In Germany, the great dismay of the conservatives

A month after their debacle in the parliamentary elections of September 26, the German Christian Democrats agree on one point: their party, the CDU, needs to reinvent itself. But if the word ” renovation “ is on everyone’s lips, opinions diverge when it comes to specifying its outlines. The meeting of the party’s 353 section secretaries, scheduled for Saturday, October 30 in a hotel in central Berlin, should illustrate this.

Main item on the agenda: the method of appointing the next president of the CDU. Since Armin Laschet, unsuccessful candidate for Angela Merkel’s succession to the chancellery, announced his withdrawal on October 7, two camps have clashed. On the one hand, those who plead for consultation of all 399,000 members; on the other, those who wish to stick to the usual procedure, the election of the president by the 1,001 party delegates (executives and elected officials), meeting in congress.

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For the former, the results of the legislative elections prove that more internal democracy is needed. According to them, the defeat could have been avoided if the leadership of the CDU had nominated as the common candidate of the conservative right the Bavarian Markus Söder (Christian Social Union in Bavaria, CSU), much more popular than Armin Laschet with the members and sympathizers. “You can’t win an election with a candidate people don’t want”, explains Sylvia Pantel, one of 49 Conservative MPs who lost their seats on September 26. For her, consulting the members on the choice of the future president of the CDU is a necessity. «La force d’un people’s party [parti populaire] like ours, it is to have large troops to campaign. But if they don’t feel heard, it’s hard to count on them. “

For their part, supporters of the traditional procedure put forward a practical argument: getting all members to vote is, in their eyes, longer to organize than a simple congress, because this implies in particular the holding of debates between the members. candidates in different regions of the country. However, according to them, the political calendar of the coming months does not lend itself to this. “We must move quickly to get the party back on its feet in order to be ready for the three regional elections which will take place in spring 2022 [dans la Sarre, le Schleswig-Holstein et la Rhénanie-du-Nord-Westphalie]. This is why I think it is a bad idea to consult the members ”, explains Dennis Radtke, MEP and vice-president of the Christian Democratic Workers’ Association (CDA), the “social” wing of the CDU.

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In Germany, the great dismay of the conservatives