Wednesday, December 19, 2018
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CDU veteran backs old Merkel rival to lead party

Reuters
BERLIN
Veteran German conservative Wolfgang Schaeuble, a highly-respected figure in his party, has publicly backed Friedrich Merz, a former rival of Angela Merkel, to succeed her as head of the Christian Democrats (CDU) in a vote set for Friday.
The winner will be in pole position to be the CDU’s candidate for chancellor of Europe’s biggest economy in a 2021 election and the outcome could even spell the end of Merkel’s coalition with her Bavarian allies and Social Democrats (SPD).
The two front runners are Merkel protege and CDU General Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who leads polls of ordinary voters and party supporters, and Merz, who Bild am Sonntag weekly newspaper said is ahead among CDU delegates.
“A majority for Merz would be the best thing for the country,” Schaeuble, who was loyal to Merkel as her hardline finance minister but had previously been a rival, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Wednesday.
Working with Merkel who wants to remain chancellor, the new CDU leader will be influential in shaping German domestic, economic and foreign policy from relations with U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to helping shape the EU.
Schaeuble argued that Merz, who lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002 and quit politics for business in 2009, would be able to boost the CDU by giving it a stronger profile and working better with its Bavarian sister party.

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