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Friedrich Merz language gives insights into his worldview

Friedrich Merz

In his application speech for the CDU chairmanship, Merz’s own words fell twice in the back.

(Photo: AP)

Language is a lousy traitor. Sometimes it makes us say things that we didn’t really want to say, but that we might think exactly like that. And the unsaid word often has just as much effect as the spoken one.

Friedrich Merz has known what we’re talking about since Saturday morning at the latest. In his application speech for the party leadership of the CDU, his own words struck him twice in the back.

On the one hand, there is the transition that reminded even well-meaning observers of a scene from the comedy series “Stromberg”: “Even those who are socially weak find a heart and care with us. In this context, let me say a word about women. “

You don’t even know what would be worse: If Merz automatically associates women with the socially disadvantaged. Or when it seems natural to him to locate terms like “heart” and “affection” especially in women. Things didn’t get any better when Merz then cited as proof of his friendliness towards women that his wife and daughters could still take it with him.

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The passage in Merz’s speech, in which he rightly cited the development of the corona vaccine as evidence of German innovative strength, was similarly telling. He praised Curevac co-founder Ingmar Hoerr, “who made the discovery 20 years ago that made the vaccine against corona possible. That is a sensational development. That is Germany.”

What Merz did not say: That it was the Turkish couple Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci who launched the first corona vaccine with their Mainz company Biontech. Aren’t the two of them Germany? Of course, Merz would probably answer. But apparently not so natural that he would mention them in his speech.

Insight into a subconscious worldview

Merz gave us an insight into his subconscious worldview through his language. A world in which the really important things in Germany are done by men named Ingmar or Friedrich. It is, it has to be said so clearly, a world of yesterday.

Not a single word in such a party conference speech is spontaneous. Everything has been tried and tested umpteen times. Didn’t anyone in the Merz team warn the candidate that their own language would give them away? Or was it believed that the majority of party congress delegates secretly yearn for this very world of yesterday? If so, then this calculation did not work out. The majority of the CDU is further than the candidate Merz.

More: Merz offers to take over the Ministry of Economic Affairs


In the Union, the motto now applies: Glückauf, the Laschet is coming

Armin Laschet delivered again. The eternally underrated cleared three competitors out of the way at the CDU federal party conference. It was Friedrich Merz, Norbert Röttgen and also Jens Spahn. It was not the first time that the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister showed stamina and kept his nerve, even if many wanted to praise him on the President’s chair. He ran his candidacy and his courage was rewarded.

Now Laschet is at the head of the CDU. This means that the candidate for chancellor is within his grasp. The last two Chancellors Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel consider the Aachen resident to be cut from the right cloth. You trust him to fill the most powerful government office in Germany. With Merkel, however, the main concern was to prevent her intimate enemy Friedrich Merz. Any other candidate was fine with her. Gerhard Schröder justifies his praise for Laschet in terms of content. It is suitable because it can combine the economic and the social.

So far, Friedrich Merz has always been the favorite in business. However, Laschet has shown in North Rhine-Westphalia that he can pursue an active industrial policy. This is part of the standard repertoire of a NRW Prime Minister. What stands out, however, is that, unlike the federal government, he has already created a digital ministry in Düsseldorf. With the FDP politician Pinkwart, he also found the ideal man for it.

Laschet has proclaimed a “decade of modernization”. Important elements here are startup funding and a moratorium on taxes and duties. What is still missing is a tax concept. Laschet says he doesn’t want to talk about it until after a cash drop after the general election. But he cannot avoid this major reform project beforehand if he wants to successfully combat the economic consequences of the pandemic.

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In terms of location competition, Germany has slipped dramatically. This is especially true for corporate taxes. Countries as different as the US and France have already cut taxes. In Germany, companies are longingly waiting for the same to happen in this country. For the service providers, the complete abolition of the solos would also help, which incidentally all medium-sized companies have to pay.

