Turbulence in Germany around Angela Merkel's estate

Scheduled for December 4, the congress of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is postponed to next year due to a pandemic. The candidate currently best placed to assume the presidency of the party, Friedrich Merz, does not take offense. The stakes are high, as the next party chairman could also be Chancellor Merkel's candidate for succession.

"AKK is playing extra time", headlines Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), this Tuesday, October 27, displaying the masked face of the current president of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who has resigned since last February. Gathered the day before, the party leaders decided not to take any risks in a time of pandemic and to adjourn the congress which was to be held in Stuttgart on December 4 in the presence of a thousand delegates.

This is the second time that the date for the appointment of the new president - three candidates are in the running - has been postponed due to the health context. The stakes are high, since the future leader of the CDU is likely to also be the candidate to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel in the parliamentary elections in September 2021.

Friedrich Merz, a “Trump version light”

The public health argument put forward by the governing bodies is questioned by candidate Friedrich Merz, currently more popular at the party base than his main rival, Armin Laschet, and than the third contender, Norbert Röttgen: “Part of the establishment wants to prevent me from becoming the president of the party ”, suspects Merz, while this decision is widely welcomed elsewhere, reports the TAZ. Friedrich Merz - in whom the paper sees a "Trump version of the light" - embodies a "political narcissism" the country does not need, the left-wing daily said in another article.

For the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), Merz's untimely reaction is also a reflection of his own doubts about the longevity of his popularity in the party and further testifies to the CDU's difficulties in mastering the crisis it is going through at the top. . By adjourning the congress, also analyzes the Süddeutsche Zeitung, "the Christian Democrats are sliding into a poisoned power struggle".

The calendar and the modalities of the next congress are still in limbo: the decision could be taken by the governing bodies in mid-January and fix the congress in March 2021. A prospect which, calculates the FAZ, could give chances to “ a fourth candidate ”.

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