Merkel’s Plans for Smooth Handover Hurt by Party Manager’s Exit

(Bloomberg) -- Angela Merkel’s plans for handing the German chancellorship on to her protegee, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, have been hurt by the loss of a key party official.

Klaus Schueler, a long-time Merkel ally, announced on Monday that he will leave his post as campaign manager at the end of June in order to pursue a career in the private sector.

The announcement comes less than two weeks before Kramp-Karrenbauer, who succeeded Merkel as CDU chief in December, leads the party into elections for the European parliament. While Schueler will still take charge of the campaign, his resignation adds an extra element of uncertainty for the party, which has seen its poll numbers fall below 30% since Kramp-Karrenbauer took charge.

Merkel’s Plans for Smooth Handover Hurt by Party Manager’s Exit

Kramp-Karrenbauer made clear at Monday’s press conference that she won’t seek to push Merkel out before the end of her term though she admitted in a German newspaper interview published over the weekend that splitting the party leadership and the chancellorship was hurting the CDU.

Schueler, 62, was one of Merkel’s closest allies throughout her 18 years at the head of the party and organized her four general election campaigns. He will start work as a lobbyist for the chemical company Lanxess AG in July.

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