If there is a connection between the future of the CDU and the rings under the eyes of Secretary General Paul Ziemiak, then things will be bad for the old people's party. Armin Laschet, the party leader, will not be explaining the plan to save the CDU this Monday; he will send Ziemiak ahead of him. What the secretary-general then explains with a weary look is the roadmap for a long hanging party. In the end, there should be a completely newly elected party leadership.
It is Monday afternoon, 14.3 p.m., two weeks after the Bundestag elections. Deep in western Berlin, the explorers from the SPD, the Greens and the FDP are sitting together at this time of the day. They want to clarify discreetly and quickly by the end of the week whether there can be coalition negotiations for a traffic light alliance. A few kilometers further east, in the Konrad Adenauer House, this morning's party leadership of the CDU assembled.
The contrasts could not be greater: There three parties, negotiating in a sorted and confident manner, delivering images of unity. Here's the former chancellor's party, the once well-oiled power machine that, after the Election disaster stands there as a redevelopment case. The only conceivable government option – it has disappeared behind the horizon, Jamaica is only a mirage at the moment. Ziemiak's roadmap is not likely to change that fact. On the contrary.
CDU party leadership to set further course in early November
Formally, Armin Laschet is still the party leader, but since his announced resignation he has had trouble being perceived as a moderator at all. In other words, in the role in which he feels most comfortable and prefers to see himself. But questions of power are seldom questions that can be solved with a friendly conversational approach. The Consultations of the CDU leadership take longer than planned this morning, and the faces of those who leave the meeting room earlier look tired.
The plan that emerges in the end is complex: The District chairmen are to be discussed at a conference on 30. October to discuss grassroots participation in deciding on a new party leader. If they recommend a vote of the members, the federal executive committee will meet on 2. November set the process in motion. This means that the potential candidates will be given time to apply, and then they will go on a presentation tour.
Two to four weeks at least could be spent with Regional conferences The election would be followed by a vote of the party members. If two candidates make it to the runoff, there would have to be a second round. A party congress that formally confirms the vote of the grassroots and reelects the entire executive board is therefore hardly to be expected this year.
If the CDU goes into the state elections without a new executive board?
The longer it takes, however, the greater the anger is likely to be, especially among the election campaigners in North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland and Schleswig-Holstein. "We can't take forever for the personnel selection process because of important state elections next spring; we have to quickly become capable of acting again," says Dennis Radtke, vice chairman of the CDA workers' wing, from Bochum.
With the conference on 30. In November, the Party leadership at least one more possible brake. "If you conduct a membership survey, it takes longer," Ziemiak stresses.
Who follows Laschet? CDU politicians put themselves in position
In truth, many opponents of a membership referendum fear above all a sweep by Friedrich Merz. A CDU board member describes it this way: "When the 400.If the CDU's 000 members were able to determine the party leader and Friedrich Merz were to run for office, Merz would probably win the election by a clear margin – if only because of our membership structure."
That the Member decision his great and last chance would be, sees also Merz himself probably so. He made the case for this basic involvement early on. Merz is keeping an application open for this eventuality, while he has already made one thing clear: "I rule out one thing: I will not again go into a contentious vote at a federal party conference."There he had lost twice, in 2018 against Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and in January 2021 against Laschet. BackgroundWho wants to be Armin Laschet's successor??
No woman in the field of candidates
In the possible field of candidates, the conservative ex-faction leader Merz is the oldest at almost 66 years old. Foreign expert Norbert Rottgen is ten years younger, Health Minister Jens Spahn with 41 years the youngest. Ralph Brinkhaus (53) has already achieved a first partial success by being elected parliamentary party leader.
In addition, the young heads of government in the states – like Tobias Hans in the Saarland or Michael Kretschmer in Saxony. Schleswig-Holstein's minister president is also mentioned more often Daniel Guenther. But the 48-year-old is waving off the idea for now: "I'm happy to help with the reorganization in the federal government, but not in the front line," the CDU politician told the Welt newspaper.
Among the CDU women But so far none of them has budged. A strong female candidate would be a good thing for the party, which is eager for renewal: the CDU can only be repositioned in terms of content, personnel and structure "with the women in the party," says the chairwoman of the Women's Union, Annette Widmann-Mauz. Whether they had also talked about a dual leadership, Ziemiak is still asked at the end. No, they would not have.