Germany: Merkel's ally enters race for party leadership

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN (AA)- A conservative ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel has entered the race on Wednesday to become the next leader of Christian Democratic Union (CDU), with a pledge to regain the confidence of citizens.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was appointed as secretary general of the CDU earlier this year by Merkel, said if elected as party chair in December, she would give priority to domestic security issues.

“In my view, one of the major issues we must address in the coming months is the question how we can better achieve security, how we can restore trust to the state and its institutions,” she said.

Kramp-Karrenbauer also underlined the importance of EU-wide solutions to the problems of security and organized crime.

Chancellor Merkel, who led the CDU for 18 years, announced last week that she will not run for the chair again, but underlined that she wanted to remain chancellor until her term ends in 2021.

Merkel’s critics blamed her liberal refugee policy for the party’s heavy losses in the regional polls.

Christian Democrats will elect their new chair at an upcoming party conference in December in Hamburg.

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