The race for the CDU presidency will be decided in January, but the new party leader is not automatically a candidate for chancellor. Wolfgang Schäuble and Armin Laschet think this is conceivable.
Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) and NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet consider it possible that the Union candidate for chancellor comes from the CSU. The number of candidates for the candidacy for chancellor is manageable, and it could be “someone from the CSU”, Schäuble said in an interview with the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”.
“Every CDU president must be qualified to become a chancellor candidate and chancellor – and want to,” Schäuble added. ‘But it could also be someone else. Franz Josef Strauss and Edmund Stoiber of the CSU were also known as candidates for chancellor. ‘ Unlike the election of the CDU presidency two years ago, Schäuble has not committed to any of the candidates. In 2019 he supported the candidacy of Friedrich Merz (CDU) to succeed Angela Merkel at the top of the party. Merz then lost to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
Laschet: Candidate for chancellor is not just based on surveys
Laschet also does not rule out CSU boss Markus Söder as a candidate for chancellor. “We will discuss this together,” said Laschet presenting a new edition of a biography on Söder. “I think that a CDU chairman should also show respect for the sister party that they say in principle: both are conceivable. The two praesidia will make a proposal together. This has always been the case in recent years,” said Laschet. “And if a CDU chairman were to rule out the possibility of a CSU chairman, that’s not part of the fairness we need,” Laschet stressed.
Laschet is applying for the CDU presidency alongside former Union party leader Friedrich Merz and foreign politician Norbert Röttgen and is therefore considered a potential candidate for chancellor. “First of all, the Union candidate for chancellor will be the one we all think has the greatest chance of winning,” said Laschet. But this shouldn’t be measured solely by the surveys. “We just saw: Markus Söder’s studies were once the worst in Germany, now they are the best. Surveys fluctuate back and forth.”
Farewell to a “strong chancellor”
The CDU wants to decide on the next chairman during a digital party conference in mid-January. In the FAZ interview, Schäuble now advocates making the decision about the candidate for chancellor as late as possible. That should happen next year “between Easter and Pentecost”. Pentecost is at the end of May and the general elections take place at the end of September. Schäuble justified his recommendation to wait as long as possible to determine the candidate for chancellor by saying it would be difficult for a candidate to stand up alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).
Whoever that becomes should ensure that the time next to “such a strong chancellor” does not take too long, Schäuble said. As Chancellor Merkel is “so strong that there is little room for political leadership in the Union alongside her”.
The next CDU leader will be determined in January at a digital party conference with a subsequent vote by mail.