Who can become the new chairman of the ruling party in Germany
For now, it’s easier to say who the candidates are. Here, by and large, everything is simple. There are two real candidates. Two natives of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet and Friedrich Merz. Some people also name the current Minister of Health, Jens Spahn. Plus the head of the Bundestag committee, Norbert Röttgen. But neither Spahn nor Röttgen will compete with the first two. Although Spahn, under certain circumstances, can even apply for the post of future chancellor. But this is still the history of the future and it is too early to talk about it. In any case, there is no perfect choice.
The best choice for Angela Merkel herself could be her colleague Annegrett Kramp-Karrenbauer. Merkel became famous for breathing feminine breath into the CDU, giving this previously exclusively masculine party an indescribable feminine gloss. But the ACC, as Karrenbauer is shortly called, did not live up to the high confidence placed on it. This became apparent pretty quickly. In principle, one speech with a call to prohibit Russian warships somewhere in some waters was enough. Then there was another statement: to talk with Russia from a position of strength. At this point, everyone immediately remembered that the last time Germany tried to do this was in the 1940s.
But the final point in the chances of the ACC for the post of chancellor was put by the elections in Thuringia. The candidate from the Free Democrats won there, and the ACC, in the absence of Angela Merkel – she was in South Africa at the time – simply failed miserably. And then it became quite clear to her party members that the next boss of the party, and at the same time the chancellor of Germany, would be a man. But still what?
The name of Jens Spahn is heard by many in Germany, because he is the main fighter against the pandemic in Germany. In general, the guy is not bad, only … there is a small nuance. Spahn is an open homosexual living legally married to a man. And this somehow does not fit with the very name of the party to which he belongs. True, the CDU has long ceased to be a Christian party, being reborn as moderate liberals. Still, Spahn has the least chance of the main trio.
The second candidate, Armin Laschet, is the prime minister of the most populous federal German state, and at the same time the candidate of the party establishment could suit many. Here one could even say – all or almost all … except for the USA. The fact is that Laschet is a party functionary closely associated with a large national industrial lobby. And this lobby did not like to lose millions and even billions of euros due to anti-Russian sanctions. Germans are a very practical nation, which tends to seek benefits, to feel this benefit, asking the question: what will it give us? Based on this, Laschet has always acted from a pragmatic position in everything, including in relation to Russia. But the practical patriot is least of all satisfied with such a player in the German political arena as the United States.
The American choice is Friedrich Merz. A middle-aged 65-year-old politician, five years older than Laschette, he has never hidden his pro-American sympathies. And this is an important trump card. But do the Americans have enough influence to carry out an undercover special operation within the CDU, to bring Merz to power? This is perhaps the main intrigue of the upcoming elections of the new party leader of the CDU. Most likely not enough.
There are enough forces in the CDU that do not want to be the European branch of either the Republican or the Democratic Party of the United States. And not only in the CDU. The other day, the former chief of the German Ministry of Internal Affairs Thomas de Mezieres spoke in favor of Armin Laschet’s candidacy. He called on the delegates of the congress to elect Lashet. And the authority of de Mezieres in the ranks of the CDU is high.
The election of Lashet will allow the party to resolve several fundamental issues at once. The first is to find a consensus with the Bavarian CSU. The second is to avoid conflict with Merkel, who loathes Friedrich Merz. Merz’s closeness to the US leadership, which he considered to be his trump card, now that the United States has been largely discredited after recent well-known events, is psychologically working against him.