'Wine Queen' or 'Retirees' Enemy'? Candidates Who May Replace Merkel

© AP Photo / Markus SchreiberGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel in front of Germany's heraldic eagle
German Chancellor Angela Merkel  in front of Germany's heraldic eagle - Sputnik International
The migration crisis has led to the decrease of popularity for German Chancellor Angela Merkel with her CDU party urgently looking for a politician who would be able to replace her as the country's leader.

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The most likely candidates so far are 43-year-old Julia Klöckner and the 36-year-old Jens Spahn, both well-known, but lacking practical experience required for such a major post.

According to Russian newspaper Vzglyad, Klöckner could be a good candidate to succeed Merkel after 2017 election, because she "has proved her useful ability to fluctuate along with the party line", but at the same time she didn't fear to shift away from the party's official course and demonstrate a more resolute stance toward the migration issue.

For instance, when she met with an imam in a camp for Muslim refugees, she was very offended when he did not offer his hand and publicly criticized him on social media.

According to the newspaper, Klöckner also sharply opposed the wearing of the burqa and managed to make a number of statements, which gave voters a timid hope that the CDU policy towards migrants might change. At the same time, critics noted that Klöckner's main problem is the lack of practical managing experience.

"Actually, her only achievement outside her career within the party is that in the mid-90's she was chosen as the wine queen of Germany, and in 1997 she presented a bottle of Riesling to the Pope," the newspaper noted, adding that her main chance to climb the political ladder was a regional election in Reihnland-Pfalz in March 2016 which she lost.

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After Klöckner's defeat, the ruling party had to start looking for a new candidate and apparently has chosen 36-year old liberal politician Jens Spahn, a banker, Catholic and gay, who actively promotes rights for same-sex marriages. Spahn has actively called for tax cuts, but at the same time opposed the increase of pensions, causing severe irritation among pensioners. According to reports, following his statements, the politician received many insulting letters and even anonymous threats.

According to the newspaper, the CDU is currently holding a kind of a casting among its youth. Klöckner has failed, and now Spahn has to show what he capable of. If he can't achieve any significant results, there won't be a problem to find other potential candidates as "new faces are currently a priori under demand in the German society," the article said. But if he withstands the challenge, "the party may well push him to the post of Chancellor," although his appointment would not change much as he is likely to pursue the same policy as Angela Merkel.

At the same time, German newspaper Das Bild rather seems to favor more experienced candidates. For instance, 73-year-old German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is viewed by the newspaper as the only Christian Democrat who is really considered by many Germans as suitable for the Chancellor's post.

"The Finance Minister has immense authority, he held outstanding positions as federal minister, party leader or faction leader for more than 30 years, and also belongs to the heavyweights on the European stage," the newspaper wrote.

However, despite his experience, Schäuble's age is likely to be a serious obstacle for him to become Merkel's successor, Das Bild wrote. According to the newspaper, there are also other names that come to mind when one speaks about possible successors, such as Federal Minister of Interior Thomas de Maizière or German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen. However, none of them are actually among the favorites.

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