D.he CDU federal chairman and North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet has sworn the Union to support him in the fight for the Chancellery. “I want to be the next Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany,” said Laschet on Saturday at the state representative assembly of the CDU North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf. “I will only be able to do this if we are united.”
However, Laschet’s home association, the North Rhine-Westphalian CDU, was not completely closed either. The delegates elected him with 232 yes votes as their top candidate for the federal election at number one on the state list. Two delegates voted no. A total of 238 delegates cast their votes. Laschet came to 97.5 percent. Since the CDU only counts yes and no votes as valid, the party calculated 99.1 percent for the candidate for chancellor.
Laschet received minutes of applause from the delegates for his combative speech. “We can do it if we only want to.” The final spurt to the federal election on September 26th is now starting. If he becomes Chancellor, then North Rhine-Westphalia will for the first time since Konrad Adenauer be the Federal Chancellor, said Laschet. He stands “with great respect” before the candidacy.
“The next Federal Chancellor has to be a Chancellor who is Chancellor for East and West and North and South.” But he also needs to know where he comes from, what shaped him and which people have accompanied him on his way. “I know that the office is an office that has responsibility for everyone,” said Laschet. He promised that he would fight with all his might for Germany to be governed well after Chancellor Angela Merkel had mastered the four world crises.
Laschet attacks Greens
The CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia also brought unity to the government in 2017. “And so we will also win this federal election because we have the strength to come to an agreement.” All of Europe is currently looking at what will become of Germany after the Merkel era. Laschet had to overcome resistance on his way to the candidacy for chancellor. He had defeated his rival Friedrich Merz in the fight for the CDU federal chairmanship and then defeated Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) in the struggle for the candidacy for chancellor.
Laschet particularly attacked the Greens, who are the Union’s fiercest competitor in polls. In the fight for climate protection, he accused the Greens of “petty looking at bans”. They are “too small for such huge ambitions that we have before us”. The CDU is fighting for the “great project of climate-neutral Germany”. The discussion as to whether “fuel prices should be one way or another” or whether domestic German air traffic should be restricted is fragmented. If a railway line is to be expanded, then the Greens were among the first citizens’ initiatives to oppose it.
The latest petrol price debate was triggered by statements by the Green Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock. According to her party’s draft program, Baerbock had advocated an increase in the price of gasoline by a total of 16 cents and, after her announcement, received a lot of criticism, especially from the SPD.
Incentives for investments in climate-neutral production should be set, said Laschet. The CDU does not want to make politics with “a mournful expression”, “prohibition, renunciation and loss”, but with “innovation, impulses and ideas”. In addition to future technologies, this also included competitive corporate taxation. One should also not believe that politics can regulate every detail of the economy with regulations, said Laschet. He affirmed that Germany needed a digitization ministry after the election.
Laschet pointed out that Germany was an efficient state even during the Corona crisis and that the health system had taken in patients from neighboring countries even in the moments of the greatest crisis. However, there were deficits in administration, digitization and education. After the end of the pandemic, the CDU and CSU would have to provide answers in their election manifesto.
Laschet warned against a dependence on China. “It must never happen again that we (…) are dependent on a foreign power for a piece of fabric.” He was referring to the shortage of masks at the beginning of the corona pandemic. The same applies in part to medical devices – even though Germany was once “the pharmacy of the world” that developed so many important drugs. It has to be like that again, demanded Laschet.
Jens Spahn in fourth place on the state list
The representatives of the largest CDU regional association had come together for a meeting for the first time since the beginning of the corona pandemic. In second place on the state list is the current Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek, and in third place is Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus. Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn takes fourth place. CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak is in sixth place.
At the meeting, Laschet expressly welcomed his former competitor Friedrich Merz, who is running as a direct candidate in the Hochsauerland district, but is not on the state list. Merz is likely to have the victory in the CDU stronghold, however. “He is not on the list and is still one of the important figures for the next German Bundestag,” said the CDU leader. Laschet himself had not applied for a direct mandate for his home district association Aachen I.