Angela Merkel’s party has taken a new step in the succession of the Prime Minister, who will step down from German command in the second half of the year, after 16 years in power.
In a meeting with the German leader, the newly elected leader of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union), Armin Laschet, and the leader of the associated acronym CSU (Christian Social Union), Markus Söder, decided that they would challenge the nomination to run. for the Prime Minister of the country in the legislative elections of September 26.
Laschet, 59, would be the natural candidate to succeed Merkel at the head of the largest party. Until today, the party union has never competed with a CSU name. But Söder, 54, is by far the favorite among Germans for the job, both among those who declare their vote for the CDU-CSU and among voters in general.
Research carried out at the time of the CDU leadership election showed that 54% of those who already vote for Merkel’s party and 38% of those who choose other acronyms consider that it is with Söder that the The association has a better chance of obtaining victory in the elections.
Bavarian Prime Minister Söder has increased his popularity by maintaining control of the pandemic in his state and has managed to maintain it, while the CDU has lost part of its intention to vote since the second wave developed and vaccination has stagnated in Germany.
With 36% of voting intentions at the start of the year, the ruling union began to decline in February and reached in early April with 27%, according to polls. It is still the party that holds the largest share of the vote, but its distance to the finalist, the Green Party, has fallen from 17 percentage points to just 5.
Also rocked by scandals involving corrupt MPs buying masks during the coronavirus pandemic, the CDU was defeated last month in two important regional elections: in industrialized Baden-Würtemberg, it lost to the Green Party, and in Rhineland-Palatinate, to the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
The weakening of the CDU-CSU and the strengthening of opponents have increased the chances of reproducing, at the national level, the so-called “traffic lights” coalition which already rules in Rhineland-Palatinate – the name is an allusion to the green of the Green Party, red from the SPD and yellow from the Free Democrats (FDP).
Söder is said to be the name most likely to reverse this trend, according to a TV station poll released last week: 38% of Germans would vote for him as chancellor, while 17% would choose Laschet.
This means that the Bavarian governor would be the first most voted in general, while the leader of the CDU would run the risk of reaching second place, leaving the primacy of forming a government to another party.
Another figure that plays against Laschet is that of his approval in his own state. A poll by the public broadcaster WDR found that its popularity rose from 34% in January to 26% last week.
In an interview after the meeting, the CSU politician said the conversation was “friendly and open”, but further meetings will be held to decide who will take the chancellor position.
Most CDU politicians still maintain, at least publicly, their support for the candidacy of Laschet, who rules Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia.
In the same interview, Laschet said the acronyms were meant to quickly determine the candidate’s name. “Our aim is to achieve as much unity as possible between the CDU and the CSU, because there is a lot at stake,” he said.
The decision can be released this Monday (12), during a management meeting of the CDU.
WHO ARE CANDIDATES
Armin Laschet, 59 years old
Journalist, he is the head of the CDU and the current Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state in Germany. Catholic Center, as governor, he took the protection of the industry as a priority.
His handling of the pandemic was judged poor (public health is a state competence in Germany), and recent polls only give him 17% of the voting intentions for the chancellor. Laschet, however, embodies the continuity of Merkel’s politics and has vowed to work to keep the center and the conservative wing of her party together.
Current head of the CSU (“minority partner” of the CDU) and Prime Minister of Bavaria, he has been a law graduate and professional politician since 1994. At the start of Merkel’s ultra-conservative and critical attitude, he became a leader environmental and supporter of the Chancellor.
With increasing popularity, he is the candidate who most intends to vote for the prime minister of the country. To date, however, the CDU-CSU union has never disclosed a name for the Bavarian party to the Chancellor.