The fight for the candidacy for chancellor is still ahead

Laschet won a mountain stage by winning the CDU chairmanship. But it is not more. The individual time trial against the ambitious Markus Söder is still ahead. The Bavarian Prime Minister has not yet withdrawn his own ambitions for the Union to run for chancellor. In addition, Laschet will face further tests.

For one thing, he has to pacify the party. After all, Friedrich Merz has won almost half of the votes and is still a favorite of the base. When it comes to merging different camps, however, Laschet can play to its strengths, as a look at his state cabinet shows. He has a black sheriff as interior minister and a Sacred Heart Socialist as welfare minister.

Then come the state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. There the CDU has to win against two popular prime ministers. This will show for the first time whether there is a Laschet effect.

But the overriding topic is the fight against the corona pandemic. As party chairman and possible candidate for chancellor, Laschet is now paying even closer attention to every small breakdown and every major mishap in his crisis management. In terms of communication, he’s clearly lagging behind Markus Söder so far. The Franconian cannot show any better figures, but in the surveys he is ahead of Laschet thanks to clever rhetoric and staging.

Laschet’s election was also a directional decision that left its mark on the election campaign. The SPD had secretly hoped for Merz. A Merz-prevent election campaign would have mobilized their electorate to the maximum. That is now completely eliminated. The Greens can live extremely well with Laschet. He belongs to the Pizza Connection and thus one of the banner bearers from the very beginning. The FDP can be happy twice. Laschet has made a clear commitment to his black-yellow coalition. In addition, the FDP does not have to fear that Friedrich Merz will steal bourgeois voters from them.

Laschet caressed the soul of the party in his speech. He successfully solicited trust. He gave the digital goosebumps moment when he remembered his father, who was a miner and showed his badge with the number 813. The Germans love ascension stories and Laschet set this point ingeniously. That is why the old Steiger motto now applies in the Union: Glückauf, the Laschet is coming.

More: This is what the new CDU boss’s economic policy plans look like.


New CDU chief: Armin Laschet’s economic policy plans

New CDU boss Armin Laschet

Laschet does not want to break with Angela Merkel’s era. What is needed is the “continuity of success,” he said in his application speech.

(Photo: Reuters)

Berlin Armin Laschet looks exhausted, worn out between the government work in the corona crisis and the internal party election campaign for the CDU chairmanship. It is Wednesday evening, the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister rushed into his office from the cabinet meeting, he is late.

An interview with Handelsblatt awaits him by video conference, the last one before the all-important party congress. It will “bring about a turning point,” Laschet quips tortured after the conversation, as if he didn’t really believe it himself. Then he has to go to the next appointment.

The effort in the past few months has paid off. Laschet, who was long considered a procrastinator in the CDU, put everything on one card with his candidacy for the CDU chairmanship – and won. In the runoff election he won with 521 votes, his rival Friedrich Merz got 466 votes. Foreign politician Norbert Röttgen was eliminated in the first ballot.

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Armin Laschet elected as the new CDU boss – How he won the race

Berlin The CDU has a new chairman: Armin Laschet was elected the new party leader with 521 votes. The North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister prevailed against the former Union parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz, who received 466 votes, at the corona-related, purely digital federal party congress. Norbert Röttgen had previously been eliminated in the first ballot.

Laschet called on the party to unite in his acceptance speech. They will “go through this year together”. Merz wished Laschet all the best “success in these extremely stressful times”. Röttgen said that there was no longer any competition in the CDU and that Laschet could now fully rely on him.

The decision has an impact far beyond the party: with the election of the new CDU leader, Laschet also has a good chance of becoming the Union’s candidate for chancellor and thus succeeding Angela Merkel (CDU). Thus, the election is not only associated with a directional decision for the CDU, but possibly also for the whole country.

As significant as the result is, the circumstances under which it came about were just as unusual. For the first time, a chairman was appointed at a purely digital party conference. Because of the corona pandemic, only the closest leadership circle around the previous CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Secretary General Paul Ziemiak, the three candidates and technicians were present in the party conference studio on the Berlin exhibition grounds on Friday and Saturday.

