Angela Merkel’s Succession Tears German Right Apart

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The German right remains more divided than ever on the appointment of a leader with a view to succeeding Chancellor Angela Merkel in the fall, whose end of reign is proving difficult for her political camp. After a whole weekend of negotiations behind closed doors, the conservative leaders failed to find a compromise solution, whereas they wanted to reach an agreement, in the evening of this Sunday, April 18, at the latest. A final negotiating session ended on the night of Sunday to Monday without result, according to German media.

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The internal competition to lead the right to the legislative elections on September 26 pits two men. On the one hand, the president of the Chancellor’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU), Armin Laschet, a moderate supporter of continuity with the centrist course of Angela Merkel, and on the other, that of his allied Bavarian party ( CSU), Markus Söder, more to the right. The first has for him to be at the head of the larger of the two formations and to be supported by the main cadres of his party.

But the popularity rating in the opinion of Armin Laschet is low, far outstripped by that of his rival, Markus Söder. According to a recent survey by the ARD channel, 44% of Germans consider Markus Söder to be the most suitable to lead the conservatives in the elections, against 15% for Armin Laschet.

Two “brother parties” which risk “rupture”

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First hidden, this “primary” which does not say its name has been transformed for a week into a frontal fight in the perspective of the departure of Angela Merkel after the September poll and 16 years in office. The two men had initially assured to want to agree between them but “each camped on its candidacy”, writes the daily newspaper picture. Markus Söder seems all the less inclined to give in, as he obtained on Sunday, by a very large majority, the support of the organization of the Young German Conservatives and that certain leaders of Angela Merkel’s party gave him their support.

The decision could suddenly fall to the deputies of the two parties, who meet on Tuesday and fear for many for their re-election. In such a case, Markus Söder would then see his chances increase to hope to succeed Angela Merkel. Such a clash between the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) has rarely occurred since the alliance between these two “brother parties” was sealed in the postwar period.

They had nevertheless strongly opposed the candidacy for the chancellery in 1980. At the time, it was the Bavarian Franz Josef Strauss who had won against the CDU of a certain Helmut Kohl. The two movements “are killing each other”, warns the daily picture. They “risk breaking”, echoes him The mirror.

Angela Merkel steps back

A local CDU executive, close to Armin Laschet, threatened over the weekend to break the non-aggression pact concluded between the two movements. This provides that the Christian Democrats do not present candidates in Bavaria and that in return the CSU does the same in the rest of the country.

“If Söder wants to impose his candidacy for the chancellery, if he wants to destroy the CDU, then the establishment of the CDU in Bavaria must no longer be taboo,” said Dennis Radtke. Despite these strong tensions, Angela Merkel remains silent, having proclaimed not to want to interfere in her succession. However, it is judged partly responsible for the discord which starts at the end of its “reign”, to have eliminated during years its internal competitors and prevented the emergence of a natural succession.

In her party, some believe that she must now intervene to prevent this battle from permanently weakening the conservative camp with a view to the legislative elections. Widely criticized for its management considered chaotic of the epidemic, the conservative camp fell to 28% of voting intentions, almost 10 points less than at the beginning of the year, ahead of the Greens at 20%.

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