Jens Spahn has long been preparing for a leading role in the post-Merkel CDU.
He is currently health minister in Angela Merkel's cabinet and a fellow Christian Democrat. And as soon as his boss resigned as party leader, he seized the stage. In a newspaper op-ed, he announced that Germany's – read: Merkel's – refugee and immigration policies had caused the CDU's disastrous losses in two state elections.
The youthful Spahn – he is 38 – seems to unify a clutch of contradictions. He rails in the media against cosmopolitanism and speakers of English in restaurants in Berlin. He is staunchly Catholic and proudly gay, willing to pose with his husband, a journalist. He is also juggling competing roles: cabinet minister, and candidate for his party's top job.
Migration, however, has long been a central focus.