The former chancellor rejects a dinner invitation from Friedrich Merz
The former federal chancellor and emeritus German conservative leader Angela Merkel has given pumpkins to the nominee as the new president of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Friedrich Merz, from whom she has rejected an invitation to dinner with other former party leaders this Saturday after being predictably elected for the position during the congress that its formation celebrates the weekend. Spiegel Online reveals today that Merz wanted with that invitation to end the veiled dispute that he has had with Merkel for two decades, when she snatched the leadership of the conservative parliamentary group in the Bundestag from him. The digital edition of Der Spiegel highlights that Merz has also been stood up by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was Merkel’s successor at the head of the CDU and head of Defense in her last term at the head of the federal government.
He adds that the virtual new president of the Christian Democrats, 66 years old, intended with the invitation to have a gesture of reconciliation with the former chancellor, with whom he has had a difficult and distant relationship for years. Angela Merkel’s office spoke of “scheduling problems” to excuse her absence from the appointment, while Kramp-Karrenbauer cited “family reasons” to avoid the commitment. The dinner will take place despite everything with the presence of the veteran Wolfgang Schäuble, president of the CDU between 1998 and 2000 and Merkel’s immediate predecessor in office, and Armin Laschet, the unsuccessful conservative candidate in the general elections in Germany last September and who he resigned the presidency of the Christian Democrats after the electoral defeat. The agape has also been invited former and current members of the CDU executive.
After beating his two rivals in the first direct consultation in history with the German Christian Democratic bases to nominate a new president, Merz is expected to be elected as the new leader of the CDU by the 1,001 party delegates at the extraordinary congress to be held in virtual way. Many wait expectantly whether Merkel and Merz will be able in their new roles to achieve a certain rapprochement. Merkel’s political rise coinciding with the turn of the millennium brought with it the decline of Merz’s star, who was a promising conservative economic pundit two decades ago. The chancellor managed to outshine him to the point that his rival abandoned active politics a few years later to devote himself to business. Merz returned to the national political stage with greater ambitions when Merkel announced in 2018 her intention not to stand for re-election as federal chancellor and her withdrawal as president of the CDU.
In a recent interview, Friedrich Merz acknowledged that he “completely underestimated” Angela Merkel before she became Federal Chancellor and commented that he would be “rejoiced” if Angela Merkel and the CDU remain united in the future. Merz faces from tomorrow the complicated task of restoring strength to an electorally defeated party. With him there will certainly not be the generational change that many expected, but he has broad support from the bases, who expect him to set a new and clear political course for the formation that has governed Germany for 16 years under the orders of Merkel.
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