And then the news of Hans-Georg Maaßens' upcoming dismissal in the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus CDU meeting is also bursting.

There have been many notable meetings in the party headquarters over the past twelve months: the Jamaican probe, the GroKo sounder and negotiator, the fierce champion in the Union internal dispute. Angela Merkel was always there as party leader and chancellor – and her star sank with each round, their authority was scratched more and more. The last scratches she got by the state election in Hesse last Sunday missed, where the local CDU lost more than eleven percentage points.

But the case with the still-constitutional protection president Hans-Georg Maaßen, who spent weeks in September holding the coalition and the country on fire, has hurt Merkel a lot. Whether things would have developed without the Maaus causality and Merkel then under the pressure of leading party friends (read more in the current SPIEGEL) on the morning after the Hesse election, had also declared their renunciation of the party presidency?

Now the CDU supervisors are sitting together on this gloomy November day so since the afternoon, to be clear on the way to Merkel succession – and can suddenly read on their smartphones and tablets that Maassen held his farewell to the intelligence agency a conspiracy-speaking farewell speech Seehofer himself will no longer be able to cover it.

But there is no way back – rather, the search for a chair is gaining more and more momentum: twelve applicants are already there, as of Sunday afternoon, who want to follow Merkel at the party congress in Hamburg. Three basic applicants have been announced so far, six of them have been added, and then there are the three promising candidates: General Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK), Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn and the former Union faction leader Friedrich Merz.

Laughing third party? Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, on 2.11.2018 in Landau.


Laughing third party? Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, on 2.11.2018 in Landau.

Should not someone else retire from this trio (which could be Spahn at the moment, because he and Merz have too similar a profile in parts and there is still time left at 38), the 1001 CDU delegates will vote in a good month someone from them to the party leadership.

AKK and Spahn are in the Adenauer House on Sunday and Monday with it in the exam, Merz sits against it only virtually at the table, because he has spent the past almost ten years as far as possible in the political Off and currently no CDU-Spitzenamt.

Merz has the momentum – but that does not mean much

This is precisely what gives him momentum, as the saying goes, his candidature is perceived with particular interest because it comes from the outside, so to speak. And because Merz, who once wanted to introduce the tax return on the coaster and was otherwise synonymous for clear messages, is hailed by his fans as Merkel counter-proposal. Kramp-Karrenbauer, on the other hand, has to be as invisible as possible in the Adenauer-Haus for reasons of fairness until the party congress as secretary-general, this week she will officially declare her candidacy.

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CDU Chair:
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In the polls, Merz is in the lead – but that has little to say, because only in early December in Hamburg will be elected and also vote not the citizens, but CDU delegates. In truth, there is a lot of confusion in the party since Merkel's surprise announcement that the outcome of the election is open. At the moment, this is being paralyzed in such euphoric sentences as by party member Thomas Strobl when he says in front of the Adenauer-Haus on Sunday afternoon: "The CDU is alive."

Voice # 72 – Merkel's retreat plan and who can torpedo him

But feeling alive is also a pretty tiring state for a party that has almost always anticipated important personalities in the past. This leads, for example, to the fact that – unlike planned – not all formal questions get clarified until late Sunday evening.

First of all, the Christian Democrats have to agree on a procedure until Hamburg. Even before the retreat, the CDU's seven associations – including the Junge Union, the Women's Union and the Christian Democratic Workers' Union (CDA) – agreed that they would first sit down with the three promising candidates to discuss the planned future cooperation to speak. This also belongs to the criticism of Merkel: that she had taken care of the associations as party leader too little. And then the three candidates are still to appear at all seven in order to introduce themselves.

Clear votes will be in short supply

Whether the associations will then vote for a vote is still open. Clear votes will probably be generally in short supply, even with a view to the state associations, within which the party delegates are organized: With the exception of the Saarland, in which it is already clear on the long-time local CDU leader and Prime Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer, it is likely There is hardly a national association that recommends to its delegates the choice of a person.

Not even the strongest member from North Rhine-Westphalia, who sends two candidates with Spahn and Merz into the race, in which there are also many AKK sympathizers. One of them could be country chief Armin Laschet, who like the Merkel confidant Kramp-Karrenbauer belongs to the liberal CDU wing. Laschet says on Sunday: "I do not believe in it, if national associations give their own votes."

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Angela Merkel:
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AKK, Spahn and Merz will have to work harder to convince the delegates. Besides the appearances at the associations, about ten regional conferences are planned in all parts of Germany where the candidates introduce themselves. Whether someone of the no-name candidates will be there and how this is to be done formally, should be clarified on Monday morning. Whether this is "a great time" for the three promising applicants, as Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister Daniel Günther describes the candidate situation on Sunday? It will be especially exhausting for them to complete all these appointments during the remaining five weeks.

Especially for the candidate Merz, who was able to make his life outside of active politics much freer in the past years. Does he have the discipline and the bite for this Germany tour?

Five weeks are not much – but much can happen until the beginning of December. The race has just begun.


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