Open main menu

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (born 9 August 1962), often referred to as AKK,[1] is a German politician who has served as general secretary of the CDU since 2018. She was chief minister of Saarland from 2011 to 2018[2], making her the first woman to lead the government of Saarland and the fourth woman to head a German state government.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer 2 par Claude Truong-Ngoc janvier 2015.jpg
General Secretary of the Christian Democratic Union
Assumed office
26 February 2018
LeaderAngela Merkel
Preceded byPeter Tauber
Minister President of the Saarland
In office
10 August 2011 – 28 February 2018
DeputyChristoph Hartmann
Peter Jacoby (Acting)
Heiko Maas
Anke Rehlinger
Preceded byPeter Müller
Succeeded byTobias Hans
Leader of the Christian Democratic Union in the Saarland
In office
28 May 2011 – 19 October 2018
Preceded byPeter Müller
Succeeded byTobias Hans
Minister for Labour, Prevention, Family and Social Affairs of the Saarland
In office
10 November 2009 – 9 August 2011
Prime MinisterPeter Müller
Preceded byGerhard Vigener (Labour and Social Affairs)
Herself (Family and Women)
Succeeded byMonika Bachmann
Minister of Education, Culture, Family and Women of the Saarland
In office
3 September 2007 – 10 November 2009
Prime MinisterPeter Müller
Preceded byKlaus Sessler (Education)
Herself (Family and Women)
Succeeded byKlaus Sessler (Education)
Karl Rauber (Culture)
Minister of the Interior, Family, Women and Sport of the Saarland
In office
6 October 2004 – 3 September 2007
Prime MinisterPeter Müller
Preceded byHerself (Interior and Sport)
Regina Görner (Women)
Succeeded byKlaus Meiser
Minister of the Interior and Sport of the Saarland
In office
13 December 2000 – 6 October 2004
Prime MinisterPeter Müller
Preceded byKlaus Meiser
Succeeded byHerself (Interior, Family, Women and Sport)
Member of the Landtag of Saarland
In office
5 September 1999 – 1 March 2018
Personal details
Born (1962-08-09) 9 August 1962 (age 56)
Völklingen, Federal Republic of Germany)
Political partyChristian Democratic Union
Alma materSaarland University
University of Trier

Her superior, the leader of the CDU party Angela Merkel has stated on 29 October 2018 that she does not intend to stand another term for the party's leader position. Kramp-Karrenbauer has positioned herself as Merkel's successor in the upcoming leadership election in December 2018.[3]


Early life and educationEdit

A headmaster’s daughter,[4] Kramp-Karrenbauer is from a Catholic family. She initially wanted to be a midwife and considered becoming a school-teacher,[4] but in 1984 began studying political science and law at University of Trier and Saarbrücken, earning a masters degree in political science in 1990.[5] From 1991 to 1998 she served as a policy officer for CDU Saarland, and in 1990 advised Peter Müller in his capacities as head of the CDU parliamentary group in the Landtag of Saarland and as chief minister.

Political careerEdit

In 1998, Kramp-Karrenbauer replaced another member in the Bundestag (the lower house of the national parliament) for about seven months before losing that seat in the national elections the same year.[4]

Between 2000 and 2004, Kramp-Karrenbauer has served as state minister for internal affairs in the government of chief minister Peter Müller; she was the first woman to hold that office in Germany.[6]

In the negotiations to form a coalition government following the 2009 federal election, Kramp-Karrenbauer was part of the CDU–CSU delegation in the working group on education and research policy, led by Annette Schavan and Andreas Pinkwart.

Chief minister of Saarland, 2011–2018Edit

In January 2011, Kramp-Karrenbauer was named successor to Müller, who went on to become a judge at the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany.[6]

In January 2012, Kramp-Karrenbauer ended a coalition that included the right-leaning Free Democratic Party (FDP), and blamed the party for “dismantling itself.”[7] She said that her three-party coalition – including the Greens as well as the FDP and her own CDU – had lost the necessary “trust, stability and capacity to act” with the liberals. Under Kramp-Karrenbauer’s leadership, the CDU won the state election soon after, in what was widely regarded the first electoral test of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s crisis-fighting policy since the beginning of the European debt crisis;[8] meanwhile, the FDP was ejected from the state parliament after taking just 1.2 percent of the vote.[7]

At the national level, Kramp-Karrenbauer also served as Commissioner of the Federal Republic of Germany for Cultural Affairs under the Treaty on Franco-German Cooperation between 2011 and 2014. She continues to be a member of the German-French Friendship Group that was set up by the upper chambers of the French and German national parliaments — the German Bundesrat and the French Senate. As one of the state's representatives at the Bundesrat, she serves on the Committee on Cultural Affairs; the Committee on Foreign Affairs; and on the Committee on Defence.

Kramp-Karrenbauer was a CDU delegate to the Federal Convention to elect the president of Germany in 2012 and 2017. In the negotiations to form a so-called grand coalition (Große Koalition) following the 2013 federal elections, she was part of the CDU–CSU delegation’s leadership team for a short time following her tenure.

Under Kramp-Karrenbauer’s leadership, the CDU won 40.7 percent of the vote in the 2017 state elections, up from 35.2 percent in 2012.[9] At the national level, in the negotiations to form a fourth coalition government under Merkel she led the working group on education policy, alongside Stefan Müller, Manuela Schwesig, and Hubertus Heil.

