When the governing bodies of the CDU meet on Mondays, the public is informed afterwards. If it is a matter of routine meetings, the Secretary General usually takes care of it. If there are more important things to talk about, the chairperson will take care of it. The meetings of the presidium and the board of directors on this Monday belonged to the category particularly important. Because the CDU wanted to make fundamental decisions on how to deal with their defeat in the federal election. When the press conference began in the early afternoon, more than half an hour late, Secretary General Paul Ziemiak came alone. When asked where the chairman Armin Laschet was, he only replied that it was “customary” for the general secretary to provide information after the committee meetings.
Ziemiak had important things to say. The federal party’s executive board, which was only elected in January of this year for the usual two-year term, will be completely redefined after half that time. The forty or so members who determine the course of the CDU with their decisions between the party congresses can run again. Ziemiak made it clear, however, that Laschet would not run again.
District Chairpersons Conference on October 30th
The CDU leadership seems to be largely unanimous on one point. After the board of directors elected Laschet, who was unsuccessful in the election and without further participation of the party, in a very controversial night session in April with a majority, but not unanimously, the party now wants to be more involved in personnel policy decisions. How exactly is still unclear.
Ziemiak reported that a district chairperson’s conference will initially help clarify this on October 30th. The aim here is to discuss whether there will be a member survey. The statutes of the CDU allow this. However, according to the statutes, the chairman and board of directors must be elected by a party congress. However, it would hardly be possible for the usually 1000 delegates at the party congress to ignore a clear vote by the members without causing a tremor in the party. According to Ziemiak, the federal board will decide in what form the members will be involved in determining the new management team.
When it came to electing a successor to the outgoing chairman Kramp-Karrenbauer last January, due to the corona pandemic, there were only a few virtual formats of the three applicants Laschet, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen, in which the members of the CDU could participate . At the time, it was highly likely that Merz would have received the majority in a member survey, Laschet not. But because Merz did not have enough supporters in the party leadership, it was not interested in a member survey.
Minimum level of acceptance
Ziemiak said on Monday that if there should be a member survey, it could be longer or shorter, depending on how detailed the introductory rounds are. That could also be done in two, three or four weeks, said the Secretary General. The date for a party congress depends on the duration of a survey. Only when this has been determined can the invitations be issued and a hall rented. After Kramp-Karrenbauer announced in February 2020 that she did not want to remain chairwoman, the election of her successor Laschet was delayed until January because of the pandemic. There is a certain time pressure for the CDU because a new state parliament will be elected in March in Saarland and in May in North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein. The CDU wants to defend the office of Prime Minister in all three countries. Without clarifying the balance of power in the federal party, it will be difficult to conduct an election campaign.