It is not long ago that the Bavarian and North Rhine-Westphalian prime ministers had a serious crisis. That seems to be over. Now Söder and Laschet present a biography of the other.
No, he wouldn’t do that just for Armin Laschet. He would also do the same for Friedrich Merz, Norbert Röttgen or Jens Spahn, says Markus Söder on Wednesday at the start of the presentation of a biography about the NRW prime minister. He also talked to Armin Laschet about it, and he said, “Yes, I just have to say something good.”
“That doesn’t exist in Bavaria”
Book presentations tend to be bleak when political competitors get involved, especially when it comes to biographies, that is, when it comes to the human side of the top politicians. Söder and Laschet are doing that now. They introduce each other’s biography. The Bavarian Prime Minister’s first turn was Wednesday in the Meistersaal at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. Laschet will follow in a few weeks and will present a book about Söder.
That’s a very friendly biography, says the CSU boss on the Laschet biography on Wednesday, announcing in his case: “It doesn’t exist in Bavaria.” While reading, he was particularly amused “that he fell from his chair into the pool while on vacation and held up not the cell phone but the cigarillo”.
Not a member of the CSU fan club
He noted Laschet rather than criticized the CSU. In any case, he didn’t give the impression from the start that he was “a member of the CSU fan club,” says Söder. The Bavarian makes it clear that people have only slowly come to you. They also have different temperaments: “I’ll go ahead,” says Söder, leaving open in this case what he testifies to Laschet.
The differences between the two top politicians can be seen from the outside. Here the tall, physically present Markus Söder, there the lively Armin Laschet. Here the power-conscious, jovial Bavarian Prime Minister, there the NRW Prime Minister, who is seen as rather gentle and liberal. One Protestant from Nuremberg, the other Catholic from Aachen, who was on his way to visit the Pope in Rome at the time when Söder presented the biography.
Söder has to do with Merz
At the start of the Corona crisis, neither of them really worked. The taunts and accusations went both ways, too different from the views and measures they have taken in their country. Söder went ahead with some very tough measures, Laschet tried to find a balance between prohibition and relaxation. In the battle for the CDU presidency, competitors Laschets, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen were particularly pleased.
Berlin: Tobias Blasius (l-r), author, Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU), Moritz Küpper, author, and Jörg Quoos, editor-in-chief FUNKE Zentralredaktion, present the biography of Armin Laschet. (Source: Britta Pedersen / dpa)
It didn’t get better until after the Corona summer. Söder may have understood that if he constantly hits Laschet, he will end up at Merz as CDU chairman, and he probably wants that even less than Laschet.
Merkel wants to hand over an orderly union
Chancellor Angela Merkel could not be happy with these nicknames of the two. She wants to “hand over” an orderly CDU or Union in the coming election year. She has regained the status to influence through her management in the Corona crisis. In the summer, she visited both Söder and Laschet and showed her favor – Laschet probably slightly more than Söder.
The Prime Minister of Hesse, Volker Bouffier, had recently made an effort to smooth out the situation and Söder was indirectly asked to give in so you could understand.
Laschet probably won’t give in voluntarily
But Söder keeps all options open. For him, the bill can only turn out positively. He’s trying to do the best for Bayern, he says. That means, he wants to score as many points as possible in the battle for CDU presidency and candidate for chancellor – to strengthen the position of the CSU in Bavaria and in the federal government, as well as his own. Regardless of how the race for the candidacy for chancellor ends, if he doesn’t make any big mistakes, the strengthening of his party is already on the bright side.
Time and again he emphasizes that his place is in Bavaria. This should only change if Söder saw a real opportunity to become chancellor. But Laschet will not give in voluntarily as long as the polls for the CDU are that good.
Laschet will soon present the biography of Söder
For a CDU divided into camps after the election of the party chairman, values could quickly fall again, especially if the voters gradually see that Merkel is no longer running, but someone else. As Söder said, much of the approval was due to the crisis chancellor. With the polls falling, Söder probably won’t feel like running for chancellor either. Because the risk of defeat would be too great – and Söder calculates the risks extremely accurately.
And Laschet? Often underestimated, say the authors of his biography. In a few weeks he will present the new edition of a Söder biography. Let’s see what he has to say about his competitor.