Search for CDU boss: Merz can imagine the third attempt

Status: 07.11.2021 4:05 p.m.

The search for the CDU chairmanship has officially started – there are already rumors about potential candidates. Among them also Friedrich Merz. His application would not come as a surprise, but he is still reluctant to admit his ambitions.

The CDU wants to reposition itself after the debacle in the federal election – and it should start at the top, with the party chairmanship. Candidates have been able to apply for the post at the top since Saturday.

Friedrich Merz counts as one of those who were traded as a potential successor to Armin Laschet even before the official start of the “nomination phase”. And at an appearance in front of the Federal Association of Lesbians and Gays in the Union (LSU), he confirmed his ambitions to enter the race for the office – albeit with a certain reluctance.

“I tend to do that,” said Merz in his speech to the LSU, as the “Spiegel” reported. There will be final clarity “within the next week”, promised Merz.

Ambitions come as no surprise

His application would not come as a surprise, after all, Merz had already tried twice to get the party leadership for himself. Attempt number one came in 2018 – but in the runoff election, Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was finally able to prevail.

The second attempt followed when the Christian Democrats only reopened the search for a chairman last December. This time, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn and foreign politician Norbert Röttgen were among the competition. But after rounds of introductions and Triell debates, the post finally went to the later candidate for Chancellor Laschet in January.

In the new struggle for the replacement of the party leadership, the names from then reappear next to Merz: Röttgen, Spahn, but also Carsten Linnemann or Ralph Brinkhaus are traded as possible candidates.

A candidate line without women?

During his appearance in front of the LSU, Merz tried to steer his gaze away from the party leadership towards the larger goal of renewing the CDU. However, it is not just about his person, the future of the CDU would now have to take more Christian Democrats into their hands than just one, “Spiegel” quoted him further. And he also plays on the shortcoming that the previous series of potential candidates for the chairmanship is rather one-sided – male and all from North Rhine-Westphalia. That is why Merz emphasized:

It is very clear to me that the image of the CDU cannot be determined by white men from North Rhine-Westphalia alone. We have to be positioned much more broadly. And I try to make that possible too.

The base has a choice

It will take some time until the decision on who will take over the chairmanship of the Christian Democrats in the future. First of all, anyone who wants to and knows the necessary support from a state or district association can apply until November 17th. This is followed by the introductory phase with digital appearances in front of the member base. Because it should ultimately decide – from December 4th, party members can vote online or by postal vote. The result should be known on December 17th, provided there is no runoff election. The CDU boss – or at least a possible boss – is to be formally elected into office at the party congress on January 14th.

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