Conservative contenders vie to overturn Merkel’s centrism

By Thomas Escritt BERLIN (Reuters) – Two leading contenders to replace Angela Merkel when the German chancellor bows out as leader of the Christian Democrats set out their stalls on Wednesday, promising to give new definition to a party grown centrist over her two decades at the helm. Merkel, who has shaped European politics over her 13 years as chancellor, announced this week that she would step down as party leader after her conservative bloc suffered two painful election setbacks within a month. While Merkel has declined to back a successor, she would find it easier to continue as chancellor if a fellow centrist, like party general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer – dubbed the “mini-Merkel” – were to triumph.

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