HAMBURG : FOND GOODBYE : Angela Merkel steps down as CDU leader.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a close ally of Angela Merkel. won a tight race to succeed her as a party leader on Friday, seeing off a longtime rival of the German Chancellor.

ACCEPTING a lengthy standing ovation from delegates, many tearful and holding ''THANKS BOSS'' placards aloft, a visible moved Merkel said the party had won four national elections under her by holding fast to its principles.

''In difficult times we shouldn't forget our Christian and democratic stance,'' she said.

''Whether it's the rejection of multilateralism, the return of nationalism, the reduction of international cooperation to deal-making or threatened trade wars.......hybrid warfare, destablisation of societies with fake news or the future of our EU - we Christian Democrats must show in the face of all these challenges what we've got,'' she said.

Handpicked by Merkel as general secretary of the party in February, AKK was immediately seen as the chancellor's anointed crown princess. [AFP]


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