Fight To Succeed Merkel Strains Relationship Between The Conservative Partners

Fight To Succeed Merkel Strains Relationship Between The Conservative Partners

The leadership of the CDU, the Chancellor’s party, have given their support to Armin Laschet, president of the party. Social Christian allies hope that Markus Söder, the popular Prime Minister of Bavaria, will be the successor.

The president of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Armin Laschet , has come a little closer this Monday to the officialization of his candidacy for the chancellery: the presidency and the federal executive of the German conservative party have given their support almost unanimously, according to Christian Democratic sources, to Laschet’s claim to stand as electoral head in the federal elections next September and thus try to succeed Merkel at the head of the chancellery.

“The opinion in the presidency and the leadership is clear: there is broad support for Laschet,” said the Christian Democrat general secretary, Paul Zemiak, at a press conference with the party president on Monday.

“Everyone wants to make a quick decision now. The facts are on the table ”, added Laschet, who thus left the ball in the court of Markus Söder , Prime Minister of Bavaria and president of the CSU – a brother party of the CDU in the free state of southern Germany-

Söder is the only alternative candidate to Laschet within German conservatism to clear the so-called ‘K-Frage’ – as the question of the candidate for chancellor is popularly known in German -.

Last Sunday, after a meeting of the federal parliamentary fraction of the CDU-CSU, Söder publicly acknowledged his intention to present his candidacy. He only made one condition: to have the support not only of his party, but also that of the ranks of the CDU .

Risk of open conflict

Despite the fact that Laschet already has the explicit support of the CDU leadership, Söder still does not give his arm to twist: hours after the appearance of the president of the CDU in Berlin, the president of the CSU presented himself this Monday before the press in Munich to confirm the “unanimous” support of the Christian Social leadership for his claims to be the future Federal Chancellor.

Söder has specified that he will resign from the candidacy when the CDU shows “broad support” for Laschet. The support of the Christian Democratic leadership this Monday for Laschet is not enough for the Bavarian leader. The risk of an open conflict within German conservatism grows and threatens to widen the internal cracks already existing within the CDU-CSU on the threshold of Angela Merkel’s political farewell.

Some deputies and prominent members of the CDU have shown their support to the Bavarian Social Christian leader for the conservative candidacy for the chancellery. They fear that a poor result in the federal elections in September could leave them out of the Bundestag for losing their direct mandates as federal deputies.

Fear of polls
In addition to the drop in the vote intention of the CDU-CSU – the conservative union has been clearly below 30% for weeks, when months ago it reached 40% – is added the terrible position that Laschet occupies in the popularity polls : Only 26% of the German population is happy with the work of the CDU president and prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia , according to the latest projection of the German public channel ARD.

Meanwhile, polls indicate that more than half of the German population is happy with Söder’s work, who ranks as the second best-valued politician in the country only behind Merkel .

“The question is no longer with whom we will govern, as a few weeks ago, but if we will govern,” Söder said this Monday in reference to the alternatives to a government led by the CDU-CSU that the electoral projections already draw. The conservative union has been ruling Germany continuously for 16 years at the federal level.

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