Berlin (dpa) – CSU boss Markus Söder has called on the Union to present itself as a progressive force in the federal election campaign.
“If we, as the Union, want to keep the claim to leadership, we have to develop an idea for the future after the federal elections,” the Bavarian Prime Minister told the editorial network in Germany. “We need a triad: liberalism with a clear demarcation of the AfD, modernity with technology and digitization as well as a sustainable ecologically conservative climate policy.”
Söder reiterated his assessment that the good results currently obtained by the Union in the investigation are mainly due to Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). For him it follows: “We should, like Helmut Kohl and Franz Josef Strauss in their time and like Angela Merkel now, embrace social developments and shape the politics of tomorrow.” In this way, the Union becomes a “future political team” and can maintain its claim to leadership.
In response to requests from the ranks of the CDU to apply for the Union’s candidacy for chancellor, Söder said: “My place is in Bavaria”. A majority of Bavarians want him to stay in the country, according to a new survey. “I take this very seriously.” He is convinced that the CDU and CSU will jointly reach a good solution on the issue of the candidate for chancellor. Söder told Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), who is seen as the new party leader by some CDU politicians: “I like him too.”
Saxony Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU), meanwhile, believes Söder has ambitions for a candidate for chancellor. When asked if Söder really only saw his place in Bavaria and had no desire to run for chancellor, Kretschmer replied to the “Rheinische Post”: “No, I don’t think so.” However, he stressed: “The CDU is already the biggest part of this party family and has personalities who are good at it.” Now you have to see: “Who will reach the most people, who is fortunate enough to implement the topics that have been worked out together?”
Spahn has made it clear on Deutschlandfunk that he will not be running for CDU presidency but, as announced, will support NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet. “Mr. Laschet and I decided to make an offer to the party as a team, and for good reason well thought out,” Spahn said on Saturday. Besides, he gets the impression that citizens just wanted to talk about a lot of things, “but not for months now on personnel matters”.
From the point of view of the leader of the CDU Hamburg parliamentary group, Dennis Thering, the new CDU president does not necessarily have to be the Union’s next candidate for chancellor. “Personally, I could also imagine a Chancellor Söder,” he told the German news agency. At the same time, he also paid tribute to Spahn. “Jens Spahn and Markus Söder have proven in the corona pandemic that they are good crisis managers,” said Thering. “You have been instinctive and confident. We need it now.” Laschet, on the other hand, “made some unfortunate decisions”.
The CDU wants to elect a new president at his party’s conference in December. So far, Laschet, former Union parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz and foreign politician Norbert Röttgen have applied. Spahn wants to compete as a partner of Laschet. In recent days, politicians in the Baden-Württemberg Union have openly campaigned for Spahn to become the new boss of the CDU. They appealed to Laschet, Merz and Röttgen to drop their candidacy in favor of Spahn. Söder, on the other hand, leads the polls on the chancellor candidate.
At the SPD, Bavarian State President Natascha Kohnen campaigned for Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz to run for Chancellor. “I know Olaf Scholz as smart and level-headed, and he has indicated he can,” she told the German news agency in Munich. First, party chairmen Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans are expected to discuss this issue, “after that, a joint team decision is needed”.
Whether the SPD should even present a candidate for chancellor given the low polls of just 14%, Kohnen said. “Yes, of course we need it. Polls are changing rapidly today.” In addition, there will no longer be a “Merkel bonus” for the Union in the federal elections next year. “It will be a completely open race. The Corona crisis has changed a lot, Scholz has gained a lot of respect over the years.”