In the German CDU, party members must decide directly who should be the successor to party leader Armin Laschet. Journalist Claudia Cady says it’s not without risks.
Claudia Cady has been the head of politics for the German daily newspaper “Die Welt” since 2017. She is a regular guest on talk shows.
SRF News: Why is the CDU taking the path of popular democracy, succeeding Laschet?
Claudia Kadi: The party leadership resisted this trend, but the party base pushed for it. At the end of the week, a party-base convention demanded that course by an overwhelming majority. Until now, the CDU has always advocated the representative democracy of committees to make such decisions. Whether the PDP will result in a sustainable personal decision in opposition is entirely open.
January 21, 2022 elections
A successor to party leader Armin Laschet is due to be elected on January 21st. Before that there must be a member poll, but according to current law, the member’s vote must be confirmed by the party convention.
According to the CDU leadership’s timetable, members must be informed of a letter from November 15 about the questioning about the party’s leadership. Ballot papers must be sent by the beginning of December. December can then begin voting. The results are scheduled to be tallied and announced on December 17.
If a second ballot is required, the ballot papers should be submitted no later than 28/29. December will be sent, then the second ballot will begin. After that, the results will be counted and announced on January 14. On January 21/22, the 34th party congress will be held. (dpa)
Is this action also an admission by the CDU leadership that the last politicization of the grassroots has passed?
Yes, you have to see it that way. In the end, a very small group of very few people chose Armin Laschet as their candidate for chancellor – and did so on dubious pretexts, without thinking about opinion polls or election chances. So CDU – along with CSU – landed on her stomach.
The party leadership cannot reject the popular demand.
Therefore, the party leadership now had no opportunity to reject the rule’s demand. She has admitted that she was wrong in her staffing decision.
The CDU party leadership maintains that the People’s Democratic decision will remain unique. Is this realistic?
According to Laschet, the party can hardly afford this approach, especially from a financial point of view. The next baseline survey will cost more than one million euros. The CDU weakened badly financially after the election defeat.
After the election defeat, the CDU became financially weak.
In addition, various elections are scheduled in the states next year, when the CDU could weaken further and financial conditions could be further strained. On the other hand, it is difficult to change the practice again if the path of popular democracy is successful – if the elected person of the party leader pushes the party forward and can score electoral successes.
Merz and Röttgen in the beginning
Officially, there is still no candidate for the presidency of the CDU. But it is clear that Frederick Merz may be the favorite if he competes. Merz ran twice for party leadership, but failed at party conventions. “For many in the CDU and CSU, it’s a screencast — one wonders what would have happened to the union if Merz had become the party leader,” Claudia Cady says. This is why Merz has good odds.
His main competitor is probably Norbert Röttgen. He, too, failed to run for party presidency. The more liberal and tech-savvy Röttgen represents a very different direction for the party than Merz, who wants to steer the CDU in a more conservative direction.
The most promising candidates are Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen. How is the party reorientation supposed to work with these old CDU fighters?
In fact, youth work at CDU has been severely neglected. In the federal elections, those who voted for the first time voted for either the Green Party or the Free Democratic Party, while the CDU played no role. That is why the CDU must now address young groups of voters once again. Also, after the departure of Chancellor Angela Merkel and former party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, there are no more women in the party leadership in sight – also for the second row.
How successful is the baseline survey under these circumstances?
The opportunity lies in the fact that the winner of the vote will be elected by about 400,000 party members with a clear majority and thus enjoy significant legitimacy. But there is always the danger of a split in member surveys if two camps of roughly the same size emerge.
With member surveys, there is always the risk of splitting.
Such a split would be fatal for the German CDU. Because then the party will at first be full of party reunification. But there are several state elections in 2022, including the North Rhine-Westphalia state election in May. The new president will be confirmed in January, so he should be able to take care of this election campaign right away.
The interview was conducted by Roger Abley.
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