Angela Merkel's potential successors as chancellor

Politics

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, CDU

Kramp-Karrenbauer, also known as AKK, was Merkel's choice to become general secretary of the CDU in 2018. She is reputedly Merkel's pick as a successor as party leader. AKK headed a CDU-SPD coalition as state premier in the small southwestern state of Saarland before becoming the CDU's general secretary. She is considered a moderate who would continue Merkel's centrist policies.

Politics

Jens Spahn, CDU

The 38-year-old is the youngest and most overtly determined Merkel usurper. He entered the Bundestag in 2002 and became Germany's health minister in 2018. Spahn, who is openly gay, is popular in the CDU's conservative wing. He opposes limited dual citizenship for young foreigners, criticized attempts to loosen laws on advertising abortions and called for banning the Burqa in public.

Politics

Friedrich Merz, CDU

The former leader of the CDU/CSU grouping in the Bundestag has been out of frontline politics since leaving the Bundestag in 2009. But the 62-year-old announced his intention to replace Merkel within hours of the news that she would be stepping down. Merz reportedly fell out with Merkel after she replaced him as CDU/CSU group leader in 2002. He has been a chairman at Blackrock since 2016.

Politics

Armin Laschet, CDU

Laschet became state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2017. His win marked a major defeat for Social Democrats in Germany's 18 million-strong "coal" state. He has ruled out running as CDU head while Merkel remains chancellor. But he has hinted that he may announce his candidacy once Merkel has stood down, which would make it possible to occupy both posts simultaneously.

Politics

Julia Klöckner, CDU

Klöckner became agriculture minister in 2018 and has been CDU chief in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate since 2011. In 1995, before entering politics, she became Germany's "Wine Queen." Like Spahn, she belongs to the CDU's conservative wing. She raised eyebrows in 2016 when she proposed an alternative plan to Merkel's refugee policy.

Politics

Peter Altmaier, CDU

Altmeier, known as "Merkel's bodyguard," has supported the chancellor's centrist policy platform on multiple fronts. Originally from Saarland, Altmaier first worked for the European Union before entering the Bundestag in 1994. The former environment minister turned economy minister is renowned for his kitchen diplomacy and being a stickler for policy detail.

Politics

Ursula von der Leyen, CDU

Von der Leyen became defense minister in 2013 after serving a stint as labor minister. Despite her reform efforts, defense spending remains stubbornly low and the military continues to suffer from widespread equipment shortages. Von der Leyen, who studied in the United States and Britain, supports a larger role for Germany abroad and improving links between national armies in the European Union.

Politics

Volker Bouffier, CDU

Volker Bouffier has been the premier of the central state of Hesse since 2010. He formerly served as the state's interior minister and has twice "won" Big Brother awards from German data privacy advocates for propagating closer surveillance methods by police. The 66-year-old currently heads a CDU-Greens state government in Hesse and is a deputy chairperson in the national CDU executive.

Angela Merkel will be giving up her seat as CDU leader but remain chancellor – likely until the next federal election in 2021. DW examines her potential successors as CDU chief and German chancellor.