Premier warns candidates not to ‘splash’

Corona crisis management has given the Union a high level of polling. Now the Saarland Prime Minister Hans warned of an internal dispute over the party presidency.

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Saarlands Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) has warned the Union against wrecking its current good poll ratings in the summer gap with debates over the party presidency. “The last thing we need now is for the candidates to disintegrate in the party’s internal election campaign,” Hans said in Berlin. That is why he is very much in favour of Armin Laschet, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen meeting as soon as possible.

“Planning for the coming week and months”

The three will then be able to “consult with each other on the current situation and plan for the coming weeks and months,” said Hans, who is also a member of the executive board of the CDU, the party’s closest leader. Then they could go into the summer that is well matched.

“But current poll ratings for the Union, which are really good, should not lead us to believe that such poll ratings will automatically get election results – regardless of who we compete with,” Hans said. “That’s why we have to remember what has always made us strong, beyond the ratings. That was the unity of the party when it comes to the elections.”

Tobias Hans (CDU), Prime Minister of Saarland (Source: Oliver Dietze/dpa)

According to Hans, a meeting of the North Rhine-Westphaalse Prime Minister Laschet, the economic politician Merz and the foreign policy expert Röttgen could take place under the moderation of the incumbent party chairman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. “This would be very important to shape the period and procedure up to the party congress.”

In the Union there is a debate behind closed doors about whether there is still a role swap in Team Laschet-Spahn – and federal Health Minister Jens Spahn is running instead of Laschet as CDU leader. Background is laschet’s declining popularity ratings during the Corona pandemic and its poor values on the chancellor candidacy issue compared to the CSU leader and Bavarian head of government Markus Söder. Laschet said Chillreport: “Jens Spahn and I have thought a lot together about what the party needs, how to lead the CDU well and keep it together. And in doing so, we found a consensus to go together as a team in this league. That hasn’t changed.’ Read the full interviewn here.

Spahn had also made a statement about the team solution with Laschet in a “mirror” interview.

Laschet and Spahn have “jointly decided” to compete

The CDU wants to choose a successor to Kramp-Karrenbauer at the party congress in Stuttgart in early December. The CSU demands that Söder should speak out about his own chancellor’s ambitions before the CDU’s party congress is rejected. “The CDU must first clarify its leadership question. After that we will talk about who will lead the Union in the Bundestag elections,” CSU member of parliament Max Straubinger told the Passauer Neue Presse (Saturday). Söder himself had previously discussed a clarification in January 2021. Straubinger said: “Markus Söder does not have to explain himself in advance. The nervousness in the Camp-Merz is of course great.” The demand for an early declaration by Söder was made by the deputy leader of the Union Group, Carsten Linnemann.

“Don’t waste the great good of unity”

Prime Minister Hans warned: “It is very important that we as the CDU know that it is a matter of choosing a new party leader in December.” Of course, the CDU has “made the claim to be the candidate for chancellor.” But first and foremost, “there is a will in the CDU to come out of the party congress in a closed way and then not waste the great good of unity between the CDU and the CSU.”

It is therefore very important to act on all these issues in direct coordination with sister party CSU. “The members of the CDU expect this as well,” hans said. Laschet told the Passauer Neue Presse: “We will discuss the chancellor’s candidacy with the CSU and will certainly resolve it by mutual agreement when it is due.”

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