General secretary of the CDU, 2018–presentEdit

In February 2018, Angela Merkel nominated Kramp-Karrenbauer as the new secretary general of the CDU.[5] In that capacity, she manages the party and oversees election campaigns.[10] On 26 February 2018, Kramp-Karrenbauer was elected general secretary at the CDU party conference, with 98.87 percent of the delegate votes.[11]

Political positionsEdit

Kramp-Karrenbauer is widely perceived as a ideological outlier in the CDU.[5]

When the Mayor of Hamburg Olaf Scholz submitted a motion for a mandatory gender quota for supervisory boards to the Bundesrat in 2012, Kramp-Karrenbauer joined the state governments controlled by the Social Democrats (the SPD), voting in favor of the draft legislation; in doing so, she supported an initiative opposed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and state governments controlled by the CDU.[12]

Amid her party’s campaign for the 2013 federal elections, Kramp-Karrenbauer suggested Germany return to a top income tax rate of more than 53 percent, setting off a fierce debate in her party. In her view, Merkel's predecessor Gerhard Schröder had gone too far by reducing the top rate from 53 percent to 42 percent in the 1990s.[13] In May 2014, she was among leading members of Merkel’s CDU who called for reductions to offset fiscal drag – the automatic increases in the tax-take that occur as inflation and income growth push wage-earners further into their marginal higher tax-bracket.[14]

When the Federal Constitutional Court ruled in favor of tax equality for same-sex couples in 2013, Kramp-Karrenbauer voiced her concerns about also granting full adoption rights for same-sex couples, stating: "The traditional family unit is the core of not only Germany but all nations".[15] In 2015, she caused a public controversy by arguing that "if we open up [the definition of marriage] to become a long-term responsible partnership between two adults, then other demands can't be ruled out, such as a marriage between close relatives or between more than two people, or even marriage between humans and animals."

Other activitiesEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Kramp-Karrenbauer is married and has three sons.[17] Her husband Helmut, a mining engineer, stayed home to bring up their children as she pursued her political career.[5] Kramp-Karrenbauer has lived her whole life in Püttlingen.[4]

An avid reader and self-described AC/DC fan,[18] Kramp-Karrenbauer speaks French and continues to take lessons to improve her command of the language.[19]


  1. ^ Angela Merkel Starts Grooming Successors, and One Stands Out, The New York Times
  2. ^ Saarland. "Ministerpräsident -".
  3. ^ "Kramp-Karrenbauer tritt ab: CDU braucht neuen Generalsekretär". FAZ.NET (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  4. ^ a b c d Michelle Martin (26 February 2018), Unassuming "Mini-Merkel" in pole position to succeed German chancellor Reuters.
  5. ^ a b c d Guy Chazan (21 February 2018), ‘Mini-Merkel’ moves up to Germany’s political big league Financial Times.
  6. ^ a b Siobhán Dowling (25 January 2011), Letter from Berlin: Germany's New Generation of Female Political Leaders Der Spiegel.
  7. ^ a b Anthony Czuczka and Brian Parkin (16 April 2012), Merkel Seen Turning to Euro Bond-Backing SPD to Win in 2013 Bloomberg News.
  8. ^ Anthony Czuczka and Brian Parkin (26 March 2012), Merkel’s Party Wins Saarland State in Show of Crisis Backing Bloomberg News.
  9. ^ Paul Carrel and Hakan Erdem (26 March 2017), Merkel's conservatives win Saarland vote in boost for national campaign Reuters.
  10. ^ Patrick Donahue and Arne Delfs (19 February 2018), Merkel Sets Up Potential Successor With Key Party Appointment Bloomberg News.
  11. ^ Kolb, Barbara Galaktionow, Sebastian Gierke, Matthias; Peters, Benedikt (26 February 2018). "Kramp-Karrenbauer mit großer Mehrheit zur CDU-Generalsekretärin gewählt" – via
  12. ^ Markus Dettmer, Peter Müller and René Pfister (23 April 2013), Rebel in the Ranks: Gutsy Minister Gives Glimpse of Life After Merkel Der Spiegel.
  13. ^ Noah Barkin (24 March 2013), Merkel ally backs double-digit hike in top tax rate Reuters.
  14. ^ Stefan Wagstyl (8 May 2014), Angela Merkel sees no ‘room for manoeuvre’ on tax cuts Financial Times.
  15. ^ Melanie Amann, Dietmar Hipp and Peter Müller (11 June 2013), Vater and Vater: Gay Adoption Debate Flusters Conservatives Der Spiegel.
  16. ^ WM-Kuratorium unter Vorsitz von Dr. Thomas Bach FIFA, press release of 30 September 2008.
  17. ^ [1][dead link]
  18. ^ Leon Mangasarian (23 May 2013), German SPD Seen by Merkel Party Leader Turning to Left Bloomberg News.
  19. ^ Leon Mangasarian (23 May 2013), Strained Franco-German Ties Worry Merkel Party Saarland Premier Bloomberg News.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer at Wikimedia Commons

Party political offices
Preceded by
Peter Müller
Leader of the Christian Democratic Union in Saarland
Preceded by
Peter Tauber
Secretary general of the Christian Democratic Union
Political offices
Preceded by
Peter Müller
Chief minister of Saarland
Succeeded by
Tobias Hans