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The 1001 delegates watched the speeches of the three candidates in front of the computer or television and were then able to vote online. In order to make the election legally secure, a postal vote follows. The result is to be announced on January 22nd.

Armin Laschet promotes middle-class politics

In each of the 15-minute speeches, the three candidates had once again advertised themselves. Armin Laschet gave a strong speech in which he presented himself as a middle-class man who could be trusted.

Laschet began his performance with a story about his father, a miner. He had taught him that underground it doesn’t matter where a colleague comes from, what religion he has or what he looks like, but only whether you can rely on him.

Digital CDU federal party conference

Norbert Röttgen, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Paul Ziemiak and Friedrich Merz are on site in the studio.

(Photo: dpa)

Cohesion in society and also in the party – that was Laschet’s message. That’s why one shouldn’t polarize, said Laschet. A differentiation to competitor Merz.

The demarcation to Merz also existed in relation to the chancellor. Many people would like Angela Merkel first, then the CDU. That is why “continuity of success” is needed. This is not a “business as usual”, which the Merz warehouse has always rejected.

Laschet promised the delegates that he would take everyone with him – the Christian-social supporters as well as the liberal and conservative ones. And he highlighted his experience in government, recalling nightly rounds of negotiations in the Chancellery on the coal compromise. “We have to master the tools of the trade of a middle-class politics.”

Laschet did not dwell long on content-related details. He and his competitors agree on many issues. In his speech, Laschet was primarily concerned with convincing the delegates that they can rely on him, that they can trust him.

And so Laschet closed his speech with a reference to his father, with whom he had started the speech. Laschet showed the identification tags that all mountaineers carried with them. His father gave it to him as a lucky charm. And Laschet put forward a quote that was also the key phrase of the speech: “Tell people they can trust you.”

Merz made clear the CDU’s claim to leadership

Merz swore the CDU to win the next federal election and reaffirmed the party’s leadership role. “As German Christian Democrats, we are determined to lead this next federal government again,” said the Sauerland.

Merz warned against looking fearfully at the next few weeks in view of the pandemic. “We can also instill courage and confidence and tell people: We’re getting out of there!” He shouted to the 1001 delegates who were watching the digital party convention at home. He does not want to adopt the doom scenarios of others, said Merz. “The world will not end tomorrow.”

Merz is primarily relying on technological progress, and the CDU will also set standards, for example in the area of ​​digitization. Merz was convinced that climate change could be solved “with the system, with the social market economy”.

It is an important challenge to maintain consensus and compromise, measure and center, said Merz. That is why there must be a struggle in a democracy. In times of populism, he is committed to bringing the dispute back to the political center. The Greens, the SPD and the FDP are competitors who have to be argued with, said Merz.

Most recently, the Sauerlander assured that there would be no cooperation with the AfD with him. In no state parliament, no Bundestag and also not in the European Parliament.

Röttgen presented itself as a modernizer

Röttgen, the surprise candidate, was the last of the three candidates to come to the lectern, on which the slogan “#wegenmorgen” was emblazoned. Röttgen’s message: He wanted to stand for what was new in the party, for renewal. “I invite you to set out on the road together today,” said the youngest candidate at 55 years of age.

The CDU should become the party of “future competence”. To do this, it must start with itself in order to remain a people’s party. “We’ll only stay that way if we change. The direction comes from society. ”The CDU must become more feminine, younger, more digital. It is about new topics and new voters.

“I want the CDU to become the party of sustainability,” he said. The CDU is the only party that unites climate protection and the social market economy. “Climate protection is only possible with the economy,” he said.

The state must set the framework for economic growth, for example pushing ahead with the expansion of the broadband network and the connection of schools. “We have to invest in growth,” he demanded. First prosperity must be worked out, then it can be distributed. Therefore, he rejected a property levy, as requested by the SPD and the Left.

