Sunday, November 28

Election of the CDU chairman: Officials try basic democracy

To analyse

As of: 10/30/2021 8:17 p.m.

Other parties have shown the way, now the CDU is probably also taking this path: At a meeting, the district chairmen voted with a large majority in favor of a member survey about the party chairmanship.

By Kirsten Girschick, ARD capital studio

The CDU is a party that grassroots democracy – well – has always considered something suspicious. The Greens have been accused of chaos, the SPD blasphemed that they need half a year to cast their party leaders in order to then make someone else a candidate for chancellor. But now even with the CDU it is no longer possible without the grassroots – that is the feeling in large parts of the party.

Kirsten Girschick
ARD capital studio

The basis wants to have a say

Many members had given this to their district chairperson on their way to Berlin in real or virtual meetings. You want to participate in the discussion and have a say in the decision-making process, especially when it comes to electing the chairman. And for the fact that the party has put down a devastating election defeat and has to elect a new party leader for the third time in four years, the mood among the district leaders is quite good.

It is the feeling of finally being heard that characterizes this meeting. To finally be able to describe in detail to the party leadership in the person of Armin Laschet and Paul Ziemiak what is going on at the grassroots level. And among each other there was probably one or the other aha experience: The problem analysis in rural East Germany is very different from that in a large West German city.

Potential applicants without an official candidacy

The fact that the CDU in the West and in the big cities is more likely to lose voters to the Greens, while in the East concerns about the AfD – these problems are by no means reduced by a grassroots survey on the party chairman. The concern that a close result could lead to a further split in the party is still a concern for some. But the overwhelming majority of the district chairpersons, who have spoken out in favor of this membership, show that it is hoped for more unity, more unity and a greater sense of legitimacy for the top staff. The final decision on a member survey lies with the federal executive board.

Whether that succeeds depends on how well the vote works – and who – and how many – are standing for election. Friedrich Merz, Norbert Röttgen, Ralph Brinkhaus, Carsten Linnemann and Jens Spahn – none of these potential applicants has officially thrown their hat into the ring. Almost no one named a clear favorite among the district chairpersons.

The desire for a team

Most of all, many say, one would like to have a team that competes. That represents all currents of the party and is still well balanced. Even if the possible candidates came together, the team would only consist of men from North Rhine-Westphalia. But as soon as the CDU federal executive board has determined the procedure on November 2, the candidates for the CDU chairmanship have to show their colors.

The structure and content of the party should be discussed with the grassroots. And yet it should be quick – that is also what the conference of district chairmen says again and again. After all, they want to start the election year 2022 together behind the new party chairman. This leaves a somewhat paradoxical impression: the CDU decides to conduct a basic survey – and yet inwardly seems to long for leadership above all.

You can see more on the subject in the report from Berlin on Sunday at 6:05 p.m. in the first.

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