The decision on the future parliamentary group chairmanship of the Union could have a major impact on several state elections. Ralph Brinkhaus wants to hold on to his post – and thus declares war on Friedrich Merz.
Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) does not intend to give up his position in favor of future CDU chairman Friedrich Merz. “If the parliamentary group so wishes and if the parliamentary group elects me, then I will be happy to continue after April 30th,” he said on Tuesday in Berlin when asked whether he was determined to continue to exercise his office. After the disaster of the Union in the federal election, Brinkhaus was only confirmed in office until the end of April, unlike usual.
When asked whether he had already had a conversation with Merz on the subject, Brinkhaus did not respond. Rather, he said that at the moment it was not an issue at all, that there were other things to do: the Union had to stand up in the opposition, a landmark party congress was imminent on January 21st and 22nd and one had to prepare for state elections. “That’s why personnel discussions are now at the very back.”
The parliamentary executive director of the Union parliamentary group, Thorsten Frei (CDU), said that in view of the decision on the future parliamentary group chairmanship, the Union must have several dates on the screen. Brinkhaus was elected until April 30th. In March and May the Union had to pass important state elections – in Saarland (March 27) and Schleswig-Holstein (May 8) as well as in North Rhine-Westphalia (May 15), where the CDU leads the respective governments. “The most important thing is that there is an amicable solution between Friedrich Merz and Ralph Brinkhaus,” said Frei.
“We made our experiences as a union last year. That will not happen to us again,” said Frei against the background of the power struggle between CSU leader Markus Söder and CDU chairman Armin Laschet over the candidacy for chancellor. Both Merz and Brinkhaus “know the challenges we are facing. Both talk about how we can find the optimal line-up for this,” said Frei.
Both are “strong personalities and professionals”. In the end, the CDU needs both: Merz and Brinkhaus. Merz is already fully involved as the designated CDU boss and is invited to all committee meetings of the parliamentary group leadership.
In December, in a member survey with 62.1 percent, Merz was chosen as the successor to Laschet, who had failed as a candidate for chancellor. Officially, Merz has to be elected by the 1,001 delegates at a digital party congress on January 21st and 22nd. This online vote must then be confirmed by postal vote.