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Fredrik Merz wins CDU-Röttgen party chair in second place

Member poll result
Fredrik Merz wins the race for the presidency of the Christian Democratic Union – Röttgen in second place

The majority of CDU members want him to be the party’s new head: Frederick Merz

© Tobias Schwartz/AFP

Nearly two-thirds of CDU members voted for the party’s new leadership: Friedrich Merz clearly won, followed by Norbert Röttgen. Helge Braun finishes in third place.

All good things come in the form of three: former parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz is set to become the new CDU president and lead the party to renewal after its defeat in the federal election. This was determined by the CDU base in a member survey. The 66-year-old, who has previously competed twice, secured the necessary absolute majority of 62.1 percent of the vote, General Secretary Paul Zimmiak announced in Berlin on Friday. Foreign politician Norbert Röttgen received 25.8 percent of the vote, while former head of the Chancellery Helge Braun received 12.1 percent. The turnout in the first member survey in CDU history was 66.02 percent.

Merz thanked his lower rivals Röttgen and Brown. The ‘Good Collaboration’ of the past few weeks has been beneficial to the party. Merz was left open whether, as party leader, he would assume the presidency of the parliamentary group in the Bundestag. “The matter is not on the agenda at the moment.” He also made it clear that the membership vote for him was “not a preliminary decision” on the union’s next candidate for chancellor.

Frederic Merz: “Really good collaboration with everyone”

“Of course I will defend the whole party and also take up all the topics that our party considers important,” pledged Merz, the conservative and economic wing of the CDU. Merz invoked the CDU’s common ground. The Bundestag member said he was looking forward to “really good cooperation with everyone”.

Subject to approval by the party conference in January, he wants to do everything in his power to show that the CDU is a vital party with its place as a popular party in the 21st century. CDU also has a job to perform as an opposition.

The CDU politician called for “the momentum we have now with this membership and members’ decision to continue into 2022 and beyond.” The CDU can only pass the next state election successfully “if we do a good job together”. Next year, there will be four state elections, three of which are in the first half of the year in countries where the CDU holds the premiership.

Merz’s third nomination

The party’s 400,000 or so members were able to make an initial decision on the presidency for the first time in the CDU’s history. Officially, the leader of the new party of 1,001 delegates is required to attend the digital party convention on 21/22. January to be elected. Delegates will almost certainly abide by the members’ vote. Then Merz must be confirmed by postal vote.

The election of the party’s new leadership came as a result of the union’s disaster in the September 26 federal election. CDU and CSU had their worst result historically at 24.1% and had to step into the ranks of the opposition. Then the leader of the CDU, Armin Laschet, who had failed as a candidate for chancellor, announced his retirement. He is now a simple member of the Bundestag and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Röttgen and Merz had already run for president at the beginning of the year – then lost to Laschet at a party convention. For Merz, this is the third attempt at the leadership of the party. After Chancellor Angela Merkel withdrew from the CDU summit in December 2018, he lost to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Congratulations also from CSU

Röttgen and Braun Merz congratulated. “Germany needs the CDU,” Röttgen said. “That’s why I wish you success.” He stressed that the high participation of members in the survey is a “big” advantage. “This shows that the CDU is a strong party.” Brown said the “tailwind” from two-thirds of the members was a great result for Merz. The CDU can now be launched as one. “I want to do my part,” he said.

Congratulations also came from Marcus Söder, president of CSU. The Bavarian Prime Minister wrote: “Together and as one, we want to lead the #Union into a new power” on Twitter. CSU and he personally look forward to working together.