Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer Facts
On December 7, 2018, the German party CDU (Christian Democratic Party) voted for their new party leader. Friedrich Merz, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Jens Spahn were up for election. After 18 years, current chancellor Angel Merkel handed over the powerful position to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. In February 2020, AKK stepped down as the leader of the CDU which means that she will also not run for Chancellor.
What does Germanys CDU party stand for?
CDU stands for Christian Democratic Union ( = Christlich Demokratische Union in German) and is the liberal-conservative party of Germany. Founded in 1945, the center-right party provided five out of eight German chancellors.
Being chancellor and head of the party in Germany
It’s not a must to be chancellor AND head of the own party. Nevertheless, it has a big advantage: any party leader who is also chancellor has the greatest possible power and the greatest possible support to lead a stable government. If both offices are separated, there is always a risk that the chancellor may lose his ties to his own party.
Digression: Until now, the only German chancellor, who did not hold the office of both positions was Ludwig Erhard (CDU). He used to describe himself as a chancellor, who stands above all parties. He didn’t want to be a prisoner of his own party and saw himself committed to the common good. It provided him one advantage: whenever there was a dispute within the party, he could avoid damage to his image as it was not his responsibility to mediate.
Who is Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer?
- Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was born in 1962 in Völklingen, Germany, a town in Saarland. Saarland is the smallest and also poorest federal state in Germany and located next to France. Her father was principal of a special school, her mother a housewife. She has five siblings.
- She was involved in the Young Union (youth organization of CDU and CSU party), first worked as a speaker for the former Saarland Prime Minister Peter Müller, then quickly became parliamentary director of the CDU parliamentary group in Saarland. She has been in government offices since 2000 without a break. In 2011, she became prime minister of Saarland, in 2017 she won the Saarland state elections.
- She was the first female and to date youngest state interior minister of the Republic (between 2004 and 2008 in Saarland)
- Her husband Helmut Karrenbauer was a civil engineer, but he left his job to raise their three sons while Kramp-Karrenbauer focused on her political career. The two got married in 1984. The same year, in which she started studying law and political sciences.
- Some people call her “mini Merkel” due to the fact she is also quite small, has short hair, wears simple make-up and appears very humble. In the course of the refugee crisis and Merkel’s attitude of openness, Kramp-Karrenbauer supported her. She was also Merkel’s favorite for the new CDU party head.