Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the head of Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) and the person lined up by the party to succeed chancellor Angela Merkel as the next leader of Germany, will not run for chancellor in the 2021 general elections, according to German media reports.
The 57-year-old, who narrowly won the vote to become chair of the CDU in December 2018, reportedly also plans to step down as head of the party.
AKK, as she is known in Germany, made the announcement during a party meeting on Monday morning in Berlin, and it comes just days after the CDU became embroiled in an enormous political scandal.
The CDU, which governs with the Social Democrats in a coalition in Berlin, had teamed up with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) to vote in a Free Democrat candidate as premier of the eastern state of Thuringia.
It is the first time that the AfD has been a “kingmaker” and helped a state premier to power. The CDU, and Germany’s other main parties, have all said they would not cooperate with the hard-right party, which entered the German federal parliament after the 2017 elections.
Thomas Kemmerich, the freshly-elected premier of the state of Thuringia resigned on Thursday after just 24 hours due to the country-wide outcry over the fact that he was elected through the support of the AfD.
Merkel on Monday thanked Kramp-Karrenbauer for her work and said that she should remain in her role as defence minister. According to reports, Kramp-Karrenbauer also said at the meeting that the CDU had different ideas about how to deal with the Left party and the AfD.
Merkel said on Thursday last week that the cooperation between her party and the AfD to elect the state premier was “unforgivable,” and a “bad day for democracy.”
A press conference is planned for midday in Germany.