Fighting crime better, defending basic values, easing the burden on the middle class: in the contest for the CDU presidency, the three most promising candidates demonstrated a lot of common ground to the grassroots on friday in berlin at the end of their presentation tour.
CDU secretary-general annegret kramp-karrenbauer, ex-union faction leader friedrich merz, and health minister jens spahn announced a week before the decisive party conference in hamburg that they want to lead the party back to its old strength.
Merz and kramp-karrenbauer are given the best chances of succeeding angela merkel. Merkel had also announced under the pressure of electoral flaps not to run again as chairman after 18 years in office. But she wants to remain chancellor until the end of the legislative period.
Merz assured merkel of his loyalty if elected party leader. "Of course" that would go well with him as party leader and merkel as chancellor, he said in berlin at the last of eight regional conferences.
Merkel had been elected, the union had signed a coalition agreement with the SPD. "We as the CDU are faithful to the treaty."For the party, the motto is: "first the country, then the party," said merz. If elected party chairman, he would support the government with full loyalty. Merz was ousted from the leadership of the CDU/CSU caucus by merkel in 2002.
Kramp-karrenbauer called on the CDU to work less on other parties and focus more on its own strengths. Of course it’s part of the job to "pour one out for the spdlers or the greens," she said: "but we’re only a really good and rough and attractive party if we draw storms of enthusiasm for our own ideas."
The CDU has such ideas and not a problem of recognition, emphasized kramp-karrenbauer. "We know what we had to do, could do and should do."But now the CDU must do the same. "This is what the people in our country are waiting for."Fair trade, research, strategies against a shortage of skilled workers, too much bureaucracy and high costs in the economy are necessary.
Kramp-karrenbauer said she already had very concrete ideas about who she would propose for the office of secretary general if she were elected party leader. Merz made a similar statement, hinting that his choice would then fall on a woman.
Spahn said that after the election to the presidency there would be people who had campaigned for their candidate with a lot of emotion. "And i do believe that the new party leader should take the question of how to integrate this and absorb it to some extent into consideration when deciding on the general secretary."
Spahn called for the complete dismantling of the solidarity surcharge. It was important that the tax burden was eased for those "who keep the store running," said the health minister. "The soli was introduced when i was nine." He gehore now abolished. Merz also advocated this. The coalition has agreed to abolish the soli for 90 percent of those who have to pay it today.
With a slight side swipe at merz, spahn said, "halving afd won’t happen by saying so."Merz had repeatedly assured that he would halve the afd’s election results.
Spahn, as well as the other two candidates, emphasized the CDU’s basic values. The health minister said he wanted to live in 2040 in a country that stood by its christian occidental values. These values should not be relativized out of misunderstood tolerance.
Spahn also advocated more money and better equipment for the armed forces. He also addressed the mishap of the government plane carrying chancellor merkel on the way to the G20 summit in buenos aires. "A country like ours cannot afford what is going on with the air force."
The three most promising candidates also spoke out in favor of fighting crime more strongly. "The CDU must without any doubt be the party of internal security in germany," said merz. She could not allow clans to dominate "entire neighborhoods" in berlin, that burgers no longer dared to go into certain neighborhoods.
"This is organized crime in pure culture," said kramp-karrenbauer. "You have to treat them as such."This would include more undercover investigation options, police "intervention" and more presence on the streets. Like kramp-karrenbauer, spahn also called for a consistent cut-off of criminally acquired assets. "If at some point the mercedes is more easily gone, that is a clear signal to the clan member."
The three candidates also agreed on key issues in european policy. They warned against taking too hard a line against poland and hungary. Both states are criticized above all for their course in the rule of law. Merz said germany must do all it can to keep poland and hungary in the eu. He also warned that the fidesz party of the controversial hungarian head of government viktor orban could be kicked out of the european people’s party.