Volker Kauder, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the last 13 years, has been sent packing as head of her party’s parliamentary group in an inner-party ballot.
Guenther Oettinger, who’s also one of the leading figures in the Christian Democratic Union, noted that Merkel is losing her power within the CDU party. “This is normal, she’s a lame duck,” he said in an interview.
The prominent CDU politician commented on the recent shift of power within the party, as former long-time head of the union parliamentary group, Volker Kauder, whom Merkel was “outspoken in favor of,” lost his position to Ralph Brinkhaus.
Oettinger pointed out that this “weakened the chancellor,” but noted that this was not the end of the Merkel era.
Oettinger went on to predict that Merkel would be re-elected as the CDU chair in December to stay in the leading position for another two years as well as remain the German chancellor till the end of her term.
The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker also disputed statements that Angela Merkel’s hold on power has weakened.
“He didn’t get an impression that he spoke with a “lame duck,” Junker’s spokesman Margaritis Schinas told the German outlet Welt after his boss met with the chancellor.
Schinas added that Juncker was looking forward to “many years of close cooperation with the Chancellor,” but did not comment on Oettinger’s statement.
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the shocking result in German politics that is widely seen as a serious warning to Angela Merkel’s hold on power.
— Dude (@judgeaf) September 25, 2018
In a surprising vote among members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU) parties, her longtime ally Volker Kauder was ousted after 13 years as chair of the Union parliamentary group. His deputy Ralph Brinkhaus received 125 votes to Kauder’s 112 in a secret ballot held on Tuesday afternoon.
It was the first time that Kauder had run against a challenger for the position. Brinkhaus said he was interested in a more active role for the parliamentary group in the coalition government made up of the CDU/CSU and the center-left Social Democratic Party. He also made clear that his candidacy should not be seen as a sign of disloyalty to Merkel.
Nevertheless, many German political observers have described the vote as a minor revolution, adding it is a clear signal that Merkel is losing support within the Union. Other powerful Union leaders, such as Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) and State Party Leader Alexander Dobrindt (CSU), had also urged members to support Kauder.
When Merkel gave a short statement to reporters after the vote, she thanked Kauder for his years of service, congratulated Brinkhaus on his victory and pledged to work with him where she could.
She also acknowledged her disappointment at the result, saying: “That is how democracy works, sometimes there are losses, and there is no way to sugarcoat it.”
Reactions to the vote cam quickly as opposition politicians voiced their views…
Alternative for Germany (AfD) parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel tweeted: “Merkel is on her last legs: Kauder voted out,” adding, “the vote now clearly shows that Merkel is losing her grip on the party.”
+++ Merkel ist am Ende: Kauder abgewählt! +++
Mit dem Durchfallen Volker #Kauders bei der Wahl des Fraktionsvorsitzenden zeigt sich der Machtverlust Angela Merkels in der #CDU nun deutlich.
Die Merkeldämmerung hat endgültig eingesetzt. #AfD #Bundestag pic.twitter.com/uYy87JwY65
— Alice Weidel (@Alice_Weidel) September 25, 2018
Alexander Lambsdorff, vice chair of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party in parliament, tweeted that the vote signaled, “The beginning of the end of the grand coalition. The chancellor’s authority within her own party has been officially destroyed.”
— Alexander Lambsdorff (@Lambsdorff) September 25, 2018
Green Party parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt congratulated Brinkhaus on his election and thanked Volker Kauder for his parliamentary cooperation…
— Katrin Göring-Eckardt MdB (@GoeringEckardt) September 25, 2018
The million dollar question continues…how long will Angela Merkel remain chancellor? Via DW…
After 13 years in power, and now serving as the head of her fourth government, many have begun to ask how long Merkel can actually remain in office. After months of not being able to form a government on the heels of an election that saw her conservative party hemorrhage votes to right-wing populists, her grand coalition has come under repeated strain.
Merkel’s unpopular asylum policies and a recent scandal involving the head of Germany’s domestic spy agency have worsened the situation, causing many to question whether she will serve out her full term as chancellor. The loss of Kauder, long seen as her right-hand man, comes as another blow to her leadership.