November 6, 2019 / 8:16 PM / 12 days ago

Germany's Kramp-Karrenbauer wants Merkel to stay until 2021

German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany, November 6, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - There is no reason for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to leave office before her planned departure in 2021, her protegee and would-be successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said as they both face criticism from fellow Christian Democrats.

Party veteran Friedrich Merz ripped into Merkel after the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) slumped in a state vote last month. He said it was “simply not on” for the ruling coalition to carry on as it is until national elections due in 2021.

Merz, an erstwhile Merkel rival, narrowly lost to Kramp-Karrenbauer in a contest for the CDU leadership last December, when Merkel stepped aside to allow her protegee to boost her profile before 2021.

But Kramp-Karrenbauer told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung it was clear “that with my application for the party chair, I reckoned that the chancellor would see this legislative period through to the end”.

“There is no reason to change anything there,” she added in an early release of an interview to run in the newspaper’s Thursday edition.

After a series of gaffes and regional election setbacks this year, doubts are growing in the CDU about whether Kramp-Karrenbauer is the right person to succeed Merkel as chancellor.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Giles Elgood

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