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
BERLINtaz | 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. “
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.”
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.
Berlin After the latest federal and state resolutions, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) made it clear that she saw no alternative to her Corona course. Merkel said she made a “basic decision” at the beginning of the pandemic. “The political actions are then derived from this.” So tough lockdown measures to reduce the incidence of infections.
But the resistance against Merkel and her head of the Chancellery, Helge Braun (CDU), is growing – in the countries and in the Union parliamentary group. Even in the corona cabinet of the federal government, frustration is apparently widespread.
“Helge Braun is in the corona tunnel,” reports one participant in the group. Anyone who questions the strategy even a little will be punished immediately. Time and again there are serious encroachments on fundamental rights that the government must either justify properly or refrain from.
Berlin After the new US President Joe Biden took office, Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus wants to quickly negotiate a free trade agreement. “We should now press with our European partners very quickly to intensify trade relations again,” demanded Brinkhaus in an interview with Handelsblatt. “We should make a fresh attempt at a free trade agreement with America.”
Brinkhaus justified the time pressure with the developments in China. “I am deeply concerned about the activities of the Chinese,” he said. “They are building large trading rooms that not only reduce tariffs or other barriers, but also set technical and administrative standards. We can only counteract if we show strength together with the USA. “
In addition to geopolitical considerations, Brinkhaus is also concerned with strengthening the economy after the corona crisis. The grand coalition should also make a contribution to this. The Union parliamentary group leader expects the coalition partner SPD to bring fundamental reforms in motion by the summer.
INTERVIEW – The “serial entrepreneur” publishes a constructive criticism of globalization, so as not to leave this debate to anti-capitalists and nationalists.
Founder of a successful business (Business Objects, Kiala), founder of the Croissance Plus network of entrepreneurs and the We Citoyens political movement, business angel, president of Nature & PeopleFirst, a company specializing in renewable energy storage, Denis Payre publishes The Global Contract, at Éditions First. A cry of alarm so that humans and nature are finally placed at the heart of globalization. Exciting!
LE FIGARO. – The health crisis has revealed a loss of control over masks, medicines… Do you fear a risk of loss of sovereignty?
Denis PAYRE. – The West has completely abandoned manufacturing industries in favor of emerging countries and China. As a result, we no longer have control over our future on many subjects. The pandemic has shown it. This is also the case in critical infrastructure. In telecoms, the emergence of Huawei is emblematic against the Americans, who no longer have any players since Lucent has been absorbed
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Boris Johnson brought together the big bosses to build his plan.
The ink of the trade agreement between London and the EU barely dry, we hear again of a “Singapore-on-Thames”. Boris Johnson has not forgotten the dream of the Brexiters to make the United Kingdom a liberal and deregulated state at the gates of the European Union. This Monday, he brought together great business leaders to discuss the possibilities offered by the new post-Brexit “freedom”. At the risk of playing dangerously with the rules of fairness on which he agreed with the Europeans.
Read also :European Union distributes compensation for Brexit
To scaffold these plans, Boris Johnson called on around thirty senior executives, including the bosses of BT, BP, Tesco, Unilever and Jaguar Land Rover. This opening of the “suggestion box” is the mark of the thawing of relations between “BoJo” and the economic sphere. The Minister of Finance, Rishi Sunak, is also responsible for leading an interministerial “Project Speed” committee which is to study the reform of the rules so far in force. “The hour has come”
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The first president of the Court of Auditors, Pierre Moscovici, explains that the challenge is to ensure that it remains “sustainable”.
The first president of the Court of Auditors is not going four ways: France’s public deficit is on track to stay “At least five years” above the threshold of 3% of GDP, estimated Sunday Pierre Moscovici. As for the public debt, it will remain above 100% of GDP for “Ten years at least”, said the former European commissioner, guest of Radio J.
Read also :French public debt reached 116.4% of GDP at the end of the third quarter
Emmanuel Macron had indicated from the start of the pandemic that he would do everything to save the economy and avoid the social crisis “Whatever the cost”. As a result, France has spent lavishly since the spring of 2020, with nearly 80 billion euros disbursed to support companies in difficulty and finance partial activity. The country should thus have ended the year 2020 with a debt of around 120% of GDP, which is expected to swell to 122.4% this year due to new spending to support the economy, the government predicts.
For the former socialist elected official, there is no problem at this level of public spending in the context of the epidemic: “Public spending can no longer be seen as an enemy. In an exceptional crisis, exceptional measures are needed “, he defended. And according to him, “The gaze must change” on the collection of public expenditure.
The stake is not: “Is there too much deficit?”, more : “How in the future should we have a sustainable debt so that our children are not crushed by the weight of the debt in a few years?”, he insisted.
“You have to ask yourself, above all, what is the use of public spending? Is public money well spent? Is he going to the right place? “, added Pierre Moscovici, who wants to strengthen this approach in the work of the Court of Auditors.
To see also – Debt repayment: “As long as I am Minister of Finance, we will not increase taxes” assures Bruno Le Maire
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.
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.
Frankfurt (Oder). The Greens see a major hurdle in the debt brake for possible negotiations with the Union after the federal election. “The Union and the finance minister (Olaf Scholz, SPD) hold fast to the dogma of the rigid debt brake,” said Federal Managing Director Michael Kellner of the “Märkische Oderzeitung” (Saturday). “We now have to take money into our hands to fight the effects of the climate crisis or to ensure well-equipped schools, sports fields and libraries.”
However, he was basically open to possible coalition negotiations with the Union after the election in autumn. “We have never made a secret of the fact that the SPD is closer to us in terms of content than the Union,” said the federal manager. “But of course we have to be able to talk to all democratic parties. The last year with the government drama in Thuringia showed that. ”Kellner is campaign manager. He is running for the Bundestag in the constituency of Uckermark / Barnim I in Brandenburg.
CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak announced tough negotiations on Friday in the event of talks with the Greens. “It may be that we have to negotiate with the Greens after the election,” wrote Ziemiak on Twitter. “But I promise you one thing: the Greens will swallow more toads in the coalition negotiations than some of them have carried across the street.”
To finance the burdens of the corona pandemic, the debt brake anchored in the Basic Law was overridden for last year and this year. According to the will of the grand coalition, it should apply again from 2022.
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More: Support for the debt brake is decreasing – state politicians for infrastructure investments
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.
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?