23.01.2022 – 19:33
Central Bavarian newspaper
Friedrich Merz for the third. Angela Merkel’s longtime opponent had twice applied unsuccessfully for the party leadership of the CDU. Once Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer triumphed, then Armin Laschet. However, the two short-term leaders of the Christian Democrats apparently did not have the political stature and probably did not have the necessary bit of luck to win elections and defend the chancellorship. You have to give the 66-year-old Merz credit for having a lot of stamina. Now, after a previous online vote, he became chairman of the former Chancellor’s Party at the third attempt at the weekend. But this vote means not only laurels and personal satisfaction at having made it to Merkel’s chair in the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus, but above all a hell of a lot of work and responsibility. The Christian Democrats are stuck in what is probably the deepest crisis in their more than 75-year history. The CDU is in danger of falling as a people’s party, as numerous conservative parties in Western Europe have had to go through. And they are politically squeezed between the “progress” traffic light and the right-wing populist AfD. The core problem of the Christian Democrats is currently not the frequently changing party leadership, but above all the lack of clarity about what the post-Merkel party stands for today. The resigned CDU boss and ex-chancellor has allowed what is called the brand essence of the conservative party to become arbitrary. To name just a few important points, Merkel not only abolished conscription de facto, abolished nuclear power and initiated the phase-out of coal, but also embarked on a course in refugee policy that many previously conservative voters did not support . As long as Merkel was able to keep the SPD small in the embrace of a grand coalition, this was not noticed. The power was retained. But with the election disaster of September 2021 on their shoulders, there can be no way for Merz to continue like this. He has to reunite the deeply insecure party, give it a clear profile and get it back on its feet. The new party leader must show where the CDU actually stands on fundamental and day-to-day political issues, and make it clear what conservative means today. This is of course easier said than done. The CDU has not yet found its new role as an opposition party in the Bundestag. And just hoping for traffic light errors, for example with the current hiccup about compulsory vaccination or in the Ukraine crisis, is not enough. Sooner or later, Merz will also have to reach for the presidency of the Union faction if he takes his job as party leader seriously and wants to represent a real, personal counterweight to Chancellor Olaf Scholz. However, the Sauerland should proceed cautiously and keep personal injuries as small as possible. His own experience, when Merkel roughly ousted him from the leadership of the parliamentary group 20 years ago, should be enough of a reminder. Beautiful pictures with Markus Söder on a jetty at the lake are not enough. In his speech at the weekend, Merz warned the CSU that 2021 should not be repeated. Of course, he left it open what exactly he meant by that. The state elections this spring and especially the election in Bavaria in autumn 2023 will also be the litmus test for Merz. If the CDU can recover and the CSU can grow again, then he is the right man for the future of the Union. If not, his days as party leader may be numbered.
Central Bavarian newspaper
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Original content from: Mittelbayerische Zeitung, transmitted by news aktuell