Spiegel, one of the top ten news magazines of Germany....claims that they have insider info that Chancellor Merkel is running again in the fall of 2017 for Chancellor.
So far, no one else in the German media has touched this story (it's been out for three days now).
What they say is that positive numbers exist for Merkel....no scandals....and there's virtually no else in the CDU prepared to make a big run. The insiders.....which you kinda wonder about....say that Merkel herself has indicated this will happen.
Likely chance of this being true? I have doubts.
Here's the thing.....it's way early to speculate on this.....almost two years. It's true, some campaign mechanism has to start work by the summer of 2016....but that's a whole year away.
The other CDU players?
Thomas de Maiziere? Interior Minister. Probably one of the more clever and professional members of the CDU. He's been in the inner circle of the CDU for ten years and comes off positive in public forums. I don't see this guy having the interest or desire for the Chancellor job.
Wolfgang Schauble? Finance Minister. He's hit 65 and most people think he will retire at the 2017 point. I will admit, for public forums and discussion.....he's the more apt of any CDU member that might appear.
Ursula von der Leyen? Defense Minister. She's been groomed for a front-runner position and the German news media usually portrays her as the likely replacement for Merkel. She does well on debates (not as good as de Maiziere or Schauble). She's a very likable person in public and does speaking events on a regular basis. If you were looking for enthusiasm or pumped-up speeches.....she drops down on the list a bit.
Alexander Dobrindt? IT Ministry and Transport Ministry. He's a younger guy on the top level of the party. He hasn't screwed up anything, or triggered any kind of scandal. Maybe in five years....he might have more appeal. Currently, he comes off appearing to be adept and qualified for the job. Probably zero percent chance for him to appear in 2017's race.
Peter Altmaier? He's the special projects person for the Chancellor. Frankly, if you got a hot topic and want someone to really be in the middle of a messy forum where public sentiment will be focused....this Saarlander is the guy for the job. He has numbers rumbling through his head.....reads public perception correctly....and gives a decent arguments over the position of the German government. Sadly, as brainy as the guy is....you just don't get the impression of him running for the job. He's the guy that usually gets called in to handle negotiations between the CDU and SPD....with his charm and calm manner maxing out to a 'ten'.
Hermann Grohe? Health Minister. He's a lawyer by trade and respected by most within the CDU. On public forum and chat episodes.....I doubt if he appears more than six times a year. He's like the invisible guy on the cabinet.
Beyond that crowd, it's mostly all state players and no one really attracting attention. The past ten years have been mostly quiet and there's been no real trouble raised by the public over the way that the government has functioned. Even the opposition parties have the same problem....with no one really rising in popularity numbers.