A curious election campaign

With the decision in favor of Laschet, the CDU ended an almost one-year stalemate. The candidates had recently tried to advertise themselves primarily via social and classic media and in countless telephone calls. While Merz used social media particularly intensively and most recently triggered a debate on the SPD’s planned property levy under #nidsteuer, Laschet criticized his competitors, for example the announcement of a tax reform by Röttgen. This caused a debate, since he ruled out a coalition with the FDP in the event of an election victory after the federal election.

Armin Laschet prevails in the runoff election for CDU chairmanship

Kramp-Karrenbauer announced her retirement in mid-February after just over a year as CDU leader. A special party conference originally planned for the end of April and a party conference in December had been postponed due to the pandemic.

The internal party election campaign was repeatedly interrupted and overlaid by the corona crisis. Only at the very end did the three applicants try to distance themselves from each other again. The mood within the party remained unclear until the decision was made.

Wishes of the economy

Business, however, had a favorite. According to a Forsa survey for the Handelsblatt, shortly before the CDU federal party congress, 39 percent of executives spoke out in favor of the former Union parliamentary group leader as party leader. 27 percent were for Röttgen, 18 percent voted for Laschet.

After the election of the party leader, the question of the candidate for chancellor arises. The new CDU chairman wants to clarify this with CSU boss Markus Söder. However, it will take some time until then. A decision is not expected until after the state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, which will take place in mid-March. The last time mentioned was shortly after Easter.

In his first speech as CDU chairman, Laschet asks for backing

In surveys it has always become clear that Söder is more popular than the three applicants for the CDU chairmanship. In the business world, too, the mood has been clear so far: 40 percent of managers want the Bavarian Prime Minister to be the Union’s candidate for chancellor. According to the Forsa survey, Merz came in second place with 23 percent. 11 percent were in favor of Röttgen, 8 percent for Laschet.

Call for unity

It is now eagerly awaited how the losers will behave and whether they and their supporters will support the new party leader. Even before the party congress, leading CDU politicians had called for unity in view of the approaching federal elections.

“After Saturday comes Sunday. Then we will all gather behind the newly elected chairman and support him as the newly elected chairman, possible candidate for chancellor and possible future chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany to the best of our ability – in solidarity and unreservedly, “said CDU vice-president Thomas Strobl. “The competition for the party chairmanship will then be over.” In the super election year, the CDU should not “longer than absolutely necessary” deal with itself.

More: The hour of decision in the CDU: The last German people’s party is fighting for Merkel’s legacy.


Reactions to the election of Armin Laschet as CDU chief

Saskia Esken

The SPD chairwoman still sees the future course of the CDU not yet clear.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin After his election as the new CDU leader, Armin Laschet thanked his party for the great confidence they had shown. “I am aware of the responsibility associated with this office,” said the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister on Saturday at the CDU’s digital party conference. Now it is a matter of the CDU passing the upcoming state elections in “a few weeks”. In addition, he wanted to ensure that “the Union has the next Chancellor” in the federal election.

The outgoing CDU chairwoman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer thanked all candidates “for the fair competition”. On Twitter she warns: “And now all together for our Union and our country.”

Competitors Merz and Röttgen congratulated Laschet on his election success and wished him every success in the election year. It was an “enormously exhausting time for all of us to survive,” said Merz. How he wanted to get involved after his defeat in the CDU, Merz said nothing. He did not run as a candidate for a post in the CDU presidium.

Röttgen, on the other hand, decided to run and was elected to the presidium. He emphasized that he stood by his word and will now support Laschet with all his might. “You can count on me. We have to form a team now, ”he said.

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Federal Finance Minister and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz and CSU boss Markus Söder also congratulated Laschet on the victory. SPD politician Scholz wishes Laschet a lucky hand for the “big task”. “This year is tough and will be a challenge for all of us. We say goodbye to it – all the best! ”Tweeted Scholz. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Söder said he was looking forward to working with Laschet. “Together we will continue the success story of the Union,” he wrote on Twitter.

