Berlin / Munich (dpa) - A controversy has flared up in the Union about the path to the chancellor candidate for CDU and CSU. From the point of view of CSU chief Markus Söder, the decision about the CDU chairmanship is not yet about the candidate for chancellor.
«The party presidency is one thing. But the other is the chancellor's candidacy, »he said on the ARD. This only works with the CSU. Söder opposed the appointment of a candidate for chancellor. It is about not destabilizing the federal government. "So there is no point in naming the candidate for chancellor, who will then lead a kind of secondary government."
A week ago, CDU chief Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer decided not to run for chancellor and said that, from her point of view, the party presidency and chancellor candidate should ultimately be in one hand again. She would therefore only remain the CDU chairman until the decision on the chancellor's candidature was made, and then "hand over the party office to the appropriate hands".
Söder warned against sending a Union chancellor candidate across the country for a year and a half before the general election. "If you want to harm this, you can do it," he said on the ARD program "Anne Will". He thinks it makes sense to first clarify the intra-party question. Of course, the candidates for the CDU leadership would also have to say “whether they are ready to chair the party, even if they don't become chancellor. Perhaps that already clears the candidate field ».
Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to hold talks with the three potential candidates for their successor at the CDU leadership this week. The most promising applicants are the former Union faction leader Friedrich Merz, the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet and Health Minister Jens Spahn.
Spahn and Laschet have so far not publicly commented on their ambitions. Merz also avoided making a definitive statement in public. From his immediate surroundings, however, it was said last Wednesday that he was determined to run for office. According to dpa information, Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to meet with Merz this Tuesday.
With a view to the chancellor candidacy, Söder emphasized: «Nothing has been decided. We have to assess the overall formation early next year. » This also applies to the strategic options and possible new constellations. "In any case, it is important to be serious now, to have a pace but not to rush." All three potential candidates for the CDU chair are “outstanding personalities”.
Already this Monday, the CSU board in Munich wants to deal with the crisis of the Union. Given the difficult situation of the sister party, the CSU fears that the Union will lose more in the coming elections - but also new unrest in the course of the search for a common candidate for chancellor.
Söder named a clear demarcation from the AfD as a central point for the reorganization of the Union. "This strategic question of direction has to be clarified first," he said. Anyone wishing to become a candidate for chancellor must make it very clear that there can be no cooperation with the AfD at all. You have to fight the AfD and you shouldn't let it secretly vote for you.
Söder warned of a “break” with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and “tactical games” with a view to the premature resignation of the head of government. This is against the will of the voters and is unworthy. In addition, there must be a Union program with a view to the Bundestag election, but it must not point to the past. It is not enough to say that you just do it as you did 20 years ago.
In the CDU, more and more top politicians are pressing for a team solution for the reorganization. Party deputy Thomas Strobl emphasized in the evening on ZDF that the CDU had “three excellent applicants”. "It could also be that in the next few days we will endeavor to form a team in which the strengths of all three applicants come into play," said the Baden-Württemberg CDU chief. Merz did not say from the outset that he would not join a team. The same applies to the other two potential applicants.
Deputy leader of the Union faction Katja Leikert warned of the risks of a fight for party leadership: "What is not possible is that the defeated camp, as after the election of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, undermines the authority of the new chairman three times a day," she said "Rheinische Post". "We can't afford such a circus a second time."
Federal Minister of Health Spahn also campaigned for joint and swift decisions. "There is a great need among our voters and our members that we regulate this as a team and with a lot of responsibility," he said in the evening on ARD. The CDU chairmanship and the candidate for chancellor of the Union should now be decided “quickly”.