These are exciting days for political Berlin: On Monday, the Green Party executive will announce whether it will Annalena Baerbock or Robert Habeck in the race for chancellorship. And by this Sunday, the competitors themselves have announced that they want to be able to do so too CDU-Chef Armin Laschet and Christian Social Union-Chef Markus Söder agree which of them will run as the Union's top candidate. It could be a long Sunday evening.
Even a recent quote from Annalena Baerbock makes it clear what differentiates the choice of candidates in both parties. Unlike others, the Greens adhere to the agreed procedure, said Baerbock: “What applies before also applies afterwards. And that's why we will announce all these decisions on Monday. "
While the Greens exude such discipline, the Union seems on the verge of tearing itself apart. The bitter dispute as to whether Laschet or Söder would be the better candidate has let the CDU and CSU revolve around themselves for days.
And even on Sunday morning, after supposedly “good” or “constructive” talks between the rivals, it is unclear what Laschet and Söder will do when their deadline expires: will they announce a final decision? Or do they postpone their power struggle and let representatives of both parties vote?
"Otherwise there is a risk of trenches being opened"
The latter demanded on Saturday, for example, CDU board member Christian Baldauf, He spoke out in favor of including the district chairperson in the decision. If the chancellor question is not resolved immediately, a digital nationwide conference of district chairmen will be needed, "Baldauf told SPIEGEL. It is important to collect a broad opinion in the area "and to hear the message of the grassroots".
Carsten Linnemann, the deputy chairman of the Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag, warned of a different scenario for resolving the conflict. "What we need now is a joint solution and not a fight vote in the parliamentary group," said Linnemann, who supports Armin Laschet. "Otherwise there is a risk of opening up trenches that will be difficult to fill again."
Friedrich Merz had also described a vote in the parliamentary group as "the worst of all possible options." "Come to an agreement," Merz appealed to Laschet and Söder.
Plans for a "German Council of the Union"
The deputy head of the CDU social wing, Christian Bäumler, brought an arbitration into the discussion, as a possible mediator he named the »Handelsblatt« Wolfgang Schäuble, Volker Bouffier, Edmund Stoiber and Theo Waigel. For future decisions on candidates for chancellor, Bäumler called for a new body, a "common, democratically legitimized decision-making body that reflects the strengths of both parties."
Bäumler envisions a "German Council of the Union". Representatives of both parties elected by the respective party congresses should nominate the candidate for chancellor and decide on the program. "The CDU / CSU parliamentary group is not this organ because too many individual interests run riot there," says Bäumler.
How tense the situation in the Union is, how many scenarios are mentally played out, are also shown by other speakers. Dennis Radtke, for example, a CDU politician from North Rhine-Westphalia, was verbally prepared for an escalation of the dispute that currently seems far away. Founding the CDU in Bavaria should "no longer be a taboo," said Radtke to ZDF - at least not "if Söder wants to force the candidacy for chancellor, if he wants to destroy the CDU".
For decades it has actually been true that the CDU and CSU do not want to compete with one another. The CSU therefore does not take part in elections outside of Bavaria, the CDU is not active in Bavaria.
Parts of the CDU also favor Söder
Karin Prien, Schleswig-Holstein's education minister, is one of the CDU politicians who are now portraying Söder as a threat to party peace. She, who is also a member of the federal executive committee of the CDU, wrote on Twitter that "the disrespectful, inconsiderate actions of the CSU and Markus Söder" will "not remain without consequences."
The former CDU boss Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer Söder accused meanwhile of a lack of respect for the big sister party and its bodies.
But not only in the CSU, but also in the CDU, there are supporters of Söders who see in him and especially his survey results the best chance for the Union to do well in the federal elections. The CDU state chairman of Thuringia, Christian Hirte, spoke out indirectly in favor of Söder. Laschet and Söder were commissioned by the party bodies and the parliamentary group to bring about an agreement, said Hirte. "The wish of the majority of voters and the CDU is obvious."
The chairman of the senior citizens' union of the CDU, Otto Wulff, holds against CDU boss Laschet. "I do not believe in making politics on the basis of daily opinions or choosing the candidate for chancellor according to the surveys," said Wulff.
Is Söder speculating on a vote by the parliamentary group?
The top bodies of the CDU and CSU each stood behind their party leaders at the beginning of last week. On Tuesday, Laschet and Söder appeared in the parliamentary group, where there were dozens of requests to speak - more in favor of Söder than for Laschet, according to participants. Both then promised an understanding by the end of the week.
In CDU circles it was suspected on Saturday that Söder could actually speculate on a decision in the Union parliamentary group next Tuesday. A list of signatures is allegedly already being prepared among his supporters, with which MPs want to force a vote if an agreement is not reached at the weekend.
Both Laschet and other CDU top politicians had already refused the faction to make the decision. On the one hand, a number of members of the Bundestag are leaving the Bundestag. On the other hand, Armin Laschet pointed out that there were many candidates for the Bundestag who did not even belong to the current parliamentary group.
For the political competition, the power struggle in the Union is a welcome template, which not only Annalena Baerbock took up at the weekend. Also SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich accused the Union of neglecting corona policy during the debate on the candidate for chancellor. the »Bild am Sonntag« he said, “It's really terrifying what our coalition partner is up to. Day after day, the CDU and CSU frivolously mess around with their internal dispute over power and vanity instead of worrying about the important things. "
mbö / dpa / Reuters