The SPD leader Saskia Esken still sees the future course of the CDU not yet clarified. “How the identity crisis in which the CDU is recognizable is resolving is not yet clear even after this party congress,” Esken told the “Saarbrücker Zeitung”, referring to the open question of the Union’s candidacy for chancellor. “We urgently need a stable partner in the coalition over the next few months and not a partner who is busy with himself,” added Esken.

Left faction leader Dietmar Barsch indirectly congratulated Laschet on winning the runoff election and at the same time gave the CDU a swipe. He congratulated Armin Laschet on his new post, but pointed out the “dilution of the party”: “It is good that a dilution according to the law has not prevailed in the Union. The Union has been leading the federal government for 15 years and is thus largely responsible for the deep division in our society “, writes perch on the short message service Twitter.

The FDP chairman Christian Lindner congratulated the new CDU chairman on the election victory on Saturday. “To such good cooperation and such sporty competition as federal chairman as we both had earlier as NRW state chairman,” writes Lindner, who also comes from North Rhine-Westphalia, on Twitter.

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier also congratulates Armin Laschet on being elected CDU chairman and pays his respects to the defeated candidates Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen. According to him, it was a fair election campaign. This has sent a clear signal for the Union’s will to shape and govern, Altmaier wrote on Twitter.

The leader of the Left Party, Katja Kipping, emphasized the tight result for Laschet: “521 – that’s only 20 votes on thirst,” writes Kipping on Twitter. “That means that Laschet too will have to give the right wing CDU so much sugar in the coming months that the Greens will have to think three times about whether they really want to give themselves to the Union for better or for worse.”

She also emphasizes in another post on Twitter, that the CDU has a new party chairman in Laschet, but is still far from being a candidate for chancellor. “No matter who wins the race for the CDU candidate for chancellor, the CDU will not be ready to set the course so that we can come out of the crisis fairly.”

The CDU Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther, calls on Armin Laschet to involve all parts of the party and to give hope to the members. Laschet gave an impressive speech and exudes a lot of important optimism, says Günther in the Phoenix interview.

Congratulations from Chancellor Sebastian Kurz from Austria. He wishes the new CDU leader Armin Laschet “all the best for the tasks ahead”. Kurz tweeted: “It is important for us that Germany continues to develop well. The @CDU as the decisive political force in the middle is the best guarantee for this. “

In the opinion of the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union, with the election of Armin Laschet, the CDU is positioning itself in the middle and in the tradition of Christian social teaching. “It is important for the unions that the currently strongest party positions itself in the crisis like this,” tweeted IG-BCE boss Michael Vassiliadis.

According to the words of the Green bosses Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, Laschet also faces major tasks. He now has to redefine the CDU after the era of Chancellor Angela Merkel and clarify what the party actually stands for in terms of content. “Germany has big tasks to cope with, especially now the corona pandemic.” In addition, the course must be set for consistent climate protection and the ecological modernization of the economy.

Business reactions

The BDI President Siegfried Russwurm is already making initial demands on the new CDU chief to “immediately commit to necessary investments and setting the course”. The current crisis management and the beginning of the election campaign should not obstruct the view of dynamism and future viability, otherwise a lost year for trend-setting decisions threatens. The grand coalition leaves “a wide infrastructure and investment gap”.

The President of the Federal Association of German Startups, Christian Miele, also has clear expectations of Armin Laschet. He must put the political focus on the topic of digitization.

Daniel Hager, family entrepreneur and head of the Hager Group, thinks Laschet is a good listener who takes the time to form an opinion. He had the ability to bring different camps together. “I was impressed that at the beginning of the first corona wave he was one of the few government representatives who credibly looked for proportionality and alternatives to a lockdown. For our economy it is necessary right now to have such an open listener that people trust. ”

The prominent technology investor Frank Thelen demands: “As difficult as it is in the current situation, we now have to boldly invest in our future. We need a new 2030 Agenda with a focus on technologies such as AI, hyperloops, biotech, 3D printing ”. Thelen also says: “Germany has to wake up now!”

