Both the leader of the CDU party of Chancellor Angela Merkel and her small Bavarian sister party have declared they ready to run for prime minister on Sunday.
CDU chief Armin Laschet and small Bavarian CSU party leader Markus Soeder are open to becoming candidates for the centre-right alliance during a crunch meeting of conservative lawmakers in Berlin. Told to.
“We have established that we are both right and both happy,” Soeder confirms for the first time after months of speculation that he was open to work. did.
Long-time Merkel ally Rachette, 60, became CDU leader in January and is usually the first option to lead both parties to the September 26 election, when Merkel will retire from politics 16 years later as prime minister. Will be.
However, support from sister parties has fallen over recent responses to the coronavirus crisis, with some calling for Rachette to leave in support of the more charismatic Soeder54.
Rachette said on Sunday that he and Soda agreed to stand in a long conversation, stressing that “our goal is to provide as much unity as possible between the CDU and CSU.” did.
Soeder spent months not showing a clear interest in the top job, but did little to dispel the story that he wanted a prime minister for himself.
Towards Sunday’s meeting, the Bild newspaper declared it a “true weekend” of Merkel’s succession struggle.
“We are now very interested in everything moving quickly,” said Ralph Brinkhaus, parliamentary leader of the CDU, before the talks began.
In a weekly interview with Bild am Sonntag, Rachette sought a swift decision in light of the “mood of the entire CDU.”
“Unity is very important. It’s very good for the CDU and CSU to make decisions together, and very quickly,” he said.
Candidates are likely to be selected in a closed room, Rachette told broadcaster ZDF that conservatives would choose the ones “best suited for our election program.”
However, in an interview with Spiegel on Wednesday, Mr. Soda argued that the candidate needed to be “accepted not only by the party, but by the entire nation.”
Star Trek fans and fancy dress lovers have consistently outperformed Rachette in popularity polls. According to a recent survey by the public broadcaster ARD, 54% of Germans considered Soda a good candidate, compared to only 19% of Rachette.
As Germany’s largest federal leaders in population and region, North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Rachette and Bavarian Chief Soda struck a blow to their leadership in the pandemic.
Rachette’s reputation as a credible continuity candidate was hit at the end of March, when Merkel criticized Merkel for being slow to impose restrictions despite rising infection rates.
Soda jumped on this occasion, praising Merkel’s response to the pandemic and arguing that he should help the Prime Minister decide who will be her successor.
“CDU / CSU candidates without the support of Chancellor Angela Merkel will not succeed,” he told Bilt last weekend.
Rachette praised Merkel in an interview with Bilt on Sunday, but also said that the CDU / CSU “a new era has begun.”
He said the parties must learn from the mistakes made in the pandemic and strive to “reduce bureaucracy, make decisions faster, and drive digital transformation of government and the economy.”
Rachette remains likely to beat the party’s tycoon, but Soda has already gained the support of some CDU lawmakers as Conservative lawmakers lower their polls as tensions grow.
Confidence in the CDU / CSU has been hit hard in recent months by sluggish vaccination programs and corruption scandals over mask procurement, with conservatives at less than 30%, the lowest ever.
With the once fringed Greens just a few points behind, the CDU / CSU could face the real prospect of losing the prime minister for the first time since 2005.
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