What is the next step in the Union – and above all: with whom? The idea of first electing a transitional chairman without ambitions to become a chancellor does not meet with approval everywhere. In return, parliamentary group vice-chairman Frei is now calling for the party base to have a greater say.
Before the deliberations of the top CDU bodies, there were increasing calls for greater involvement of the party base. “With the reorganization of the CDU leadership we have to seriously discuss how the members of the party get more say,” said Union faction vice Thorsten Frei to the newspapers of the Funke media group. Conferences with the grassroots were not enough. “A membership vote on the party chairmanship has potential, but it also involves risks,” Frei continued. Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble had spoken out against a member survey, among other things with the reference to influencing opinion polls.
For the upcoming deliberations, Frei urges prudence. “Neither a broken dish nor a complete replacement of the party leadership overnight will help with a” fresh start, “he told the Funke newspapers. “It is clear that the CDU must be able to act quickly with a team at the top that also has support from the party base.”
Lower Saxony’s CDU leader Bernd Althusmann is promoting a special party conference “in December if possible, but in January at the latest”. He was also open to a say in the party base: “If several candidates are proposed, we need a much stronger involvement of all party members than in the past,” he told the editorial network Germany (RND).
Laschet’s last big job
Still-party leader Armin Laschet wants to submit a plan for a special party congress to the presidium and board on Monday, at which the party leadership could be filled. He strives for an amicable solution without personnel disputes. Laschet had stated that the goal was “that we should make a fresh start with new personalities”. It is eagerly awaited to what extent the plans include the party base in the reorganization of the CDU. Laschet should moderate the renewal of the party, said CDU interior state secretary and previous NRW state group leader Günter Krings the RND. “This is now his last big job as federal chairman”.
The suggestion of one Interim chairman, which was brought into play by Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister of Education Karin Prien, among others, meanwhile does not meet with approval everywhere. The legal advisor of the Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Ansgar Heveling, told the Funke newspapers that a “transitional chairmanship” was “the wrong way”. The Union does not need a “trustee”, it needs “a party leadership that quickly ensures the content-related profile as a Christian Democratic people’s party,” said Heeling.
Krings also spoke out against a transitional party leader. The CDU should “not elect anyone whom we do not trust in this position,” Krings told the RND. A CDU chairman must always be fit for chancellor. “We should still have that much self-confidence right now.” Heveling followed suit. The CDU should organize a federal party congress “as soon as possible” in order to be “ready with a new top and powerfully both for rather unlikely coalition negotiations and to act as a powerful opposition,” he told the Funke newspapers.