As of: 23.10.2021 8:26 a.m.
The CDU is still working on its defeat in the federal elections. But at the state party conference in Bielefeld, the focus is on the state election. Hendrik Wüst is now head of the state party.
The last CDU state party conference in May 2019 was all about the upcoming European elections. EPP top candidate Manfred Weber gave an acclaimed speech. Europe veteran Elmar Brok was retired after almost 40 years. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer served as CDU federal chairman for six months. Armin Laschet’s candidacy for chancellor lay in the fog of the future. And nobody saw a corona pandemic coming.
Two and a half years later, the CDU meets again for the first time at a party congress in Bielefeld’s town hall – and everything is different. While the reasons for the defeat at the Bundestag election will continue to be heavily discussed in the party, the focus in North Rhine-Westphalia is already on the one coming in seven months State election am 15. May 2022.
Laschet hopes for a spirit of optimism
At the party congress, Prime Minister Armin Laschet would like to send out a “sign of new beginnings for our party, but also for the people of North Rhine-Westphalia”. This should succeed above all with Transport Minister Hendrik Wüst, who is to be elected as the new state chairman.
The election of Wüst is planned as the eighth item on the agenda. At around 1 p.m. Wüst held his application speech, shortly afterwards there was a vote. Laschet speaks two hours beforehand. He should advertise Wüst. Only two weeks ago he had proposed him as his successor.
Not popular with everyone
Laschet praised him as being a “doer”. And he has made “smart policies” in recent years. With 96.3 and 93.4 percent of all votes, Laschet achieved good results in the last two elections for state chairman. One of the most exciting questions on Saturday will be how much approval the Wüst, which is not popular with everyone in the CDU, receives.
In 2010, Wüst had to resign as Secretary General of the state CDU because of an affair involving bookable sponsor appointments with the then Prime Minister Jürgen Rüttgers (“Rent a Rüttgers”). Since his comeback as Minister of Transport in 2017, he has avoided the very loud tones. In the past few weeks, Wüst held back noticeably.
677 delegates vote
677 delegates vote on the new state board, there are no opposing candidates for Wüst. A good result would be important for him, because just four days later, the trained lawyer is to be elected Prime Minister in a special session of the state parliament.
There the CDU and FDP have only a wafer-thin majority with 100 out of 199 votes. Wüst needs all 100 votes in the first ballot. He cannot afford a single deviator in his own coalition.
In surveys, the SPD is also ahead in NRW
The state party congress will therefore be the first practical test for Wüst. The CDU wants to focus on the state elections in the spring of 2022 – according to current surveys, the SPD is also currently ahead in North Rhine-Westphalia.
13 items on the agenda are planned for Saturday. In addition to the state board, the delegates to the federal party congress are also elected. Labor and Social Affairs Minister Karl-Josef Laumann will no longer run for the board. Sabine Verheyen from the Aachen district association is to take over one of the five deputy positions for him.
Interior Minister Herbert Reul and Paderborn’s Daniel Sieveke are apparently to be newly elected to the board. Building Minister Ina Scharrenbach is again running for one of the five deputy positions in the state executive.
Eagerly awaited: Brinkhaus will give a speech
Guests of honor are not invited due to the corona pandemic. However, the chairman of the CDU parliamentary group will give a greeting – because Ralph Brinkhaus is also the chairman of the CDU district association Ostwestfalen-Lippe.
Many eagerly await his speech. Brinkhaus is said to have ambitions for the CDU federal chairmanship. His sharp criticism of the traffic light exploratory paper had recently not pleased many in the CDU. Hendrik Wüst is likely to have meant Brinkhaus in particular when he said about the soundings at the beginning of the week: “I think it doesn’t look good on the CDU to hit it off now.”