Merkel Expresses 'Overwhelming' Gratitude In Farewell Speech As CDU Leader
German Chancellor Angela Merkel thanked on Friday fellow members of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) for "honor" and "joy" of leading the party for almost 19 years, expressing "overwhelming" gratitude to them in her last speech as the CDU chairperson.
"I was honored to be the chairman of this great, magnificent, proud, only centrist party in Germany the Christian Democratic Union. I tried to fulfill this task with passion and dedication ... I always wanted to fulfill my duties while holding state and party political posts with dignity and to leave them at due time, because everything happens in its own good time. And now it's time to open a new chapter. Now, at this hour, at this moment I am overwhelmed with one single, overshadowing feeling, this feeling of gratitude. It was a great joy for me, it was a great honor. Thank you," Merkel told the party congress in Hamburg.
After these words, the delegates of the congress gave Merkel a nearly twenty-minute applause, some wept, many held posters saying "Thank you, chief, for 18 years of CDU leadership."
Merkel's successor will be elected later in the day. CDU General Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Friedrich Merz, former head of CDU/CSU faction in the Bundestag, are the main candidates for the party leadership.
The congress is attended by 1,001 delegates. The election is held anonymously. In order to win in the first round, the candidate for the CDU leadership must gain an absolute majority of votes. If this is not possible, then the second round will be held.