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Germany's Christian Democrats elect Merkel ally as general secretary

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats elected her ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer the party’s new general secretary on Monday, backing a centrist candidate in the mould of Merkel, the leader of Europe’s pre-eminent power-broker.

In uncertain times, Kramp-Karrenbauer said, “it is no longer enough to point to others and say he or she should take responsibility, which is why I am now taking responsibility and placing myself at the service of the party.”

Kramp-Karrenbauer, until now premier of the small western state of Saarland, said she wanted to strengthen the CDU as a centrist people’s party, a position that places her on the same side as Merkel against opponents who want the party to move rightwards to win back voters lost to the far right.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt, editing by Michelle Martin