ARD interview: Merz wants to make CDU the “most modern people’s party in Europe”


Status: December 17, 2021 7:04 p.m.

Some consider him a man of the 90s, too old for renewal – the future CDU boss Merz contradicts. in the ARDInterview said the 66-year-old: His aim is to lead the most modern people’s party in Europe.

ARD: Mr. Merz, all good things come in threes. They lost twice before, when there was really something to be distributed: a candidate for chancellor, a participation in government. Now that the cart is stuck in the dirt, they are allowed to get in first. What kind of signal is that?

Friedrich Merz: That is the sign that the CDU wants a renewal, and on my part the willingness to take on this task even in difficult times, not just in good times.

ARD: You had to look for a woman on the team for a long time. With Christina Stumpp you have appointed a largely unknown person and only as deputy general secretary. Some women in the CDU speak of sham packaging.

Merz: I do not share that assessment. With Mario Czaja and Christina Stumpp we will have a strong management team and we will not be alone. We’ll have deputy party leaders. We will have members of the Presidium, and in the next few days I will also see to it that we get more women to run for the closest leadership of the CDU.

Show your colors with the new CDU chairman Friedrich Merz

tagesschau24 18:00, 17.12.2021

“Stand for a new generation contract”

ARD: The traffic light government has big “progress” on the coalition agreement. For some, you are considered a man of the 90s, from the Bonn republic. How are you going to get rid of this image?

Merz: This is an image that has been given me maliciously in part and that does not at all fit my attitude towards life, including my political attitude. And I’ll show that over the next few years. We will be a modern people’s party. I even claim to ourselves, including myself, to be the most modern people’s party in Europe. And I’ll show you that very specifically.

ARD: In the general election – that’s what all the polls say – the young voters often voted for the Greens and the FDP. Many people in the East voted for Olaf Scholz, as did traditional, older CDU voters. How do you intend to win back voters at both ends across generations?

Merz: Indeed, it is as they say: not only did many young voters vote for the Greens, but also many for the FDP. I find that encouraging, the FDP’s promise of freedom has obviously met with a very positive response from many young voters. It is encouraging that it is not “just” green issues, but that there are others too. And I also stand for a new generation contract in this society.

We will have to answer the question of how we imagine the social security systems in times of demographic change. My experience over the past three years has been – and that was also a bit of a surprise for me: The second topic after the environment and climate for the young generation was social security, especially pensions. And we have to make a good offer.

Question about group chairmanship remains unanswered

ARD: In the opposition, as you have often said, the parliamentary group and party chairmanship must belong in one hand so that one can really get through. Does that mean, conversely, that Ralph Brinkhaus will have to look for a new job from May 1st?

Merz: I said that – both for the combination of the Chancellery and party chairmanship and, in principle, for the parliamentary group and party chairmanship. In principle, it means that you can do it differently. And how we want to and will do it, I will certainly not talk about it in the public service media or in the media first, but with Ralph Brinkhaus.

ARD: Then there is a second question. Do you dare to become Chancellor and do you want to become Chancellor?

Merz: We have just had a federal election with a bad result for us. We have a new federal government, to which we naturally wish success in the interests of our country. And we are now repositioning ourselves in the opposition. The claim must, however, apply: The party chairman of the CDU must always and in principle be able to exercise the office of Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

But the decision about it is not up to now. We have just got a new government, and the federal executive, who will now be elected for a new term with me at the end of January, will be elected for two years. And I suspect that the question of the candidate for chancellor for the Union will not be asked at this time either. And we have to work together to bring the Union closer to the question in order to be able to answer it realistically. And that will be the task for the next few years.

Merz becomes the new CDU chairman

Sabine Henkel, ARD Berlin, December 17, 2021 2:57 p.m.

“The rule of law must show its teeth”

ARD: Now a few quick questions again. Friedrich Merz is most upset about the traffic light government …

Merz: Until now nothing. I am following them critically and with the intention that we will see a good federal government there.

ARD: They have become much more moderate lately. Has Friedrich Merz become milder with age?

Merz: No, but maybe they perceived me a little differently. Perceived as I always have been.

ARD: Mr. Merz, radicalized corona deniers, torch-lit marches and threats are a very big problem. How do you want to deal with these people?

Merz: There are a lot of skeptics there. Many people who are afraid, are pregnant, breastfeeding, have children and do not know whether to vaccinate. You can talk to them. And we have to talk to them too. And we have to try to convince them too. I also have very personal encounters with people who are simply afraid. Perhaps that can be changed a little in one case or another.

But there are others who have become completely radicalized, who meanwhile also no longer talk about Corona. They speak against this state, they demonstrate violently against this state and its institutions. The rule of law really has to show all its teeth, and please do so quickly. Just as it has now happened in Saxony, with convictions that follow immediately. It doesn’t have to take months or even years to convict such offenders every time, it can be done quickly. And if the legal basis has to be improved even further, then I will ensure that we agree.

The questions were asked by Tina Hassel, head of the ARD capital studio and Matthias Deiß, deputy head of the ARD capital studio. You can watch the complete interview in the attached video.

Matthias Deiss
ARD capital studio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *