‘Like ma­t­ri­cide’

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

This file photo shows the top can­di­dates for the Chris­tian Demo­cratic Union (from left) party's lead­er­ship cor­po­rate lawyer and for­mer CDU par­lia­men­tary group leader Friedrich Merz, CDU sec­re­tary gen­eral An­negret Kram­pKar­ren­bauer and Health Min­is­ter Jens Spahn af­ter in­tro­duc­ing them­selves to the board of the CDU Women’s Union, in Berlin on Novem­ber 9

‘Slap in the face’

How the del­e­gates will vote is any­one’s guess, with most keep­ing their cards close to their vests.

Nearly all hold po­lit­i­cal of­fice or party posts. One-third are women.

Af­ter more than a decade in the pri­vate sec­tor, Merz says his con­ser­va­tive cre­den­tials and busi­ness savvy make him best placed to win back dis­af­fected vot­ers.

But he touched a nerve when he said the CDU, in his ab­sence, had ac­cepted the rise of the far­right Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many

(AfD) party dur­ing the refugee cri­sis ‘shrug­ging its shoul­ders’.

“I get icy chills down my spine when I see peo­ple run­ning around in this coun­try do­ing the Hitler salute,” he told one re­gional con­fer­ence.

Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer, who has crit­i­cised some as­pects of Merkel’s bor­der pol­icy, shot back that Merz’s ac­cu­sa­tion was a ‘slap in the face’ for the party’s foot sol­diers.

“Pre­tend­ing you could just say or de­cide some­thing and

then the fight against the AfD would be won is naive,” she told the weekly Frank­furter All­ge­meine Son­ntagszeitung. The CDU re­mains Ger­many’s big­gest party.

But the 33 per cent it scored in the Septem­ber 2017 gen­eral elec­tion has sunk to around 28 per cent in opin­ion polls as the party suf­fered losses in a string of re­gional votes.

While still seen as Europe’s

go-to leader on crises from Brexit to Ukraine, Merkel has watched her stand­ing di­min­ish at the top of a love­less ‘grand coali­tion’with the So­cial Democrats (SPD).

They are far­ing even worse in the polls, as in­ter­nal di­vi­sions over its for­mer chan­cel­lor Ger­hard Schroeder’s sweep­ing labour mar­ket re­forms con­tinue to fes­ter.

CDU stal­warts ex­pect a Merkel nos­tal­gia-fest in Ham­burg as the faith­ful bid a grad­ual

good­bye to the woman who won them four na­tional elec­tions.

But newsweekly Der Spiegel noted that the lead­er­ship strug­gle needed to pro­duce some sort of con­sen­sus on Merkel’s legacy if the party wants to avoid the fate of the SPD.

“With­out a crit­i­cal reck­on­ing with her era, the CDU will be stuck in an in­ter­minable ther­apy ses­sion,” it said. “The CDU has to al­low it, even if it seems to many like ma­t­ri­cide.”

Sooner or later, who­ever be­comes the leader of CDU will prob­a­bly be­come chan­cel­lor

(AFP)

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