One of his greatest challenges for Laschet, however, is to take his own party with him on this path: “Many people still miss their fax machine,” says Thelen. “How will he get you excited about the opportunities offered by new technologies?”

The founder of the globally active Berlin travel activities start-up Getyourguide, Johannes Reck, says: “The CDU consistently explains to us why things are not moving forward, but we now have to set ambitious goals and finally implement them.”

The CDU economic politician Carsten Linnemann shows disappointment with Laschet’s election victory. He asked Friedrich Merz to be elected to the CDU presidium. He was disappointed that Merz was not elected head of the CDU, says the chairman of the MIT SME association on the Phoenix broadcaster. It is important to merge the camps in the CDU now. “That doesn’t happen overnight,” emphasizes Linnemann. To Merz he says: “I would like him to appear in the presidium. I think it’s damn important that he stays on board. ”Merz was a candidate for“ the base ”.

The former EU member of the CDU, Elmar Brok, is also demanding a top position for Friedrich Merz after the next federal election. On “BILD Live” Brok said that Merz should become a member of the next federal government. “I couldn’t think of anyone better than Merz as Federal Finance Minister,” said Brok.

At the purely digital CDU party conference, Laschet had clearly prevailed against ex-Union faction leader Friedrich Merz in a runoff election. Foreign politician Norbert Röttgen was eliminated in the first round of elections.

“Let Friedrich Merz take part in a prominent position”

Arndt G. Kirchhoff, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Kirchhoff Group and President of the State Association of Business Associations in North Rhine-Westphalia, is satisfied with Armin Laschet.
“Armin Laschet can do that. He is reliable and prudent. He has improved the general economic sentiment in North Rhine-Westphalia, why shouldn’t he succeed in this nationwide? ”He says. “The economic profile of the party should be sharpened – in the spirit of Friedrich Merz. I would very much appreciate it if Armin Laschet let Friedrich Merz take part in a prominent position. “

When asked what Kirchhoff’s demands on Laschet and what is important now, he said: “We absolutely have to increase Germany’s international competitiveness, especially when it comes to taxes, energy costs and social costs. Employees and employers bear the costs of the pandemic. “

On the subject of the candidate for chancellor, Kirchhoff says: “That is a completely different question. Given the weight of the CDU, the CDU should provide someone. “

More: Read here how Armin Laschet won the race.


What you could learn from Friedrich Merz

On Saturday 1001 delegates elect their new chairman at the CDU party congress. There is a choice of three medium to fairly old white men from North Rhine-Westphalia: Friedrich Merz, Norbert Röttgen and Armin Laschet. Find the flaw in these two simple statements!

And before you join in the well-known lamentation that this old men’s party cannot even manage – even if only as an alibi – to put up at least one candidate, allow me to have another thought, which I would like to share with you would like to discuss: Perhaps the CDU women are to blame for the problem of a lack of female power in their leadership ranks?

As far as I can tell, no one stopped her from applying for the job as well. And it’s really not the case that bony Union grandees have recently wanted to whip their party friends back to church, children and saucepans, is it? Understanding of the concerns of modern urban women is now as en vogue in enlightened conservative circles as it used to be when hunting permits or gold button blazers and is often introduced with the sentence: “I have three daughters myself …”

The fact that the Union is no longer a party to prevent women can be seen from the simple fact that the three most important political posts in Brussels and Berlin are currently in the hands of women from the CDU: Ursula von der Leyen is the president of the European Union Commission the fortunes of the EU.

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Angela Merkel has been German Chancellor for almost 16 years and, if she resigns at the end of the year, she could also set Helmut Kohl’s old record of office, who once patronizingly called her “my girl”. And Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has been the CDU leader for two years, although this is more part of the problem than the solution.

AKK didn’t fail because of bad old men

The fact that the party has been messing around with its successor for a year also has to do with the fact that AKK simply couldn’t manage it. Incidentally, this should be said without mockery. True equality may only be achieved if women in top positions fail or are allowed to prove to be incapable as their male colleagues have been up to now.

