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Merkel protegee will remain CDU chair until a chancellor candidate is found: source

FILE PHOTO: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is embraced by German Chancellor Angela Merkel after being elected as the party leader during the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party congress in Hamburg, Germany, December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

BERLIN (Reuters) - Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the leader of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) who on Monday said she would not run for chancellor next year, will remain chair of the party until another candidate is found, a party source said.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, 57, won a vote in December 2018 to succeed Merkel as CDU leader, but then struggled to stamp her authority on the party. Last week, a regional branch defied her by backing a local leader helped into office by the far right.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Paul Carrel