Monday 15th November 2021
Merz takes the third attempt to chair the party
The applicants for the party chairmanship of the CDU have until Wednesday evening to throw their hats in the ring. Two have already done it. Today the third candidate will probably follow with Friedrich Merz. It’s not just his supporters who think he has the greatest chances.
Ex-Union faction leader Friedrich Merz wants to make his application for the CDU chairmanship official this Monday. The board of his district association Hochsauerland wants to nominate the 66-year-old economic expert as a candidate to succeed Armin Laschet in the evening. Merz is the third applicant: On Friday, the foreign politician Norbert Röttgen and the executive head of the Chancellery, Helge Braun, had already registered their candidacy.
A preliminary decision is to be made by a vote of all 400,000 party members. Braun sees himself as an integrative candidate who wants to bring the currents together. “We were always strong when we had both Alfred Dregger and Heiner Geißler, but in the end acted as a CDU,” he told the Fuldaer Zeitung, referring to the former conservative Union parliamentary group leader Dregger (1982 to 1991) and the earlier Liberal Secretary General Geissler (1977 to 1989).
Merz will speak at the digital district board meeting and justify his application, said the chairman of the district association, Matthias Kerkhoff. The nomination by the district board is then considered a matter of form. The former Union parliamentary group leader is now making the third attempt at the office of party chairman after the now only executive Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her retirement from the presidency in 2018. It is expected that Merz will publicly justify his candidacy after his nomination and, among other things, present his candidate for the office of Secretary General.
Brinkhaus does not go into the race
Not only his supporters see Merz in pole position for the first round of the survey of around 400,000 CDU members who are to choose their favorites for party chairmanship from December 4 to 16. Even critics suspect that the 66-year-old is likely to be ahead of the average more than 60-year-old members – also because of his level of awareness.
Merz is likely to be chosen primarily by those who, after the Merkel years of the political center, long for a return to conservative core values of the party. In his earlier applications, he usually had few supporters among women. You can hear a lot of fans in the CDU, Merz has with the conservatives and in the east of the country and also with the youngsters of the Junge Union and in the economic wing.
The party successor to the failed candidate for Chancellor Laschet has to master difficult tasks at the same time: giving a completely insecure CDU new self-confidence and preventing a further split; the badly damaged relationship with the small Bavarian sister CSU to repair; promote a new profile in terms of content – and be a powerful opposition leader.
Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus, who was also considered a possible candidate, renounces a candidacy according to a report by the “Neue Westfälische”. During a meeting of his Gütersloh district association on Friday evening, Brinkhaus did not ask for a proposal from his home association. The preliminary decision on the future chairman is made by the members – the final decision is made by the 1001 delegates at the party congress in Hanover on January 21. The application deadline for a candidacy for party chairmanship ends this Wednesday at 6 p.m.