> Thanking delegates at the CDU Congress for their support and saying her 18 year role as party chief had been an honor.
Her rival was Friedrich Merz. He is a critic of Merkel who questioned the constitutional guarantee of asylum to all, quote, politically persecuted people. After several runoffs, it came down to a narrow vote for the final two. Kramp-Karrenbauer walked away with 517 votes of 999 cast by delegates. She's a former state premier in Saarland where she led a three-way coalition.
She has a reputation for uniting support across the CDU and a talent for striking alliances with other parties. That skill should prove useful in a politically turbulent Germany. Merkel announced her decision to step down as party chief in October. She is remaining as Chancellor in an effort to manage her exit after a series of setbacks.
Merkel has been heavily criticized since her divisive decision in 2015 to keep German borders open to refugees fleeing war in the Middle East. She still has her supporters though.>>
She left her post to a standing ovation from party members that lasted nearly ten minutes and struggled to hold back tears.>>