A ‘mini-Merkel’ is vying to replace her

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By Carlo Angerer and Andy Eckardt

DUSSELDORF, Germany — Widely regarded as the world’s most powerful woman for more than a decade, Angela Merkel is seeing her time on the world stage draw to a close.

But the front-runner to replace her as the leader of Germany’s biggest political party laughed when confronted with the suggestion that she is little more than a Merkel clone.

“I think people see me as authentic, just like I am, with my ideas, my style of doing politics,” Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told NBC News after a campaign rally. “There are similarities with Angela Merkel, there are issues that separate us, and I’m showing that genuinely and authentically and won’t create an artificial separation because it has something to do with character and attitude.”

Merkel has led the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 2000 and been Germany’s chancellor since 2005.

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