Berlin — For the longest time, Angela Merkel was Germany and, under her, the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU) were the dominant political force in the EU. Today the party is a shambles and its new leader, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, cannot seem to straighten it out.

Just last month, the CDU suffered a historic beating in the eastern region of Thuringia. Mike Mohring, the defeated candidate, ripped into his boss in a furious election-night conference call. She told him to get a good night’s sleep and urged him not to do anything rash, according to a party official familiar with their conversation...

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