The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) elects this Friday in Hamburg, the candidate to succeed Angela Merkel, who rules the conservative party for 18 years. The leader of the CDU and chancellor of Germany announced last October that she would not seek re-election as president of his party and this will be his last mandate at the head of the Government teutonic. A thousand delegates decide today the future of the CDU. The two candidates with the most options of replacing Merkel are Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a favorite of Merkel, and the millionaire, Friedrich Merz.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the umbrella that holds all the currents

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in a congress of the CDU in Hamburg on the 7th of December. KAI PFAFFENBACH REUTERS

Has a name that is endless and a long political career behind him. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is the candidate of consensus, that can not end to enthuse, but with the fact that a large part of the party feels that it can live. It is conservative, but not both. A continuation of, but not all. And above all, has proven to be a policy very effective, able to win elections in his small State of Saarland.

More commonly known as AKK, this policy tireless promise to climb to a party in low hours, and to reconcile a political family divided in the face of adversity of the bleeding election. Last February, Merkel chose her as general secretary of the party, so that it could be rolled into the national policy, which was interpreted as a first gesture with a view to a possible succession. But no one thought then, and probably not the own Merkel, that everything was going to go so fast. The outburst party’s electoral have precipitated a succession which was not in the script and for that AKK has had little time to prepare.

But in reality, it takes nearly his whole life preparing; since in 1981, joining a game that has been climbing up without haste, but at a good pace. In the Government of Saarland, a small State on the border with France, from which it proceeds, Kramp-Karrenbauer has held several regional ministries. In 2011, AKKfue appointed minister president of the Land in which they live just barely a million inhabitants. But his greatest political achievement, or at least the one that earned him huge reputation and recognition among their colleagues came last year, when she won a resounding electoral victory in Saarland, with the slowing down in dry’s fast-paced ascent of Martin Schulz, the ephemeral leader chosen by the social democrats.


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AKK has 56 years old and has 18 years of experience of regional government as well as poor national and international experience. Been shown to be able to overcome a deep crisis policies and to govern in coalition – tripartite, with liberal and Green, and grand coalition with the social democrats-something that requires a skill much needed in times of increasing fragmentation.

a Graduate in law and policies, to Kramp-Karrenbauer likes to ride around on a motorcycle in her free time with her husband, an engineer with whom she has been married for 30 years and who has taken care of her three children while she worked. He wanted to be a midwife or a teacher, but ended up in politics while still a very young man.

call it The mini Merkel, but the comparisons with the chancellor may be premature. It is true that both share a discreet style, which shy away from the fuss and the politics of ego. In their interventions of the last few weeks has been more factual and less and mitinera than their rivals, but also more flat. Like Merkel, he is able to be underestimated despite its huge power and also as the chancellor, is a hard-working laborer of consensus, which sells “security and stability in a world that is very changeable”.

But at the same time it is Goldenbahis true that in his opposition to gay marriage and in his conception of the traditional family has been unchecked Merkel. “[Kramp-Karrenbauer ] is more conservative and has values, catholic social and more traditional,” according to Kristina Dunz, author of a biography of the policy. “It’s more of a fighter and more emotional,” he adds. In terms of migration for example has shown to be blunt and ask for that asylum seekers who have committed a crime, “not again set foot in Germany”.

in any case, has striven in recent times to emphasize differences, aware that the party has a thirst for change and a profound renewal and that she, such a policy raised in the CDU, the symbol of the device, represents only a change to average.

Friedrich Merz, the millionaire pro-europe

Friedrich Merz in the congress of the CDU on the 7th of December in Hamburg. Thomas Lohnes

Friedrich Merz is the candidate of the revenge, a represaliado by chancellor Angela Merkel for the past 16 years, emerging from his life of happy millionaire with the desire to be the last laugh. Mind that has come to straighten out the conservative party, to return it to some essences that believes that Merkel has been diluted.

Merz is presented as the man is able of tithing to the extreme right, the Afd, the black beast of German policy. To Merkel to accuse him in your party you have listed the CDU to the centre especially with his refugee policy and have opened a gap in the political right wing extremists. Merz promises to correct that course, to give a higher profile to the game and recover at least part of the voters migrated; a promise that is very attractive within the party.

At this point it is not entirely clear what that means or how he intends to regain the ground election won by the extreme right as promised. But what is certain is that it has been presented as the savior of a party with low hours and in that seething with a desire for change, and many have bought his message.

he say that it is temperamental and that the skin is very thin, a contrast to the thick psicoteflón with the Merkel walks by the German policy. In the short distance, Merz, 63-year-old exudes a self-confidence and a rush of words is overwhelming. Wolfgang Schäuble, president of the German Bundestag and great pope of German policy is its great mentor and personal friend.

The candidate surprise is married, has three children and lives in the federated State of west Germany. Merz is an advocate of the model of the family classic.

After abandoning the policy ten years ago, Merz was passed to the world of business, where he has amassed huge fortunes. Has chaired several boards of Directors in Germany, between other, the BlackRock, the giant investment funds u.s. and is a fervent believer in the benefits of the market economy and free trade.

The unexpected presentation of his candidacy minutes after Merkel announced their withdrawal was a bomb, which against all odds fell initially very well between the rows, conservative. The press contrary to Merkel, he has devoted extensive reports and praises and polls gave him weeks ago as a clear winner. But it soon spread skepticism to a man immensely wealthy.

Merz has no known financial scandals or illegal practices in their management of the heritage, but the Germany that reverence the austerity not just digest the image of a leader a millionaire. Because in the end, the germans lived together for 13 years with a chancellor who lives in an apartment in a modest, kitchen soup of potatoes and spends his vacation hiking. The contrast is abysmal. And because the accumulation of wealth generates suspicion in a society that finds it difficult to coexist with the glitz and above all the waste.

After a lot of pressure, Merz acknowledged to the tabloid Bild, who earns close to a million euros gross per year. Are already also famous their two aircraft. But to the amazement of many voters, Merz said that he was a German of “upper-middle class,” prompting a cascade of criticism on the part of those who doubt that they know the reality in germany, not only of the successful Smes, but also the soup kitchens and social grants. The entrepreneurs, however, worship him, according to the polls, because they see in him a great connoisseur of the financial architecture and to a man capable of creating wealth.