate wants to be Merkel 2.0. Not protected, AKK, aware that Merkel is a policy and is highly valued within the party, but whose political legacy, especially its refugee policy, it generates division. Kramp-Karrenbauer has tried in recent days to distance himself from his mentor. And it has done so mainly by hardening his rhetoric on migration, although it represents the wing, more centrist party.

AKK, 56 years, is an effective policy of the provinces, which has been shown to know how to govern and win elections in the small State of Saarland. Kramp-Karrenbauer knows the ins and outs of the party, of which he is secretary-general since last February. “AKK brings her experience and convincing,” explained Gabrielle Cocozza, an affiliate, who this week went at the close of the campaign of the candidates in Berlin.

But AKK is all about the candidate that is less polarized and that many consider to be able to do that live the different sensitivities of the match. Is the candidate of the party apparatus and did not expect big surprises. It is considered that Merkel could live with it as chancellor in harmony until 2021, the date that marks the end of his fourth mandate.


it Is almost the opposite of what happens with Merz, of 63 years. His lack of harmony with the chancellor is evident and their coexistence in case of being elected is shaping up to tricky. Therefore, the choice of Merz would lead as interpreted by many analysts to be a possible end of the current coalition Government and early elections.

Merz declares fervently european –between 1989 and 1994 he was a member of the EU, today unrecognizable – and until now has been president of several boards of Directors, including the Black Rock in Germany, the large investment fund of the united STATES. During the campaign, he has defended a major tax reform and has tried to appeal to the average citizen, fearful of the difficulties of the integration of the million and a half refugees that have arrived since 2015. But it has also given a few jolts to the rhythm of the opinion polls. If one day question the constitutional right of asylum, the next day claimed that you can not give back to those in war zones.

But Merz is a man very sure of himself, convinced, in the melee of the regional conferences. “Have clear ideas and know where you want to go,” says Björn Bartnik, financial advisor and an affiliate of the party in Mainz. Like Merz has spent years in the private sector, away from the politicalto because “it is very valuable and a clear advantage.” And he wants, above all, that the CDU reconquiste the land surrendered to Dda. You think that Merz is the person to do it.

In the acts of the campaign is the one that takes the big applause, which creates a certain magic when you speak in the room. Spahn, in his own way and something less, but also. It moves with agility microphone in one hand and his speech hooked; has a presence.

In foreign policy, very little is known of the three. Christian Ehler, 55, is a member and delegate for Brandenburg and is one of the 1,001 called to vote. Ehler pointed out that “none of the candidates is a eurosceptic and argues that “the european policy will not change with any of them. The three mean continuity”, held in the margins of one of the regional conferences.

Spahn, the youngest of the three, has 38 years-, part with apparently far less likely than its rivals. The current minister of Health is the most conservative of the three and the only one that has dared to emulate the ultra-right and place the refugees at the centre of his speech, questioning even the covenant of the UN for migration. It is also, contrary to AKK, a defender of gay marriage. He himself married her partner shortly after the adoption of the marriage of persons of the same sex in Germany last year.