Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is to become Germany’s new Defence Minister, replacing outgoing Ursula von der Leyen, officials confirmed Tuesday, according to a Deutsche Welle report.
Kramp-Karrenbauer, known by her initials AKK, succeeded Angela Merkel as leader of the Christian Democrats Union (CDU) party in December 2018. She will now become the Defence Minister, after von der Leyen was voted to be the new European Commission president on Monday.
The announcement came just hours after Merkel promised to make a swift decision on von der Leyen’s replacement, Deutsche Welle report says.
"There will be a fast replacement. The Defence Ministry, the defence minister, holds command and authority. You cannot leave that open [for] long. So it will not take long and you will be informed," Merkel said after the European vote.
The announcement is surprising, considering that AKK earlier said she intended to concentrate on party leadership instead of government service, the DW report says, adding that many had expected Health Minister Jens Spahn to become the new defence minister.
A former leader of the state of Saarland, AKK was considered by many a Merkel’s “hand-picked successor,” DW writes. However, she reportedly failed to connect with voters and her popularity remained low with many seeing her as “out of touch and stiff.”