The Union could stagger towards an election bankruptcy. There is rumbling in the CDU and CSU – with criticism of Söder and Laschet. Even steep theses are loud.
Berlin / Munich – Almost four weeks before the Bundestag election, the Union is in a tight spot that has long been considered impossible: the latest surveys see the CDU and CSU on par with the SPD – with those Social Democrats who, a few weeks ago, had no chance of voting to participate in the Chancellor Triell wanted to scoff at.
The conservatives are now apparently shooting in all directions: Most recently there were peaks against the FDP, at the “election campaign prelude” the party leaders Armin Laschet (CDU) and Markus Söder (CSU) played the old warning against a left-wing alliance and Friedrich Merz (CDU ) criticized both party sizes in the domestic election campaign. Internally it seems to be seething. Also, but not only with a view of Söder, who will start a “stadium tour” on Tuesday (August 24th). Some statements from the sister parties are particularly telling.
Baerbock’s plagiarism misery Part of the reason for Union poll flop? MPs complained tellingly
The Berlin CDU member of the Bundestag Thomas Heilmann criticized his own election campaign on Tuesday – and added a remarkable lament. “We are not at all satisfied with the intermediate result,” he told RTL and ntv. In a soccer parable he warned against discussions “in the team”: “We just have to run a little more”.
Heilmann also blamed external influences for the misery: “Unfortunately, the election campaign is distracted, first by Baerbock, then by the flood and Afghanistan,” said Heilmann. That does not play into the hands of the CDU. However, as the Chancellor and Prime Minister’s party in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Union would have had every chance of making a positive impression in overcoming the crises. And that the excitement about personal missteps by the Green Chancellor candidate harmed the sister parties can be doubted with a view to the survey trends. That is probably one of the reasons why there are “discussions” behind closed doors – about Laschet and Söder.
Laschet before the federal election in the criticism, but CDU strategists also find Söder “incredibly annoying”
In the CDU, the situation is complicated: Many are pissed off here because Laschet messed up with his uncontrolled laugh during the flood disaster to present himself as a crisis manager. At the same time, however, there is also increasing irritation about Söder – recently, for example, because he did not want to do without numerous spikes against Laschet at the official election campaign kick-off in Berlin last Saturday.
The elephant has long been in the room, say other CDU strategists – who, however, are not happy about Söder’s approach either. The Bavarian diverts the focus every time on Laschet and so from the competitor, it is argued. In the end, the SPD would also have to deal with failures. If you ask around among leading CDU politicians in the countries, there is also much clearer criticism of Söder. Its appearance is incredibly annoying, it is said behind the scenes. The CSU boss is destructive on the way, which is not well received in the CDU. Söder must be careful not to harm himself when trying to get rid of a possible election failure.
Markus Söder: Everyone pokes at Laschet – but the CSU is anything but optimal
What is easily forgotten in view of the undoubtedly many faux pas that Laschet has stepped into with verve in recent weeks: The CSU is by no means brilliant in Bavaria – recently the Christian Socialists also came to just 34.5 percent and in a survey ended up well below the historically poor result of the 2017 federal election; at that time it reached 38.8 percent. Even if the reasons for this in Munich are readily located in the federal trend, this certainly does not go far enough as the sole explanation.
Because like Laschet and the CDU, Söder and the CSU have not yet managed to successfully set topics in the election campaign. Corona here, tax cut demands (also on Laschet) there and now and then a little climate protection – for a party like the CSU, which sees itself as a pacemaker with its own election program, there is a big gap between claim and reality. And there is something else that Söder has to be chalked up to as well as Laschet: The prediction that it is not the SPD but the Greens who are the main opponents in the election campaign has proven to be a fallacy.
Within the CSU there is therefore also growing dissatisfaction with Söder’s role in the election campaign so far. While some accuse him of a lack of loyalty and support towards the elected top candidate Laschet, other critics want the exact opposite: through a clearer edge against Laschet.
Bundestag election: CDU and CSU each do their own thing – Laschet wants to do without the “team”
However you turn it around – the overall picture of the Union in the election campaign seems more forced than coherent. It also fits that Söder and Laschet are not exactly keen on appearing together. Especially in the pandemic, it would have been easy to let each other at least have a word of greeting at the events – Söder at the CDU, Laschet at the CSU. But as is so often the case, the CSU prefers to keep to itself at the start of its election campaign on Tuesday in Unterschleißheim – also a statement.
However, this also fits in with Laschet to a certain extent: Despite statements to the contrary, he does not want to “rely on the team” in the final spurt of the election campaign. According to Merz, there should no longer be a shadow cabinet or large-scale appearances with groups of other party sizes. So the question arises as to whether the Union is breaking up into a collection of lone fighters just before election day. And whether that could ultimately be a late consequence of the fierce chancellor struggle in the spring. (fn / dpa)