BERLIN (AP) — An ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel who's running to succeed her as leader of Germany's main center-right party says an era is ending with Merkel's departure but her legacy can't be reversed.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the general secretary of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, promoted her service to the party and years of experience in government as she presented her candidacy Wednesday.

Merkel announced last week she will give up the CDU leadership after 18 years in December but plans to remain chancellor.

Kramp-Karrenbauer is competing with two candidates who stand for a more conservative approach than Merkel's centrist line — onetime Merkel rival Friedrich Merz and Health Minister Jens Spahn.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said that "this era is ending, and such an era can't be continued indefinitely — but it also can't be reversed."

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