And if they can then be thrown out just as easily. Without provoking Twitter shitstorms or customer boycotts, which today seem to be part of the standard repertoire of every public equality debate.
In any case, in her short time as party leader, AKK failed because of many things, probably not because of the bad old men.

Friedrich Merz, Armin Laschet, Norbert Röttgen

The three candidates for the CDU chairmanship have one thing in common: They are white men.

(Photo: dpa)

It is not the case that the male triumvirate Röttgenlaschetmerz would represent the ultimate ratio of charisma and toughness. Your internal party “election campaign” sometimes seemed as if the participants in an ecumenical Bible study group were throwing perfumed cotton balls at each other. Everyone was largely in agreement, but Röttgen always looked a little better.

And no woman dared stand up to this trio? Come on! What went wrong in the past – except that apparently not even three female bosses guarantee a change in the internal corporate culture? Have decades of quota battles, equality debates and unconscious bias workshops, full of women’s networks and parking lots and gender chairs still not been enough for one, at least one, to trust the CDU chairmanship?

On the one hand, significantly more women than men voted for the CDU in the last federal election. On the other hand, only one in four party members is female. In the gap in between, the CDU women made themselves comfortable with their lament against old men and glass ceilings.

Friedrich Merz is a role model – at least in part

The party’s internal women’s union likes to warn against alienating many potential voters this year if there are no more female identifiers in the leadership of the party. At the head of the group, Annette Widmann-Mauz from Swabia fights for “that women of all ages have the same opportunities to develop their individual lives and to influence political decision-making processes”. She has been doing this for five years, but apparently without any significant success. Or is the top job so horrific?

In a different context, I once heard the beautiful, because wonderfully cool, sentence from Telekom board member Claudia Nemat: “Heroes can be recognized under torture.” Heroines too. But if I understand it correctly, the Women’s Union doesn’t want tough fighters at all, but rather more daycare places, punctual meeting times, voting via Skype and thus simply more family-friendliness in the Berlin company for the female political offspring, as well as somehow too self-critical. It is precisely with this constant questioning of themselves that women often stand in their own way. Say the women.

Hm. You hardly dare to say, but: Dear CDU ladies, then please take an example from Friedrich Merz! He never questions himself, but like her, is chronically in his own way, even if only looking for the next fat bowl. He lost the most important elections of his life. Against women. Once against Angela Merkel. Once against AKK. Nevertheless, he always competes. And yet many in the CDU respectfully regard him as a kind of substitute savior.

Merz just wants to know again and again. Just a stand-up man. The fact that this term is so gender-focused and that no female standing up is in sight could perhaps be investigated again by a chair for gender studies. Or at least be the starting point for the next women’s offensive by the CDU women. One that really deserves this name.
They see it differently – or have comments, questions, perhaps a topic that this column should also address. Discuss with our author below or contact him directly in confidence: [email protected]

More: Merz, Laschet or Röttgen – who has the best chance of becoming the CDU chairman?


USA: After storming the Capitol: Internal investigation at the US Department of Justice

The Republican Majority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has by its own account not set on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. McConnell wrote in a letter to his party colleagues in the Senate that he has not yet decided whether Trump should be convicted if the House of Representatives votes in favor of impeachment. Although the press is full of speculation, he wants to hear the legal arguments himself when they are presented to the Senate.

McConnell apparently responded to media reports on Wednesday that he was angry with Trump and believed that Trump had committed offenses that justified his impeachment. So McConnell was right that the Democrats took action against the outgoing president. McConnell’s calculation is that the Republicans could build a future without Trump, who has been criticized as divisive and chaotic. The “New York Times” initially reported on McConnell’s alleged mind games, citing unspecified sources.


