D.he former chairman of the Values Union, Alexander Mitsch, has left the group of particularly conservative CDU members. The reason is the behavior of the new head of the Values Union, Max Otte. “The envelopes from Mr. Otte led to my resignation,” Mitsch told the German Press Agency in Stuttgart on Monday. “Mr. Otte is not in a position to continue the original idea of the values union.” The values union has always been intended as a strong group within the union, which distinguishes itself from the right and left fringes.
The Heidelberger Mitsch was one of the founding fathers of the Values Union and had headed it for four years. He can imagine joining a new platform where members of the values union who have resigned could come together. “That may well be a possibility.” The founding idea of dissuading the Union from its left-wing course is still correct.
At the end of May, Otte succeeded Mitsch in the position of Chairman of the Values Union, who had previously announced his withdrawal. The tight election of Otte as the new chairman sparked a big dispute within the values union, the Bavarian state chairman Juliane Ried was his opponent.
Criticism of Otte’s statements about Merz
Mitsch attacked his successor for his statements about the CDU economist Friedrich Merz. Otte had said at the weekend that Merz was burdened by his previous lobbying activities and should “not take over a state office, even if the lobbying activity is dormant”. Mitsch replied that this was “simply unacceptable”. One thing is clear: “Otte is not expressing a majority opinion of the values union here.” Under Mitschs’ leadership, the values union campaigned for Merz to become the Union’s candidate for chancellor.
Merz himself had also spoken out clearly against Otte’s statements and called on the CDU members to leave the Values Union. “I urge all CDU members to leave the so-called values union and to shape the future together in the CDU,” said Merz, who belongs to the election campaign team of CDU chairman Armin Laschet, the German press agency. Otte apparently does not know “the difference between lobbying and professional activity as a lawyer and supervisory board,” said Merz.
Merz was previously chairman of the supervisory board for Germany at the US asset manager Blackrock. The mandate ended on March 31, 2020 – so it’s not just dormant. Merz said: “The unqualified envelopes from Mr. Otte should give the members of this self-appointed value union something to think about.”
The ValuesUnion sees itself as a representative of the conservative current in the Union, but is not an official party division. According to its own information, its membership is over 4,000. Among them, however, are also members without a CDU party book. The CDU has a total of around 400,000 members, the CSU has around 140,000.
Dissolution phenomena at Otte’s choice
After the controversial election of Otte, the ValuesUnion shows increasingly strong signs of disintegration. Members of various state boards resigned in protest at Otte’s course. Internal critics accuse Otte of moving the Values Union to the right and wanting to open up to the AfD. Otte reacted calmly and, according to his own statements, assumes that the ValuesUnion will emerge stronger from this process.
The leadership of the CDU around Laschet wanted to meet this Monday morning in Berlin for their last official deliberations before the summer break. Initially, the smaller party presidium was supposed to meet in a hybrid form, later the larger executive committee was to be added. The processes in the Values Union are likely to play a marginal role, if at all. It was expected that the party committees would, among other things, deal with the upcoming election campaign for the Bundestag election in September.