Former Union Parliamentary Bloc leader Frederick Mers becomes the new leader of the CDU. According to the results of an opinion poll of CDU members announced yesterday, the 66-year-old received an absolute majority of the votes cast.
He will now be named party president at the party’s federal convention on January 21-22. Merz’s competitor, Norbert Röttgen, got 25.8 percent, and competitor Helge Braun got 12.1 percent. The turnout in the first member survey in CDU history was 66.02 percent.
Success on the third attempt
Merz left politics in 2009 and later worked as a business attorney, management consultant, and member of the supervisory board. From 2016 to 2020, Merz was Chairman of the Supervisory Board and a lobbying member of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager.
In 2018, he returned to politics. He was now the party leader on the third attempt: in 2018 he was defeated by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, in 2020 by Armin Laschet, who is now in charge.
Disaster in the election
The party’s nearly 400,000 members were able to make a preliminary decision on the presidency for the first time in CDU’s history. Officially, the new party leader must be elected by 1,001 delegates at the digital party convention. Delegates will almost certainly abide by the members’ vote. This must then be confirmed by a postal vote.
New party leadership elections came as a result of the union disaster in the September 26 federal election. CDU and CSU had their worst result historically at 24.1% and had to step into the opposition ranks. Then the CDU leader, Laschet, who had failed as a candidate for chancellor, announced his retirement. He is now a minor member of the Bundestag and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Merz wants “a really good collaboration with everyone.”
After his apparent victory, Merz swore to teamwork in the party. He said in Berlin that he accepted that nomination and was looking forward to “working well with everyone”. Subject to the approval of the party convention, he wanted to do everything in his power to show that the CDU was a vital party that would also have its place as a popular party in the twenty-first century.
CDU also has a job to perform as an opposition. Merz thanked his lower rivals Braun and Röttgen. The ‘Good Collaboration’ of the past few weeks has been beneficial to the party.
Markus Soder, President of CSU, congratulated Merz on his success: “Congratulations to_FriedrichMerz on the clear vote of CDU members. Together as one, we want to lead the #Union to a new power,” the Bavarian prime minister wrote on Twitter. CSU and he personally will look forward to working together.
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