Berlin, Germany (Weltexpress). After many years of experience as a member of the parliamentary group made up of the parties CDU and CSU in the Bundestag, I assume that no decision will be taken at the party congress on 7, December in Hamburg, which could have been seen as putting at an end the serious disputes within the party. The CDU has three candidates who are attacking each other already right before the decision-making of the Hamburg party congress. That is, the dispute and the crack runs through the Regional Conferences to which the CDU has called – in the midst of this candidacy.
Even exchanging one party leader against another in Hamburg at the Party Congress will no longer do for the CDU. The dispute between the candidates, which has already broken out, makes it clear that the strife in thorough will take place after the election of a chairwoman or a chairman. Whoever will be elected will stand in the midst of all the public headlights that will be focused on him or her in total. It is already clear which discussions there will be and they will tear the party apart, I assume.
The candidate Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer
First of all lets turn to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. Everyone in Germany assumes that she is the placeholder for Chancellor and party leader Angela Merkel, who is still in office. All the discussions that are already going on about Merkel and that will become even more dramatic as time goes by will then be unloaded over Kramp-Karrenbauer and therefore she will become the catalyst of a dispute in Germany that deals with the policy of the Chancellor.
The candidate Friedrich Merz
Talking of Friedrich Merz, dramatic discussion points result from his previous professional activity and from his function as president of the “Atlantik-Brücke”. There you can already see what’s coming. And one could already hear champagne corks fly back and forth between the party “Die Linke” under their chairman Bernd Riexinger and the female party leader of the SPD Andrea Nahles, because Merz, for all these reasons already mentioned, will be the favourite candidate of the Parties left of the centre – and not only them.
The candidate Jens Spahn
As far as the candidate Jens Spahn is concerned, it is very striking that the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia and regional leader of the local CDU, Armin Laschet, leaves no stone unturned to push the electoral chances of the candidate Spahn well below zero. This is striking because Laschet as party leader and head of state in Dusseldorf has already played the same vile game in the election of the CDU/CSU parliamentary leader Ralph Brinkhaus. Does Laschet not even in his dreams believe that the two will not pay him back when these arguments are over?
Incidentally, Laschet made it very clear that he does not participate in this election campaign because he assumes that he can only compete if the Chancellery and the party chairmanship are in one hand. The strategic situation, which we now have two weeks before the party conference in Hamburg, goes exactly in this direction.
The candidates who are currently in the running of the CDU will be the cause of tremendous annoyance after the election in Hamburg. That could arouse the interest of Armin Laschet to jump into the race himself at the last moment, when at the same time he can persuade the Federal Chancellor to give up the Federal Chancellery as well. The drama will increase, although you cannot see at the moment if Laschet jumps, but the set up of the whole controversy is exactly geared up to it.
But the refusal to talk, which the CDU under the leadership of the Federal Chancellor has practised towards the German population on the subject of migration, will tear the party apart. The CDU of Merkel strengthens “Die Grünen” and the AfD, weakens SPD and CDU/CSU. If Merkel remains chancellor and any one of the three candidates is elected in Hamburg, then that’s it.
The commentary above is an outcome of the answers given by Willy Wimmer in an exclusive interview to World Economy, which were first published on 26 November, 2018 in German as „K-Frage: eine Platzhalterin, ein Nordatlantiker, ein Chancenloser und ein Joker“.