Merkel's shadow becomes a problem for the wish-follower

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (left) and Angela Merkel

The CDU boss has lost in recent months significantly in popularity.

(Photo: AP)

Berlin There are discussion rounds that are exciting not only because of their participants, but also because someone is missing. This happened on Sunday evening, when CDU chief Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer met with the deputy party chairman and secretary general Paul Ziemiak.

Not included: Chancellor Angela Merkel. Immediately, political circles in Berlin talked about a secret meeting where Kramp-Karrenbauer was planning the future of the CDU without Merkel.

The participants immediately tried to downplay the significance of the appointment: It was a routine meeting to prepare for the CDU party congress in mid-November in Leipzig. The process shows how nervous the mood in the CDU is currently.

For weeks rumors of coups and speculation about a rift between Merkel and Kramp-Karrenbauer waft through the capital. Every action of the two alpha women of the CDU is now sensibly tapped.

Even Chancellery head Helge Braun could not convincingly explain why the defense minister was not allowed into the chancellor's machine in the direction of the USA. He spoke in the Budget Committee of the Bundestag of "certain practices", without further elaborating.

For many, the projection was the obvious evidence that the relationship between Merkel and her successor at the head of the CDU has cooled significantly.


Therefore, Kramp-Karrenbauer felt compelled to clarify this weekend: "For all to write down: There is no discord between Angela Merkel and me," she said in an interview. She turned the spotlight on the fragile relationship between her and the Chancellor. In CDU circles this was already regarded as the next technical error in communication.

The list of carvers is now very long. Since her failed carnival appearance was still relatively harmless. After that came the famous Rezo breakdown. The Youtuber had posted a video entitled "The Destruction of the CDU" on the net.

Kramp-Karrenbauer unleashed an unfortunate debate, which was perceived in public as a call for Internet censorship. It hailed the hot campaign phase of the Union for the European elections.

Professional external presentation

Afterwards, the Chancellor, who had largely kept out of the election campaign, said smugly: "The most important thing is, that one reacts openly and does not immediately ward off and says, all is nothing". In her election campaigns Merkel met on the advice of her advisors the then leading Youtuber. That worked professionally.

Kramp-Karrenbauer has obviously recognized her communication problem. She seems to be looking for new leaders who will professionalize their public image and improve cooperation between the party headquarters and the Ministry of Defense. In the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus, a newsroom should make the communication fit for the age of social networks.

This was discussed on Monday in the Bureau and Board. It was concerned with how "the CDU can communicate even better," said Ziemiak. The general secretary appointed by Kramp-Karrenbauer is also increasingly critical in the party. The Konrad-Adenauer-Haus acted altogether "of the role," says one.

The Merkel machine, however, is still running as if oiled. The Chancellor is doing what you have always wanted popularity: performing on the international stage. At the UN Assembly in New York she met US President Donald Trump, Iranian President Hassan Ruhani and their EU counterparts.

Meanwhile, the defense minister traveled with the almost empty troop transport to Washington for his inaugural visit. Her US colleague Mark Esper brought her a historical map of Grafenwoehr, where he used to be a soldier. Otherwise, the meeting remained under the attention radar, which was also due to the simultaneous casserole of heads of state and government in New York.

Kramp-Karrenbauer has been pushed by Merkel into the ejection seat of the Minister of Defense. There were quite strong voices from the Union top who advised her to "tailor a forward-looking superministry of business and education and kick out the two weak-acting incumbents Peter Altmaier and Anja Karliczek."

From this perspective, it would have been a power-political signal to Merkel that the CDU chief has more than a say in the occupation of cabinet posts.

(tagToTranslate) Merkel (t) CDU (t) Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (t) AKK (t) Government (t) Federal Government (t) Party (t) Politician (t) SPD (t) AfD (t) NATO (t ) Uno (t) Young Union (t) Angela Merkel (t) Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (t) Paul Ziemiak


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