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Germany’s Next Female Chancellor?

Any 'Hannelore for Chancellor' campaign is still a long way away.

2:59 PM, Jul 16, 2010 • By ULF GARTZKE
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Enter Hannelore Kraft. As a senior SPD strategist who serves as an informal political advisor to the new minister-president told me, Kraft has the opportunity to emerge as the SPD’s new de facto national leader. “If Hannelore Kraft keeps her Red-Green minority government together and establishes a solid policy record over the next 2-3 years, no one within the SPD will be able to seriously challenge her as the top opposition candidate to take on Chancellor Merkel in the 2013 election cycle,” he added. “Remember, she just delivered North-Rhine Westphalia and reclaimed the country’s most sought-after political prize for the SPD. Sigmar Gabriel, in contrast, failed to secure his own re-election as minister-president of Lower Saxony.”

Of course, any “Hannelore for Chancellor” campaign is still a long way away, and her path to the top of German politics remains fraught with uncertainty (primarily over whether the Left Party will continue to tolerate the current Red-Green minority government). But the SPD strategist who just outlined Kraft’s national ambitions this week is the same person who told me more than a year ago that she would be North-Rhine Westphalia’s next minister-president – at a time when virtually no one (including myself) took her seriously. To be honest, I am still not sure whether Hannelore Kraft can leverage North-Rhine Westphalia as a springboard to become Germany’s next female chancellor. But you heard it here first.

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