A picture combination shows the three candidates for the CDU party chairmanship during a discussion in the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus. Before the election of the CDU federal chairman, the candidates face the members again in the discussion broadcast via live stream.
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Three men all want a job with extremely large shoes.
Whoever wins the leadership competition for the German CDU party on January 16 will most likely also be the next German Chancellor and replace Angela Merkel, who is not running for another term.
It looks like a close race in which Friedrich Merz is currently at the top of the polls by a small margin. The central question is: which direction does the CDU want to take and how much courage do the party delegates have for political change?
Merkel was elected Chancellor in 2005 and has dramatically changed the party from a very conservative, male-dominated group to a “center” party. That’s how she always framed it.
That was not always easy for the conservative wing and its clientele, some of whom have left and are now voting for the populist AfD party.
Merkel’s success was determined by her political intelligence, grasping what’s popular with people and changing course accordingly. Be it the exit from nuclear power, same-sex marriage or the introduction of a minimum wage.
Now, after 16 years in office, she will not run in the upcoming elections in September. And these are the three men who want their job:
Friedrich Merz, presidential candidate of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, will take part in the discussion with other candidates on December 8, 2021 at the CDU headquarters in Berlin. Leading members of the German Christian Democrats (CDU) Friedrich Merz, Armin Laschet and Norbert Roettgen, who vie for the leadership of the party, discussed with each other in their second round of live streaming debates at the CDU headquarters. The party is expected to elect a new leader later this month
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According to an opinion poll by Infratest dimap, he is currently the most likely winner this weekend with a score of 29%.
He is supported by the conservative and business wing of the party, but cannot convince the “women’s CDU”, which openly does not support him.
He promises to transform the CDU into a more conservative party that could be a home again for many angry voters who have changed for the AfD. The former German chairman of BlackRock is closely associated with the country’s business elite and an expert on economic issues.
If he leads the CDU in the next elections, he would be in favor of a coalition with the Liberals, but that combination would not currently produce a majority. He has bad relations with the Greens, so ironically, his election would most likely mean a continuation of the grand coalition with the SPD.
The candidate for the chairmanship of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Germany, Armin Laschet, gesticulates as he participates in a discussion in the party center in Berlin on January 8, 2021. – The conservative CDU party in Germany will elect a new leader on January 16, 2021 from three candidates: the moderate Armin Laschet, the archconservative Friedrich Merz and the outsider Norbert Roettgen.
CHRISTIAN MANG / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTIAN MANG / POOL / AFP via Getty Images
Armin Laschet is the man of continuity who undertakes to keep the party where it is: to stay in the middle and on the “Merkel” track.
He is an experienced politician and Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous federal state in Germany.
He wants to modernize Germany and transform the CDU into a younger party with more female representation. He works with Jens Spahn, the country’s health minister, and one of the country’s youngest leaders.
If he wins the race, the CDU would most likely form a coalition with the Green Party or a so-called “Jamaica coalition” that would include the Liberals in the mix.
The candidate for the chairmanship of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Germany, Norbert Roettgen, speaks when he takes part in a discussion at the party center in Berlin on January 8, 2021. – The conservative CDU party in Germany will elect a new leader on January 16, 2021 from three candidates: the moderate Armin Laschet, the archconservative Friedrich Merz and the outsider Norbert Roettgen.
CHRISTIAN MANG / POOL / AFP via Getty Images
Norbert Röttgen is the least likely winner, but could well gain ground in the duel against Laschet.
The trained lawyer currently heads the Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. He, too, wants to modernize the CDU, but with a greater impact on the environment, which he believes will push the younger generations to vote for the party. That makes him – if he wins – predestined for a coalition with the Greens.