The CDU party conference begins | Free press

Berlin (dpa) – After nearly a year of hanging, the CDU digital party convention for the election of a new chairman begins today.

Speeches by outgoing party chairman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and digital greetings from Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), CSU leader Markus Söder and EU Commission chairman Ursula von der Leyen are planned. The new party leader will be elected on Saturday morning.

The CDU wants to be the first party in Germany to determine its chairman online. In addition to NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet, former Union party leader Friedrich Merz and foreign politician Norbert Röttgen are running for elections. It is expected that none of the candidates will achieve the required absolute majority in the first vote and that a second vote will be required immediately thereafter. In the second vote, a simple majority of the valid votes cast is sufficient.

To make the “digital pre-selection” legally safe, a letter vote will follow after Saturday. The result should be finalized and announced on January 22. Laschet, Merz and Röttgen have assured that they will accept the results of the online vote. If you lose, you no longer want to vote by mail, which is legally possible. It is therefore expected that the new CDU boss will be announced on Saturday.

If the new CDU president is elected, the discussion of the right candidate for chancellor should quickly gain momentum in the Union. The CSU boss and Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder has regularly been at the forefront of investigations on this topic in recent months. Söder himself, however, has so far made no public ambitions for the chancellery clear.

Söder remained vague about that on Friday. When asked under what circumstances the candidate of the Chancellor of the CSU could come, he told the papers of the Funke media group (Friday): “Even in the CDU it is discussed that there is no born candidate. Who is the right one also depends on the content profile with which we want to go to the Bundestag elections. “

It was recently indicated that the CDU and CSU would not elect their candidate for chancellor until after the important state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate on March 14. Union leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) had told the “Münchner Merkur” of the schedule: “In the first one or two weeks after Easter, we should have committed.”

Due to the corona pandemic, only the closest leadership circle around Kramp-Karrenbauer and Ziemiak, the three candidates and technicians will be in the party conference studio on the Berlin exhibition grounds on Friday and Saturday. National and international guests and journalists are not allowed due to the pandemic. However, the party congress is broadcast entirely via the internet and television.

After the election of the new chairman, the entire CDU leadership will be re-elected online, with the exception of Secretary-General Ziemiak. In the event of a win, Laschet has announced that he will nominate his team partner, Health Minister Jens Spahn, as one of the five deputy party leaders. Merz announced on Thursday evening that he would support the applications of three JU candidates to the CDU Federal Executive Committee.

The solution to the personnel problem after the announcement of the Kramp-Karrenbauer withdrawal in February has been dragging on since the spring due to the corona pandemic. A special party conference originally scheduled for the end of April and a party conference in December were canceled due to the pandemic in consultation with the successors.

Several top politicians recently called for unity after the election of the president. “It is important that we as the CDU are closed after the elections and that we are behind the new party chairman – regardless of which of the three candidates wins the race,” Saarland’s Prime Minister Tobias Hans of the Düsseldorf “Rheinische Post” said (Friday). All three candidates have shown in recent weeks that they “can treat each other fairly in tone, style and content”. The disastrous competition feared by many did not materialize. “That was a good thing.”

CSU boss Söder advised the union not to break with Merkel’s policy on the way to the federal elections on September 26. There is great approval for Merkel and her politics in Germany. A representative survey by the opinion research institute Forsa on behalf of the editorial network Germany (RND / Freitag) showed that 60 percent of citizens under the new CDU boss would like a mid-market rate. On the other hand, 31 percent said the CDU should re-emphasize its conservative values.

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