Friedrich Merz has already passed the first test by combining party and parliamentary group chairmanship in one hand.

It's a sign that he doesn't see himself as a temporary solution, and it's the best way to draw the opposition leader's attention to himself.

Even before the election to succeed Ralph Brinkhaus, Merz had made it clear that he saw himself as the chancellor's direct opponent.

The next test is whether he can, against all odds, bring about what is often referred to as the rule, namely that state elections that follow the federal election put a damper on the governing parties.

Until recently, the CDU and CSU did not give the impression that they were able to bring about this turnaround in such a short time.

Profiting from government mistakes

But the polls flatter Merz.

His election as party chairman has stopped the collapse of the Union, the election as parliamentary group chairman promises even more momentum.

For the time being, the largest opposition party is benefiting primarily from the government's mistakes.

Ukraine, Corona, inflation are keywords that do not exactly stand for a clear course.

The CDU and CSU, however, do not shine with resolute counter-proposals.

Merz will have to do more than work on the chancellor.

It would be fatal for him if Scholz, on which he is working hard, became for the CDU what Merkel was for the SPD.