Presidency in the CDU: Mertz, Lasch and Retgen in a parallel world

Presidency in the CDU: Mertz, Lasch and Retgen in a parallel world

B.if the policy consisted only of the organization, the Union would win all federal elections over the next 30-50 years – with an absolute majority. While parliamentary committees are still unable to manage virtual meetings in the sixth month of the pandemic, and the chancellor is also battling sound issues when briefing reporters via video, the party’s young people hosted an American-sized event Saturday night amid crown rules.

Right next to the Brandenburg Gate in a representative building in the middle of political Berlin, funded by a dozen major corporations and companies broadcast live on television, Armin Lache, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Retgen enter their first direct confrontation. There is half of the capital’s press, the rest have not received a single coveted ticket and are watching from home: No wonder, in the end, the question of who will be the next chairman of the CDU and thus possibly a candidate for chancellor is not answered but asked.

The matadors arrive fifteen minutes before the start. Well, they stand in front of a wall where you can see lawyers watching “shows” at home on their screens and holding iPhones with their hearts or clapping their hands to confirm their approval. From time to time there is a switch to the adjoining room, where “three girls-fans and Mr. Lost” evaluate the candidates’ performance in a general apartment atmosphere: “Well, do you still want a photo with Friedrich Mertz?”

Three candidates on stage

Source: AFP / MICHAEL KAPPELER

None of the three gentlemen, among whom the oldest is 64 years old (Mertz) and the youngest is 55 years old (Retgen), succumbs to the temptation to rush cheaply to his descendants. They’re in a suit and shirt, in a Mertz jacket even gold buttons, eventually Retgen appeared with an open collar. Robert Habeck would certainly have come in a hoodie, and Annalena Burbock in “Chucks,” but here at JU, other rules apply.

JU as a conservative intra-party opposition

The favorite of the party youth is not only the oldest, but also the most conservative candidate in the general reading: Mertz. Because the JV – in previous generations of the CDU – a permanent bank of reformers who turned the CDU’s honorary party into a real people’s party – during the Merkel years it became a conservative intra-party opposition.

After his election a year and a half ago, its chairman, Tillman Kuban, complained about the “compliance” of the parent party under Merkel. She pays him by critically asking the board of directors, which once a year is appointed for admission to the office, why so few women. Following the last nationwide election, the European elections in May 2019, an internal analysis by Conrad-Adenauer-House stated that the “alleged” shift to the right of the “JV” was partly to blame for the Union being open only to those under 30 years of age. 13 percent came.

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This evening “right” or “conservative” – nothing. Young women wear jeans, men wear white sneakers, and some wear a shirt with pants. They speak in jargon, which should sound like an advertising agency and a startup: “step” is listening to candidates, questions that are added come from “users”, and later that evening, when Retgen asks the police to actually prosecute the crimes, the moderator is satisfied. he’s “a real hard cookie.”

At a meeting at the party’s headquarters three weeks ago, the candidates promised not to harm each other. Accordingly, one needs to listen carefully to detect any differences. But there is.

“That can’t be true!” Mertz says

Armin Lashe introduces himself as a candidate for “So continue”. The Chancellor and the CDU have ruled for twenty years, so it cannot be said that everything is bad. In his introductory speech, he repeats the rhetorical figure seven times: “I will do it.” Its future scenario for Germany is the present government of North Rhine-Westphalia. The CDU runs the SDP, fights the bureaucracy with “evacuation packages”, is already following the clans, schools even have WiFi and high-speed Internet. And in his parliamentary group in Dusseldorf, he received at least eight members of the JV.

Quite differently than Mertz: “This country has become too slow. We have become lazy. “Germany lives at the expense of the future, including the youth. He wants to change that. Even in his first government statement it was said that the burden would no longer shift. German companies have proven themselves in a pandemic, but the administration and schools do not. There are 14 different regulations in the federal government on the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation – “this should not be true!”

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While Lachet essentially doesn’t want any changes, Mertz is committed to them, Ratgen has a third story: change will come anyway, whether you want it or not. The “gap of the epoch” is approaching: “Neither the country nor the CDU is adequately prepared for the future.” The chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag refers primarily to the geopolitical changes he only anticipates, and to technological changes: Estonia In digital terms, Germany is already 20 years ahead of Germany.

Digitization is the dominant and for a long time almost the only theme of the event. The main problem with Junge Unioner is that the dead spots will finally be closed, each student will receive an iPad and that you can finally register your car digitally. The candidates are beating each other: a “digital ministry” should be introduced in the federal government, says Lachet, who already exists in his northwestern region. Mertz believes that a digital ministry should also be a “ministry ministry” with all the responsibilities. But Retgen has come up with the best: there has to be a “digital digital ministry”. After all, it’s important to set a good example.

Questions like from a parallel world

At some point, both moderators and related “users” start asking questions outside of technology, but it seems they don’t come from Germany, which is suffering from a crown pandemic, and not from the “Friday to the Future” generation, but from a parallel world. No one cares whether the prime minister reluctantly prevented the chancellor from setting tougher rules last week. Or, conversely, whether Merkel is not too one-sided on the number of infections and exaggerates the risk. No one is asking the CDU a clear question as to who, as party chairman, is considering leaving Chancellor candidate Armin Lashe. Or how he wants to govern with the “greens” as chancellor.

When the problem of climate change arose late in the evening, Lachet said that CO2 emissions had already been reduced by 36 percent – compared to 1990. Retgen and Merz praise emissions trading as a market tool – but it was introduced ten years ago. Here, no one wants to know whether Germany should impose CO2 in the future and how much. Not even for the candidates to support the tariffs on imports, which are hostile to the climate, which is what the EU is talking about now.

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If a 25-year-old presenter wants to know when he can retire, Lasha must first laugh. He then bypasses the answer because he does not want to issue a headline that he is for a higher retirement age. Mertz believes that everyone should retire if they want to. Retgen dared to be honest: “It won’t stay at the current age of legal retirement. We need to increase that to stay reliable. ”

In their closing remarks, the candidates show what they want to impress on the party’s congress on December 4: the CDU must “remain the center party,” Lache says. The CDU must “become the party of the modern center,” Retgen demands. He doesn’t want a “break” with the Merkel era, Merz says, but now a “new responsibility”.

Of the 100,000 lawyers, 70,000 are also in the CDU. They are now allowed to vote for two weeks on who they think will be the best next chairman. In fact, only 100 vote. That’s how many of the 1001 delegates to the party congress belong to the youth organization.

Robin Alexander

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