Berlin (dpa) – Friedrich Merz, who lost in the election to the CDU presidency, has called on online party congress delegates and CDU members to support new party leader Armin Laschet.
“I ask all delegates to participate in the final written vote and give a strong voice to our new chairman Armin Laschet. And then we’ll get to work together, ”reads a letter from Merz to the CDU members of the German press agency in Berlin.
After Merz Laschet on Saturday, shortly after his defeat, offered to take over the Ministry of Economy in the current government of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), he now wrote that the CDU leadership had proposed a year ago for him to join the party very specific. “I stood and am open to this thought.” Merz added, “At the same time, I deeply regret that irritations around my person have arisen over the weekend in this context.” He wanted to make it clear: “Even without an office, I will keep my promise to continue working for the party.”
Merz’s advance had caused misunderstanding even among his supporters. Merkel immediately turned down Merz’s offer. As CDU chair, she deposed Merz in 2002 from the position of group chair in the Bundestag. The relationship between Merkel and Merz has since been considered broken.
Merz appealed to the CDU members: “We should now support Armin Laschet with all our strength in his responsible task.” The Union “needs unity and good cooperation, and we must fight together: for our beliefs and for our country”. If the party doesn’t do this, “Germany is in danger of sliding into right-wing populism or green-left neo-socialism. Serious damage would be done to our country. Merz thanked his supporters: “They have behaved me with a lot of passion in recent months.” Now the party congress has decided in favor of Laschet.
Merz continued to write that the country’s economic situation was dire because of the corona pandemic. ‘That is why we cannot leave Germany to red-red-green experiments at this historic hour.’ The CDU is used as a “force of the center, freedom, reason”, it must embody the ascending perspective. “Germany is about to make a comeback of innovations and not just leave the future to America and China. That is why the CDU can also count on me in the future. “
At an online party conference on Saturday, Laschet narrowly won Merz in a “digital preselection” with a second round of 55 votes. The result of the postal vote, which is then required for legal reasons, will be announced this Friday. In the Union, following Merz’s defeat, there are fears of a continuation of the split within the CDU in a camp of more conservative Merz supporters and Laschet supporters. Laschet is essentially arguing for a continuation of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s (CDU) middle course.
CDU Secretary General Paul Ziemiak asked delegates in an email to which Merz’s letter was attached to trust the new federal administration elected at the party congress – “with Armin Laschet at the helm as team captain.” Together they want to take responsibility in a modern people’s party, “which is united in unity and recognizes that politics must come from the center of society and not from the periphery”.