Conservative alternative due to higher AfD? Merz-CDU chooses a different path – the world

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DrReaction to the district election in Sonneberg, Thuringia, was surprisingly mild in the federal CDU. Although an AfD applicant, Robert Stallman, received the most votes (46.7 percent) and the CDU candidate Jürgen Kuper got only 35.7 percent. CDU General Secretary Mario Zaga remains calm. Zaga believes that if they do not, they will not choose Germany’s first district manager in favor of the Alternative for Germany in the next run-off.

Voters had to hand out their note on the first ballot; Pollsters have repeatedly predicted in recent years that the AfD will conquer a major municipal office in the east. It always came out differently, Zaga says. At least so far.

Sonneberg Runoff Elections: Potential first AfD district governor in Germany

In the district elections in Sonneberg, Thuringia, AfD politician Robert Stallmann was nearly elected as Germany’s first district administrator for the AfD with 46.7 percent of the vote. A run-off election against CDU candidate Jürgen Koepper, who received 35.7 percent of the vote, is scheduled for June 25.

Source: WELT / Lena Mosel, Jens Reupert

It is not unimportant to the Secretary-General’s optimism that the other parties – alarmed by the AfD’s huge popularity and success in Sunday’s elections – have formed a broad coalition and are now calling for the election of the Christian Democrats. In the end, this could block the candidate of the AfD, whose party has been classified by the Thuringian Office for the Protection of the Constitution “right-wing extremist” Listed, it goes to the district office, and the CDU uses that. But it also shows that the CDU needs the help of all parties, even the left, to stand a chance of winning the election. It clearly shows the weakness of the Christian Democrats, especially in the East.

The AfD almost won

AfD candidate Rainer Gala received 47.6 percent in the runoff in the Oder Spree region

The temptation will be palpable to make the conservative move many are calling for, especially in the eastern state leagues. To sharpen the image of the bourgeoisie and show a “clear advantage”, as many supporters in the CDU demanded from the party leader Friedrich Merz after the reign of former Chancellor Angela Merkel. Therefore, to move a little farther to the right, so that there is less room for the AfD, which has been on the rise in nationwide polls for weeks.

It can be tempting to decide on an anti-AfD platform in order to gain votes that the federal CDU finally overcomes the 30 percent hurdle in the polls. But Czaja and Carsten Linnemann, chair of the CDU’s core committee, shake their heads when they discuss further plans for New party programme He presents. The strategy against the AfD looks very different.

Demoscope Manfred Gollner

Manfred Gollner, 81, is managing director of the Institute for Opinion Research

Prime chance in the AfD poll is high

For months now, the party led by Linenemann has been working on a new platform, the fourth since the CDU was founded. Regional conferences were held to capture the countries’ popular views. Members interviewed. On Friday and Saturday there will be a small caucus and caucus, which will again be about the program.

If all goes according to plan, it will have passed through all committees in May next year and will be decided at the federal party conference – that is, a few months before State elections 2024 in Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia. The federal states in which the AfD is increasing sharply in the polls ranges from 24 to 32 percent depending on the state.

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CDU leader Friedrich Merz

Thus, the whole process of finding the software is very slow for some. “Now we have to say what the CDU stands for, we need answers now,” said the CDU’s federal executive director. One of them says: “In any case, people do not vote according to the party program, which, anyway, rarely anyone reads.” who votes for the alternative Do this in protest, not out of conviction; He now wants solutions to current problems.

Worrying about making compromises too soon

But Secretary General Zaga and Director of Policy Linnemann do not want to let themselves go. Especially from AfD. They want to fundamentally reorganize the party.

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CDU leader Friedrich Merz (left), Ruben Alexander

Content reorganization

Six years worked on the party platform with which Helmut Kohl began reorganizing the CDU in the early 1970s. He worries that “compromises will be made too soon and the program will be diluted” if a hasty shot is taken now under the impression of AfD’s current high flight, says General Secretary Zaga. And party leader Frederik Merz, whose strengths don’t necessarily include patience and who “leads the party as tightly as a company sometimes,” as a participant in the party’s recent retreat in Cadenabia in northern Italy reported, lets his general secretary and chief commander do as they please.

Merz wants to distinguish the CDU more clearly from traffic light parties by remaining electable or becoming electable for all segments of the population, from basic income recipients to higher income earners. By making the party as broad as possible in content, and cultivating all subjects. And – also from an AfD perspective – it focuses on areas of policy that people particularly care about: a better and more affordable health care system, the best possible school and training conditions, containing inflation, a secure energy supply, and tougher. Control of immigration. “We need concepts and answers for a whole range of topics. 35 percent the next day Federal elections That should be our goal, and that’s how we can achieve it,” says Lineman.

Party leader Merz faces the dilemma that the CDU is less programmatic than the Social Democrats or the Greens and does not operate through individual points of government responsibility, as the Social Democrats, for example, like to do. But the party needs to be reorganized after the bitter defeat in the federal elections. Members and potential voters must once again know “where we want to go,” Schleswig-Holstein Prime Minister Daniel Gunther told WELT AM SONNTAG.

Read the WamS interview here

Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein Daniel Gunther (CDU), 49

Daniel Gunther for AfD-Hoch

A slogan like “You know me” for Merkel is not enough for Merz – not least because he has not been ruling and leading the party since only the beginning of last year.

He has to make sure that what Lineman calls “the empty space” is filled: the The objective void of the party, which was one of the main reasons for the defeat of the 2021 elections. He must ensure that the CDU’s “fading image”, says Zaga, is renewed – without trying to lure AfD voters away by shifting to the right. For what one may gain on the right margin, he will lose in the middle of society through this cycle.

Robin Alexander

Photo by author DIE WELT Robin Alexander

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