Merkel’s CDU party got the successor?
Armin Laschet, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, has been elected the new leader of Christian Democratic Union (CDU), one of Germany's main political parties, in a digital vote by party members. At the party congress held digitally on Saturday, he defeated hardline Conservative leader Friedrich Merz by 521-466 votes. His victory would not improve the people of the country, but would keep Merkel's authoritarian politics alive, said two of the country's main opposition leaders. As a rule, Laschet has no choice but to fight other rivals in September's federal elections to succeed country's current chancellor, Angela Merkel.
Angela Merkel is called the strongest chancellor of Germany. Merkel's another name is, 'Crisis Manager of Europe'. She has an equal impact not only in Europe, but also in America, the Middle East and Asia. Angela Merkel tops the list of most powerful women by Forbes magazine. In addition to leading Germany's economy and politics, Angela has played an excellent visionary role in keeping the European Union active and active. Nearly 16-year tenure of Merkel as chancellor is coming to an end with elections in September. This election will carry significant implications for the future of Germany and the European Union.
Laschet, the minister-president of Germany's most populous region, has presented himself as a Merkel continuity candidate preserving the coalition whereas other candidates of CDU leader--conservative Friedrich Merz and modernizer Norbert Rottgen promised to take the party and Germany in a new direction. However, in my previous write up regarding the EU-China deal, I showed that Merkel doesn't think the USA as a trustworthy ally of Germany it once was. Also, as Germany's biggest companies are mostly dependent on China, Merkel pushed EU for that agreement with China. These incidents can inspire Merkel's loyal supporter Laschet sticking to the status quo.
If we look at the past activities of Laschet, we can see that he had the backing to deepening Germany's relationship with Beijing. He also had not the intention to exclude of Chinese telecommunications group Huawei from Germany's next generation 5G network. If he becomes the chancellor in process, there is a possibility of adopting similar steps like Merkel's that can alienate the USA and come closer to the China. But his recent private sessions with his team on diplomacy challenges Germany faces indicated that his openness to learning different views can bring some changes to his approaches.
The question now is whether the CDU will nominate him as their chancellor candidate in September's general election. A recent poll shows that 40 per cent of Germans believe S�der would be the strongest candidate who is the leader of CDU's Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU). S�der is a proficient person who can shift his positions accordingly and enthusiastically. His positive flight of stairs including immigration, lockdowns, and industrial policy gave him popularity. Though he didn't announced his wish for candidacy, there is a chance of his participation in the race.
As a several times larger than the CSU, normally the CDU dominates nominating the candidate. But here is one important thing. Germany's second-strongest party the Greens played a significant role by making coalition with Merkel which ensured the CDU's 16-year hold on power. As S�der has been an appealing person to Green voters through casting himself as modern conservative, he can break that streak of the CSU's past failed attempts to nominate their candidate. Selecting the candidates through the consultation between the CDU and the CSU can be made by March.
The pollsters also include Germany's young health minister Jens Spahn to the run at becoming chancellor. Though he pledges support for Laschet, his public stature can make him a competitor here. His fiscal responsibility, the transatlantic alliance and cultural identity along with handling the pandemic made him famous among the Germans. The party's influential youth wing, the Junge Union, still regarded Spahn as a possible candidate for chancellor. Though Spahn has lacking on executive experience, his approval rating has tremendously risen in recent months even overtaking Merkel.
In the days to come, how Laschet will present his agenda to the Germans will depend on who gets the final nomination from the two political parties. Since he has been elected the leader of the CDU, he has a great chance to get an election ticket. In that case, Germany's position in global politics will ordain on whether he follows Merkel's footsteps or introduces flexible approaches. If Laschet becomes able to overcome all these complexities maintaining the trust and credibility what Merkel enjoyed for years, then he can win the race of becoming the next Chancellor of Germany.
The writer is a student, Department of International Relations,
University of Dhaka