23:51 GMT30 October 2020
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    BERLIN (Sputnik) - The congress of Germany's ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), during which its new leader is supposed to be chosen to succeed Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, is at risk of being postponed again due to the resurgence of coronavirus cases, German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung reported on Thursday, citing party sources.

    The party congress was initially supposed to take place on 25 April in Berlin but then postponed indefinitely in mid-March and eventually rescheduled for 4 December in Stuttgart. It was decided to rescind the congress from the normal three days to just one. The participants will be given special gadgets that start to vibrate when approaching too close to one another — for the sake of social distancing.

    In February, Kramp-Karrenbauer — Chancellor Angela Merkel's hand-picked successor — stepped down after scandalous elections in the central German state of Thuringia, in which the CDU unexpectedly decided to vote with the right-wing Alternative for Germany party.

    Their votes violated a post-war agreement known as the cordon sanitaire pact — where they pledged to not side with the right-wing — and practically brought about a red-green alliance that sent shock-waves across Germany. With the party now all but set for a leadership race, which would also include the chance to vie for the chancellorship, another cancelled congress will likely drive the domestic uncertainty up.

    Because the German law requires that party voting necessarily take place in-person, many other German parties might find themselves in a similar situation, according to the report.

    For example, CDU's long-time coalition partner the Christian Social Union in Bavaria has already announced postponing its congress until next year.

    The spread of the coronavirus, in the meantime, has reached the watershed of 50 cases per 100,000 population in Berlin and several other big German cities. Merkel is going to discuss the matter with their authorities on Friday, Sputnik has learned from the German cabinet.

    As of Thursday, Germany's total toll of coronavirus cases stands at 310,144, including 9,578 deaths and around 269,600 recoveries, according to the latest situation report from the Robert Koch Institute, which compiles the data for the German government.

    Tags:
    Angela Merkel, Christian Democratic Union (CDU), coronavirus, COVID-19, Germany
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