In German politics, eyes turned to the congress where the new leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) will begin the election process.
The congress is held at a time when the question of “who will be the new prime minister” is seeking an answer 10 months before the general elections, as Angela Merkel, who has been the prime minister of Germany since 2005, has announced that she will not be a candidate again.
The congress of the CDU, which is also the major partner of the coalition in the government, will begin digitally on Friday evening. Saturday will end with a digital voting, after the speeches of three politicians who are candidates for leadership.
In 2018, after Merkel left the leadership of the CDU, CDU President Annegret Kramp Karrenbauer, who took this position, announced that he would leave the chairmanship in February last year, after intense criticism against him. The party then decided to hold an extraordinary convention on April 24. However, due to the Corona epidemic, the congress was first postponed to 4 December; then it was decided to do it in a virtual environment.
The most likely candidate to win is right-wing populist politician Frederich Mertz
For the leadership of the CDU, Friedrich Merz, who served as CDU / CSU Bundestag Group Chair for a term, North Rhine-Westphalia State Prime Minister Armin Laschet and former Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen will compete. Public opinion polls show Friedrich Merz, who is known for his right-wing populist rhetoric and harshly criticized Merkel for his liberal immigration policies, as the candidate with the highest chance of winning.
Having not been in active politics for 16 years, Merz served as the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the US investment company Blackrock. It is known that 62-year-old Merz advocates extremely conservative and neoliberal views and supports harsh policies regarding immigrants.
Saying that he does not directly reject cooperation with the right-wing populist Alternative Party for Germany (AfD) like Merkel, Merz demanded that the entry of new immigrants be restricted to Germany, and drew attention to his stance against Donald Trump before the US elections.
Known to be Merkel’s favorite for the CDU leadership, Armin Laschet is the prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, the country’s largest state. Known as “Turkish Armin” due to his proximity to Turkish immigrants, the 59-year-old Laschet lost support in public opinion polls due to the decisions he made and the decisions he made in the process of combating the Corona virus.
It is estimated that Merkel’s liberal immigration policies will continue in the event that Laschet is elected.
The candidate with the least chance is Norbert Röttgen
Norbert Röttgen, who served as the Federal Ministry of Environment in 2009-2012 and has been the Chairman of the Federal Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee since 2014, is the candidate who is thought to have the least chance. The political advantage of Röttgen, known for his liberal line, is that he expresses his support for his party to form a coalition with the Greens in the future and gains the support of the left wing of the CDU.
The conference will be held digitally for the first time
The CDU’s congress will be the first in German politics. In the congress, which will come together for the first time in digital environment, a total of 1001 delegates representing the organizations of CDU in 16 states of Germany will be connected to the digital general assembly meeting using their personal access code and will vote for the candidate they want to be the leader in the digital ballot boxes.
The first result will be gotten this way on Saturday. However, since the German election law stipulates that the votes should be given in writing, delegates will also send their votes by letter.
The new leader of the CDU will be finalized on January 22, after the votes received by letter are counted.
The chairman of the CDU is usually the candidate for prime minister of the union parties CDU and its partner Christian Social Union (CSU). In this respect, the name that will come to the leadership of the CDU will probably be a candidate for the prime minister’s seat to be vacated by Merkel. However, it is stated that CSU President and Bavarian State Prime Minister Markus Söder, who came to the forefront with his successful decisions and implementations during the Corona pandemic process, could also be a candidate for prime minister.
General elections in Germany, in which the members of the Bundestag and the new prime minister will be elected, will be held on 26 September.