With the forthcoming departure of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as party leader, the Christian Democrats (CDU) are staring into an abyss of uncertainty as Chancellor Angela Merkel approaches the end of her era-defining tenure. What’s worse, the ensuing identity crisis could last years, if the experience of the Social Democrats (SPD), Germany’s other big-tent centrist party, is anything to go by. Transitional periods ought to be a good moment for a party’s young guns to make hay. That’s what the SPD has found out: Kevin Kühnert, the 30-year-old who heads the SPD’s youth wing, the Jusos — short for young socialists — has often forced the debate in his party by making provocative declarations, such as suggesting that German automakers could be expropriated. Kühnert’s influence on his party’s rank and file is clear. When the previous SPD leadership, Andrea Nahles, resigned in June 2019, it was the candidates Kühnert favored, Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans, who surprised many by succeeding her, pushing the party in a slightly less centrist direction — and potentially threatening the coalition with Merkel. Germany’s CDU: Who are the top candidates? Armin Laschet: Affable state premier Laschet, a trained journalist and former European Parliament member, has headed Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia since 2017. The liberal-conservative… Read full this story
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