AKK blow: Merkel replacement finishes BOTTOM of popularity poll

German lifestyle publication Neue Post asked their readers to rate how likeable a list of politicians were. Embarrassingly, the 505 readers polled put Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is often nicknamed by her initials AKK, right at the very bottom with 27 percent. The question asked: “Please indicate in each case how likeable the respective politician is for you.”

Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer got the least votes.

Others on the list were Mrs Merkel herself with 74 percent likability, Malu Dreyer with 68 percent, Annalena Baerbock with 59 percent and Franziska Giffey with the same figure, Katrin Goering-Eckardt with 51 percent of the votes, Sahra Wagenknecht with 50 percent and Julia Klöckner with 34 percent.

Ursula Von der Leyen, who will take over from Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission President in November scored 49 percent, less than half.

The poll results were published in the latest edition of the women’s publication.

Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer is the former defence minister for Germany.

Despite being unpopular in her home country, the EU’s bigger financial provider, she has called for military spending to be raised to two percent GDP, bringing it in line with NATO’s stated target.

The current amount paid into the kitty by Germany is a major bugbear for US President Donald Trump, who has often called out Mrs Merkel over it.

Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer, who last year succeeded Angela Merkel as leader of the CDU, said the government would try to implement the change but it would “not be achieved overnight”.

The SPD, the junior party in Mrs Merkel’s governing coalition, has criticised her announcement and said it would to allow Donald Trump to dictate how much nations should spend on military.

In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer said the country “really needs to move in this direction”.

She said “as the minister and party leader” she would put forward the proposal to the Cabinet and a coalition committee.

President Trump has been a vocal critic of fellow NATO members who continue to fail to meet their spending pledges.

READ MORE: Merkel’s successor sees popularity slump in as pressure grows 

This is because in 2018, the US comprised 69 percent of overall defence spending despite the American GDP making up less than half of NATO’s overall economy.

Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer defended German troops against claims they had a attitude problem when it comes to the rise of far-right extremism in the country.

She insisted: “There is no general suspicion against our soldiers”.

Her comments come as it emerged that Germany’s armed forces has rejected 63 applicants in the past two years over their apparent links to far-right extremism as well as the far-left and Islamism. Ex-offenders were also turned down.

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At an event on Saturday to mark the 75th anniversary of a failed assassination of Hitler, the defence minister assured the Bundeswehr of her support.

She said as citizens in uniform, troops would “stand up” to right-wing radicals, hate speech, hatred and exclusion.

She said she felt certain Germany could count on its soldiers and added: “And I tell you – you can count on me!”

Mrs Merkel has suffered an array of health problems as Chancellor and leader of the CDU.

She was recently thrust onto the world stage after recordings of her emerged that showed her violently shaking leading to major concerns.

She has since shrugged the incidents off, but has not issued a statement on what is causing the issue.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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