In the team at the top of the CDU?

Status: 02.11.2021 07:01 a.m.

Five men from NRW are considered possible candidates for the CDU chairmanship. Nobody has ventured out of cover yet. Team solutions are being worked on behind the scenes. The party leadership today decides on how to become the boss.

By Uli Hauck, ARD capital studio

All Saints’ Day is a public holiday in North Rhine-Westphalia. But the regional group of the NRW-CDU in the Bundestag has to work. The more than 40 MPs met in Bergisch-Gladbach for a closed conference. There were also five possible candidates for the party chairmanship: Friedrich Merz, Norbert Röttgen, Ralph Brinkhaus, Jens Spahn and Carsten Linnemann – all from NRW, all with more or less open ambitions for the CDU party chairmanship.

Uli Hauck
ARD capital studio

In Bergisch-Gladbach, for example, a small group of people could discuss the successor to Laschet. Because the candidates have to decide whether they want to compete alone or in a team. Team solutions could prevent combat candidates and thus not further deepen the split in the party. But there is still not a single official application.

Team Merz

After the way for a membership decision has been clear since Saturday, it is generally assumed that Friedrich Merz will run again for the CDU chairmanship. After two defeats against Armin Laschet and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, he hopes for success on the third attempt. But this is unlikely to be a sure-fire success for the 65-year-old – even in the case of a member survey, because many at the grassroots level want a renewal. And that’s not what Merz really stands for. So he needs a team.

Merz’s natural partner is economic politician Carsten Linnemann. The head of the SME Union and deputy parliamentary group leader has long been considered a Merz supporter. He could postpone his own ambitions for the party leadership and instead put himself in the service of Merz. For example, as his general secretary.

The two economic politicians would then lack the support of the social wing and women in the Union. A complete Merz team would have to be even broader. Friedrich Merz denied a report in the “Bild” newspaper, according to which he wants to bring CDU vice and still health minister Jens Spahn into his team. The relationship between Merz and Spahn is considered difficult.

It remains to be seen whether Spahn himself is a candidate. His announcements so far are only vague. To the Deutschlandfunk he said that he “wanted to shape the new CDU”. In which position he left open.

Team Röttgen

Norbert Röttgen positions himself as an opponent to Merz. In interviews, he warns against positioning the CDU too conservatively. A new party leader must be “in the middle”. And that’s where Röttgen locates himself. In the three-way battle in January for the CDU chairmanship between him, Laschet and Merz, he failed in the first round.

Who is most likely to be a CDU chairman?

The foreign politician is well received by the public, but in the party he is viewed as a solitary fighter, a lone fighter who lacks support. He would therefore also need considerable support in order to reach for power. And this is where Union parliamentary group leader Brinkhaus comes into play. in the Report from Berlin Röttgen said that he could imagine working with the conservative CDU politician. But whether it could come to the team of a party leader Röttgen and a parliamentary group leader Brinkhaus is also still open.

Decision on electoral procedure

So while the personnel list is still being struggled, the election procedure for the third CDU chairman in three years’ time should now be decided. The party leadership wants to make a proposal to the executive board and the presidium as to how and when the member survey and party congress should be implemented. Either in December or possibly not until January or early February.

Since new state parliaments will be elected in Saarland at the end of March and in Schleswig-Holstein and in North Rhine-Westphalia in May, there are also voices in the CDU that plead for a reorganization of the party leadership as quickly as possible. So the pressure for team building continues to rise.

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