Merz, Röttgen, Braun – who makes the race?
As of: 11/26/2021 3:26 a.m.
As the last of the three applicants for the CDU chairmanship, Chancellor Braun answered questions from members. One – how he could signal a new departure after so long at Merkel’s side? – he often had to answer.
By Kristin Marie Schwietzer, ARD capital studio
How do you keep up with the traffic lights? When Helge Braun stepped into the introduction ring in the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus yesterday evening, he had a clear competitive advantage. The traffic light coalition is in agreement. Your ideas for the future are on the table. That was not the case at the introductory round of Friedrich Merz on Monday. And now Helge Braun could really get started, touch the traffic light hard.
Kristin Marie Schwietzer
ARD capital studio
At Braun it sounds like this: “Our values are not only in demand, but we have to fight for them because there are socio-political changes that are pending that we cannot accept.” He observed with concern that the traffic light wanted to lift the ban on advertising for abortions. Regarding the planned restructuring of the social systems, such as replacing Hartz IV with a citizen’s benefit, Braun says: That is not yet an unconditional basic income, but that comes very close to that.
Shoot verbally sharp – not Braun’s temperament
The unconditional basic income has always been a demand of the Left Party. The Union faction leader had therefore already described the future coalition agreement of the traffic light on Wednesday as a left-yellow program, as did the head of the CSU state group, Alexander Dobrindt. The faction quickly agreed on that. Opposition means to shoot verbally sharp sometimes.
You can tell that Braun does not match his temperament. He doesn’t want to be group leader anyway. But the way to the top of the party is likely to be difficult for him. His supporters appreciate his calm manner. But Braun repeatedly has to answer the question of how he can signal a new departure after such a long time at Merkel’s side. This is a problem for Braun. Those who want continuity, on the other hand, will find it just right.
Above all, Braun succeeded in what the competition did not succeed in bringing two well-known women from the CDU into his team. With Serap Güler, the former integration state secretary in Armin Laschet’s cabinet, and Nadine Schön, parliamentary deputy, Braun has two accomplished politicians at his side who definitely stand for new beginnings and modernization. Still, his chances seem rather slim. The most recent numbers of the ARD see Braun beaten behind Merz and Röttgen.
Concrete answers instead of oaths
It first had to sort itself out on Wednesday evening. Where is the right camera? An unusual situation, since you usually see Röttgen as a quick-witted speaker on talk shows. In the introductory round in the Adenauer-Haus, he seemed a little overwhelmed by some questions. You can tell from the questions put by the members in all three introductory rounds, they want concrete answers. No flowery oaths.
When it comes to climate protection and nuclear power, Röttgen is back in his element and hands out at traffic lights when it comes to migration issues. She wanted to change lanes. In this way, rejected asylum seekers could still find their way onto the German labor market. In this way, Röttgen cleverly adds what was still missing in his profile in the public perception. With him Merz has probably the toughest competitor. Röttgen could especially score with the younger generation and women in the party. The CDU external expert is considered eloquent and can credibly convey a modernization course.
Merz for the third time – a certain irrationality
Like Röttgen, Friedrich Merz wants to try again. It’s already the third attempt for him. An elderly lady asks him why he is doing this to himself again? Merz admits that there is a certain irrationality to it. The former parliamentary group leader wants to know again, despite all prophecies of doom. And Merz knows what the members want to hear from him. If there has to be an upper limit for immigration, he is asked in the digital town hall. How does he feel about Fortress Europe? He thinks nothing of isolation. He does not want to name an upper limit either.
But Merz makes it unmistakably clear where the journey will go with him: “The CDU must, without a doubt, be the party for internal security.” Most members expect such sentences from him. Merz should give the party more profile again, some would like. The others do not see a new beginning in him. Above all, however, his critics do not trust him to actually be a team player. The candidate for the CDU chairmanship emphasizes this time and again that team spirit is important.
And Merz also knows what they do not attribute to him in their own party, namely being a representative of the employees. Merz wants to change that. His representative is called Mario Czaja. Czaja was already in government responsibility in Berlin. Merz wants to make him general secretary if he becomes party chairman. The chances are there.
Merz is also according to the youngest ARD-Survey the favorite of the base. As of today, 48 percent would vote for him, 20 percent Röttgen and 14 percent Braun. In the general population, the order is the same. However, 36 percent do not want to commit to any of the three applicants – also a message from the potential voters. So far they haven’t really caught fire with any of the three candidates.