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Report: Germany's Merkel losing confidence in favored successor

German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to be losing confidence in Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was at least until recently seen as a front-runner to become the next chancellor, potentially opening the door for other party candidates to claim the chancellorship, Bloomberg News reported, citing two officials with knowledge of Merkel's thinking.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, widely known as AKK, was elected as leader of the Christian Democrat Union in December 2018, replacing Merkel, who earlier announced that she will step down as chancellor at the end of her fourth term in 2021.

But since taking over the CDU, Kramp-Karrenbauer has made a series of blunders, including making fun of transgender people in March, according to Reuters. She has also been under fire recently for allegedly encouraging censorship of online expression of political views, a claim she later denied, in response to a YouTube video criticizing the CDU.

Her standing in opinion polls has declined and voter support for the CDU weakened in the European Parliament elections under her watch, Bloomberg News reported.

There are also reports that Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to accelerate Merkel's departure.