Merkel’s ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer elected to lead Germany’s CDU party

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                        <strong>Often referred to as Angela Merkel’s “protege” and even “Mini Merkel,” CDU General Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has been chosen as the conservative German party’s next leader.</strong>

        Kramp-Karrenbauer, known as AKK, beat out her main rival, corporate lawyer Friedrich Merz, a staunch critic of Merkel whose win would have represented a decisive break from the current chancellor&rsquo;s legacy and policies. The vote saw AKK win 517 of the 999 votes, while Merz took 482.

AKK, who has also been referred to as “Mini Merkel” and a loyal follower of the current chancellor, is now expected to face an uphill battle as CDU leader. The party has recently experienced a significant drop in support, drawing roughly 30 percent at the polls, compared to the 40 percent it saw during Merkel’s heyday.

Merkel – who surprised her party and country in late October when she announced she would not be seeking re-election as CDU leader – on Friday delivered her farewell speech, receiving almost 10 minutes of standing applause.