After Laschet was elected CDU chief: Merz steers in – a little

Friedrich Merz is now calling for support for the new CDU boss Laschet. For many delegates, however, that might come too late.

No beginning of a wonderful friendship: Merz and Laschet Photo: Michael Kappeler / dpa

BERLIN taz | Will Friedrich Merz still get the corner? At least he turned into this a little on Monday evening. Merz, who failed for the second time in the election as CDU chairman on Saturday, called on his supporters in a letter to support the new party leader Armin Laschet. The Union needs unity and good cooperation: “We have to fight together: for our convictions and our country,” says the letter that was emailed to all CDU members on Monday and is available to the taz.

Merz was just inferior to his rival Laschet with 55 votes in the election for chairman at the CDU party convention on Saturday. He had turned down a candidacy for the party presidium.

Unlike the third candidate, Norbert Röttgen, Merz had not initially said himself that he would now support Laschet, nor had he asked his supporters to do so. Both would have been signals that could have brought the split party together. Instead, shortly after the party conference ended, Merz let it be known on Twitter that he was offering Laschet to join the federal government as Minister of Economic Affairs, which the Chancellor immediately refused.

With this admission, Merz had caused incomprehension even among his most convinced supporters. Carsten Linnemann, deputy chairman of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag and as head of the SME association something like a Merz-Ultra, told ntv that the Merz push had “more than irritated” him. In his letter Merz now writes: “I ask all delegates to take part in the final written vote and to give our new chairman Armin Laschet a strong vote. And then we go to work together. “

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Have the letters already been sent?

For legal reasons, the delegates have to confirm the result of the vote in a postal vote. However, only Laschet’s name will be on the ballot paper. The result, which should be available on Friday, could therefore be a first mood test for Laschet. Merz had set the bar high in the run-up to the party congress: In the written election, the new party leader would have to reach more than 80 percent.

His request to support Laschet now could come too late for many delegates. The CDU had asked the delegates to post their election letter by 6 p.m. on Monday so that it would arrive safely at the CDU headquarters by Thursday evening. Many delegates should have voted long ago when they received Merz’s letter, which was attached to an email from CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak. According to information from ARD, this was on Monday evening around 9 p.m. What Merz is really aiming at with the letter and what he plans to do remains open.

In his letter, Merz goes on to say that a year ago the CDU leadership at the time proposed to him that he should contribute in a very specific way. “I was and still am open to this idea,” said Merz. “At the same time, I very much regret that irritations arose around my person over the weekend in this context.” He wanted to make it clear: “Even without an office, I will keep my promise to continue working for the party.”

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In “this historic hour” of the corona pandemic, Germany should not be left to red-red-green experiments, Merz continued. If the party is not closed, Germany threatens “to slide into right-wing populism or green-left neo-socialism. Our country would be seriously damaged ”. Merz did not comment on the candidacy for chancellor or his specific plans.