USA: After the Capitol rampage: Internal investigation at the US Department of Justice

The Republican Majority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has by its own account not set on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. McConnell wrote in a letter to his party colleagues in the Senate that he has not yet decided whether Trump should be convicted if the House of Representatives votes in favor of impeachment. Although the press is full of speculation, he wants to hear the legal arguments himself when they are presented to the Senate.

McConnell apparently responded to media reports on Wednesday that he was angry with Trump and believed that Trump had committed offenses that justified his impeachment. So McConnell was right that the Democrats took action against the outgoing president. McConnell’s calculation is that the Republicans could build a future without Trump, who has been criticized as divisive and chaotic. The “New York Times” initially reported on McConnell’s alleged mind games, citing unspecified sources.


Italy’s Prime Minister Conte must avoid new elections

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte

If the non-party Conte wants to prevent new elections, he must quickly find new supporters in parliament. Italia Viva provides 25 of the 630 parliamentarians in the lower house and 18 of the 315 senators.

(Photo: Reuters)

Rom Matteo Renzi has to endure a lot of malice on Twitter. Under the hashtag #Renzivergogna (in German: Renzi Schande), the 46-year-old is shown either as a riot in the US Capitol or as a baby with building blocks – which are not from Lego, but from “L’ego” – Italian for “the ego “.

The former prime minister has dominated Italian politics for weeks: with threats, ultimatums and personal attacks on his successor Giuseppe Conte. It is still a mystery what the leader of the dwarf party Italia Viva actually wants. What is clear is only what he does not want: to continue to support the current government. On Wednesday evening, Renzi dropped his political bomb – and withdrew his two ministers from the cabinet after the dispute over EU aid. In the middle of the health crisis, which has already caused almost 80,000 corona deaths, Renzi is now giving the country a political one.

The current situation is difficult to convey to the Italian people. According to a survey by the polling institute Ipsos, 46 percent of citizens do not understand the government crisis. 73 percent of those surveyed believe that Renzi is only pursuing his personal interests – or those of his party. Just 13 percent think that the ex-prime minister is acting in the interests of the country.

The senator from Florence was right in his criticism of the content: Italy’s first draft for the EU reconstruction fund was not very ambitious, included too many old projects, and had no clear focus on investments. The new version that the cabinet decided after Renzi’s Christmas threats is definitely the better one. Renzi could have booked that as a success. But he bit into the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the billions of which he wanted to tap for the health system. It was clear from the start that the co-governing five-star movement would not move away from its no to the ESM.

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Right block at 46 percent

Prime Minister Conte now has to find a new majority in both chambers of parliament. Even if there are MPs there who do not belong to any parliamentary group, some opposition politicians are likely to be needed for an “alliance of those responsible”. Alternatively, there is already speculation about a non-partisan government of experts, which President Sergio Mattarella could convene.

If none of these scenarios work, the country would face new elections. The opposition is already scratching its feet. According to a survey on Monday, which the TV broadcaster “La7” commissioned, the right-wing populist Lega around former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini would be the strongest force in parliament with 23 percent. Even the right-wing national Fratelli d’Italia would get 17 percent more votes than the five-star rating. In addition, there would be around six percent of Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative Forza Italia. With a total of 46 percent, the way is not far to a right-wing majority.

That would not be good news for Europe and the world. Under Conte, the country has shown itself to be a reliable partner. The non-party lawyer appeared as a persistent negotiator vis-à-vis Brussels, especially in the dispute over the Corona development fund. Nevertheless, he was always pro-European, emphasizing several times that Europe owed the historic opportunity to be able to redesign the country with the many billions.

In the right-wing bloc, on the other hand, there are EU skeptics like Salvini, who has already proclaimed the “Italexit” based on the British model and railed against migrants, plus a party leader in Fratelli leader Giorgia Meloni who has never officially distanced herself from fascism. The ray of hope in this trio would then actually be an 84-year-old political warrior whose party demands more political competencies for Europe and works with the CDU in the EU Parliament: Silvio Berlusconi.

More: Matteo Renzi’s party withdraws from the government. Why the center-left coalition broke up.