Angela Merkel’s CDU party has suffered a “catastrophe” in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, but things are sure looking bright for others.50-year-old Hannelore Kraft, the state Governor and the centre-left SPD’s great hope, is already being compared to Merkel in the German press, being called “Merkel in Red”.
In contrast to many of her rivals, observers note that Kraft won the election largely due to her relatability and charisma. It helps that she speaks in the “thick Ruhrpott dialect of the state’s mining and industrial region” the New York Times noted last week (she also apparently has a pinball machine in her her basement).
Now, with national elections only 16 months away, people are even beginning to wonder if Kraft could, and should, be the SPD’s national candidate. Deutsche Welle is calling her an “obvious rival” to Merkel, but will she forsake her duties to the North Rhine-Westphalia?
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