AThe time had come on Monday. Armin Laschet, CDU chairman, but above all the Union’s candidate for chancellor, presented his team. That means: three members of his team, more should follow. The team, as has long been restricted in the Union, should not be a shadow cabinet. Conclusions about what a Laschet government might look like, should it come about, are therefore only possible to a limited extent. On the other hand, Laschet doesn’t put anyone on the stage in the foyer of the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus. So it cannot be ruled out that you will see someone from the team again. If, if, if, how, in view of poor surveys and increasing social democratic competition, more and more members of the CDU and CSU object with concern.
In any case, on Monday the “What if not?” Was brushed aside. Laschet said confidently that anyone who followed the decision-making process for him as party chairman and then as candidate for chancellor knew that you always wanted a team player. He sees himself as such, and so do many in the Union. In this respect, he does not have to change his strategy. As far as his political goals were concerned, he had been pursuing them for a long time. So here too: no change of strategy.
In the presidium meeting, according to information from participants, he placed five topics at the center of the remaining four weeks of the election campaign: the “climate-neutral industrial country” that he wants to make Germany, digital modernization, relieving the social center, strengthening the economic center and the inner one like external security. Two weeks before the election, he wants to present a 100-day program. When asked that he had wished for a “happy” election campaign, Laschet replied that he would of course prefer it, but that the times were not after that. He cited the flood disaster in the west as a reason and the dramatic end of the Bundeswehr mission in Afghanistan.
Wiebke Winter as the young face of the party
So to his right was a young CDU politician from Bremen, Wiebke Winter, who was largely unknown until now, and two better-known but not so young male Christian Democrats: Thomas Heilmann from Berlin and Andreas Jung from Baden-Württemberg. Laschet apparently believes he has to show that there are also young women who the CDU leadership believes will be perceived as the face of the party. Winter, 25 years old, wants to move into the Bundestag for the CDU. Your political focus is climate policy. Apparently Laschet wants to counter the young climate activists who are with the Greens or in their vicinity. Winter does not have to be imagined as a soon-to-be Federal Environment Minister. Laschet can easily add her to the team without creating claims that he could not fend off.
Thomas Heilmann, born in Dortmund in 1964, made a political career in Berlin. There he was once the Senator of Justice as long as the SPD ruled with the CDU. In 2016 he was involved in the organization of the capital’s CDU election campaign. They lost almost six percentage points in the House of Representatives election. Heilmann managed to win a direct mandate for the Bundestag in Berlin-Zehlendorf. In the Union faction he caused a certain amount of attention with the book “Neustaat”, in which members of parliament and experts call for profound changes in politics and state organization. That should have given him a place in the Laschet team, because the chancellor candidate has been promising for some time that he will lead to a considerable reduction in bureaucracy and the simplification of approval procedures. Heilmann shouldn’t be put on Laschet’s cabinet planning list either.
It could look a little different with Andreas Jung, who is often called “Andi”. As deputy chairman of the Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag, he is responsible for the important area of budget and financial policy, and he is also one of the leading experts in climate policy. The name of Jung, who was born in Freiburg in 1975, has been mentioned for some time when it comes to the future of the CDU. To see him as Minister of Baden-Württemberg in a Laschet cabinet would not be a huge surprise.