TIn a battle for the soul of Germany's most powerful political party, he draws lines as he prepares to elect a successor to Angela Merkel.
Less than a week after Mrs. Merkel announced her resignation as leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), it is already clear that the race for her successor will be a fight for the identity of the party that has ruled Germany for 13 years.
There are three serious competitors. On the one hand are Friedrich Merz, a well-known businessman and old rival of Mrs. Merkel, and Jens Spahn, the openly gay health minister. Both men want to bring the party back to their conservative roots.
On the other side is Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the party leader known as "Mini-Merkel", the flag bearer of the centrists who want to preserve the Merkel legacy.
"The CDU needs to be changed and renewed," Merz said this week as he announced his candidacy. "The CDU needs to be clear about its core brand."