Berlin (dpa) – Recently inferior in the battle for the CDU presidency, Friedrich Merz has called on his online party conference voters 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 get to work together, ”reads a letter from Merz to the CDU members, which is available to the German news agency in Berlin. He did not comment on the Union candidate for chancellor.
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 declined the offer. As CDU leader, she deposed Merz in 2002 from the position of Group Chairman 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. “
The corona pandemic has made the economic situation dire, Merz continued. ‘That is why we cannot leave Germany to red-red-green experiments at this historic hour.’ Germany “stands for 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. “
Laschet triumphed at an online party conference on Saturday in a “digital preselection” run-off with a 55-vote lead against Merz. The result of the postal vote, which is necessary for legal reasons, will be announced this Friday.
In a newsletter emailed to his followers Monday evening shortly after the letter to CDU members, Merz wrote under the subject “#MerzMail 30: I’m going to continue!” That he “remains available despite my renewed defeat in the party presidency vote. stand to help the CDU win the next election ». He could bring the expertise of the CDU Economic Council, whose vice president is Merz, into the preparation of the federal election campaign.
The 65-year-old added: “That will work in the coming months, even without political office.” This sentence makes you sit up and notice: Merz could at least keep the option open to apply for such an office. It is almost impossible that Merkel will accept him in her cabinet. Merz did not apply for a place in the CDU leadership on Saturday. In principle, he could seek a ministerial position after the federal election. From the ranks of Merz supporters, it was said that this was conceivable.
On Monday, the head of the Union of Values, Alexander Mitsch, spoke out for a team solution from Laschet as party leader and Merz as chancellor candidate. With the election of Laschet, officials had massively ignored the party base’s vote at the party congress. The union of values is considered a conservative splinter group in the CDU. In his letter, Merz made no mention of the upcoming debate in the Union in the coming weeks over the joint candidacy for chancellor of the CDU and CSU. Most recently, CSU boss Markus Söder Merz and Laschet was way ahead in studies on this topic.
In the speculation newsletter, Merz denied that after the second defeat in the battle for party leadership – in 2018 he was defeated in a second round by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer – he could turn to another party, possibly the FDP. “Despite all the offers and requests to support or even join one of our political competitors, I’ll stick with the CDU!” Merz emphasizes.
CDU Secretary General Paul Ziemiak asked delegates in an email to which the Merz 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”.