Angela Merkel named as Harvard’s 2019 Commencement Speaker

Angela Merkel named as Harvard’s 2019 Commencement Speaker

She moved her party relentlessly to the centre, dropping military conscription, accelerating Germany's exit from nuclear energy, introducing benefits encouraging fathers to look after their young children and allowing the introduction of gay marriage.

German Chancellor and chairwoman of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Angela Merkel, waves after her farewell speech during a party convention of the CDU in Hamburg, Germany, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.

Some grandees have warned that the divisions could lead to a permanent split. This afternoon 1,001 CDU delegates will assemble in Hamburg to choose a new leader after 18 years under Mrs Merkel.

A close ally of Merkel, Kramp-Karrenbauer (known as "AKK" in Germany) is a down-to-earth, experienced politician, who was formerly the state premier of Saarland.

Merkel, however, recalled that the CDU was in a deep crisis when she took over in 2000, mired in a party financing scandal surrounding ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

A survey by pollster Infratest dimap for broadcaster ARD on Thursday showed 47 per cent of CDU members favoured Kramp-Karrenbauer compared with 37 per cent for Merz and 12 per cent for Health Minister Jens Spahn.

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Friday's vote pits CDU general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a Merkel ally, against Friedrich Merz, a former leader of the party's parliamentary group who stands for a more conservative approach and has been away from front-line politics for a decade.

"But we won four national elections together ... and I am happy I can remain chancellor". The choice of leader also has more immediate implications for the future survival of Germany's biggest party, which has been struggling with an identity crisis, as well as Merkel's chances of serving out the rest of her term until 2021. She has indicated she would implement tougher rules on migrants, telling a German newspaper that while she owes much to Merkel, they have different views on a number of issues, and criticising her predecessor's "lack of consistent explanation on migration policy". He won 157 votes.

"It has been a great pleasure for me, it has been an honour", she said to a standing ovation lasting almost 10 minutes, and fighting to hold back tears. She said that "we kept a cool head" and "we showed everyone" by recovering.

The victor will likely lead the CDU in the next federal election due by October 2021.

"Now it is time to open a new chapter", Merkel said. She was greeted by a several-minute standing ovation, with some delegates holding up "Thank you, boss!" placards.

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