Jon Worth Profile picture
13 Jan, 26 tweets, 9 min read
2021 is the end of Angela Merkel's time as Chancellor of 🇩🇪

The process to choose her successor starts this week

This 🧵 will explain all the important stages of this rather complex process!

There are three stages to this:
1️⃣ Merkel's CDU Party choses a new Party Leader on 16 Jan (tag: #CDUVorsitz)
2️⃣ Later in spring Members of the Bundestag of CDU and CSU choose who will be Chancellor Candidate
3️⃣ Bundestag Election 26 Sep, followed by coalition negotiations

1️⃣ CDU choses new Party Leader

Merkel has not been CDU party leader since 2018. Current leader - Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer - is stopping. 1001 Delegates at a party conference taking place digitally 15-16 Jan choose new Leader, in 2 rounds of voting. 3 candidates running

--- Friedrich Merz ---
65, from Nordrhein-Westfalen, previously Member of the Bundestag, then lawyer, now on the comeback trail

Politically to the right of Merkel, pro-business

Style: always wants to be the smartest in the room, comes across as arrogant, can make gaffes

--- Armin Laschet ---
59, currently Prime Minister of Nordrhein-Westfalen, previously Member of Bundestag & Member of European Parliament

Politically similar to Merkel, ideologically flexible

Style: more like a mayor of a small town than a national politician, folksy

--- Norbert Röttgen ---
55, from Nordrhein-Westfalen, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, previously Environment Minister

Politically similar to Merkel, more forthright on foreign policy

Style: serious and professional, but not unfriendly

So what is going to happen?

Merz likely to win the first round of voting. The candidate who's 3rd in the first round of voting is eliminated (likely Laschet or Röttgen), and more of their votes will go to whichever of Röttgen or Laschet is still in the running in 2nd round

Note: we really do not know who will win. Röttgen himself has stated that this is an "offenes Rennen" (an open race) and he is right. All we know is Merz has a solid base of support, but vote transfers Laschet↔️Röttgen might still see Merz lose

So 16 Jan the CDU has a new party leader. What next?

Stage 2️⃣ is making this person the Chancellor Candidate (or not) - we do not know when exactly this will happen - but it will be sometime in the spring

Before that happens there are two important regional (Land) elections on 14 March - in Baden-Württemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz (neither has a CDU Prime Minister currently). How the CDU does in these elections will help show whether the new party leader is succeeding or not

Here another party enters the picture... the CDU's Bavarian sister party, the CSU. The CSU runs candidates for the Bundestag in Bavaria, the CDU in the other 15 regions (Länder), but they *together* put forward a Chancellor Candidate. The CSU's Stoiber was chosen in 2002

The choice of Chancellor Candidate is a vote of CDU and CSU Members of the Bundestag (MdBs). They could go for the CDU Party Leader (Merz, Laschet, Röttgen), or they could go for someone else... such as CSU Party Leader Söder, or even another CDU politician Spahn

--- Markus Söder ---
54, from Nürnberg, protestant (Bavaria is mostly catholic, and all others in the running are catholic), Party Leader of the CSU

Politically used to be a hardliner, softening recently

Style: a real political professional, smooth but not inhuman

--- Jens Spahn ---
40, CDU, from Nordrhein-Westfalen, now Health Minister, Germany's most prominent gay politician

Politically somewhere between Laschet and Merz

Style: professional but can be abrasive

Could step up if Merz/Laschet/Röttgen were to stumble, alt. to Söder

So - in short - the winner of stage 1️⃣ (to be CDU Party Leader) has a good chance in stage 2️⃣ (to be Chancellor Candidate), but it is not a foregone conclusion - Söder or Spahn could step up *if* Merz/Laschet/Röttgen are struggling by the spring

That brings us to stage 3️⃣ - the Bundestag election 26 Sep

That the total number of seats for CDU-CSU is larger than that for any other party is pretty certain. But the CDU-CSU will not be able to govern alone... they will need coalition partners

Traditionally CDU-CSU has aimed to make coalition governments with FDP (economic liberals) but FDP has struggled since 2017, and might only just get into the Bundestag in 2021 (there is a 5% of the vote hurdle to get any seats), and CDU-CSU+FDP probably ≠ a majority

Most likely coalition is CDU-CSU+Greens, but the Greens would have problems with Merz (and poss. somewhat with Söder, Spahn) as Chancellor Candidate. Laschet or Röttgen would be easier

So if the CDU goes for Merz, and he becomes Chancellor Candidate... then coalition 🤕

There is also the fear that Merz would appeal to FDP and even AfD (populist right) voters, but would lose pragmatic centrist voters to the Greens and SPD (Social Democrats), opening up the chance of a Green-Red-Red coalition (Greens, SPD, Die Linke (Left Party))

The danger for the CDU of going for Laschet, Röttgen or Spahn is they would try to hold Merkel's voter coalition together, but as none of them has her level of political skill, things could go badly in the polls quite quickly

And meanwhile Söder is not a perfect solution either - many in the CDU think that someone from the CSU could never win an election (they remember Stoiber and earlier Franz Josef Strauß), although Söder arguably has more mainstream appeal

I have tried to sum up stages 1️⃣ and 2️⃣ of all of this in a diagram - with the rationale (and high resolution versions of it) explained on my blog…

There is more useful background in this Guardian piece by @philipoltermann…

This by @CER_EU's @SophiaBesch looks at the polling for the CDU, and how Coronavirus has boosted the party - but #CDUVorsitz calls this all into question…

Lastly, you can follow the candidates on Twitter too:

Any questions about any of this? Let me know and I'll do my best to answer!

Erratum: tweet 12/15 is ill phrased. The party leaderships of CDU and CSU will determine who the Chancellor Candidate will be, but that person has to be able to command majority support among MdBs. Important: it's *not* Members making this choice!

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More from @jonworth

12 Jan
Pieces like this from @AnnikaJoeres frustrate me

Please what has Delli *practically* done to save night trains?

Don't get me wrong, she's a decent MEP, and it's good to have a green in this position, but what practical change has EP made happen?…
Also there is no commitment in the Council to keep night trains. Scheuer's summit was basically him giving some publicity to ÖBB. DB and SNCF still want as little to do with night trains as possible.
DB's night trains were CityNightLine, not NightJet.

And the TRAN Committee does not administer a €40bn budget.
Read 5 tweets
5 Jan
To those saying that those who have got their public health advice wrong earlier in the pandemic should put up their hands and apologise... a little cautionary lesson from another sector

A short 🧵

Public health is not my thing

But Brexit is

And throughout 2019 and 2020 I have been trying to make predictions as to what will happen in that story. Lives do not depend on this, only my professional reputation (marginally) does

The three series of #BrexitDiagram I made in 2019 were extraordinarily accurate

Series 1/2…

Series 3…

Series 4…

Each series got that stage of Brexit right

Read 12 tweets
3 Jan
I wrote a 🧵 earlier about the state of the race to become the leader of the CDU (and probably become Merkel's successor as Chancellor of Germany)

This follow up thread explores one aspect more deeply: the interplay between candidates and polls

So what's the starting position?

CDU is 3% ⬆️ in the opinion polls now, compared to their result in 2017. But that 36% is a good bit below the 41.5% they secured in 2013.

In other words: 36% is good, but not stellar.

2/13 Image
Recall that the 33% from 2017 caused Merkel to be replaced by AKK as CDU party leader, so disappointed was the party with that result.

30% would result in some very serious questions being asked about the party's strategy.

Read 13 tweets
3 Jan
OK, so it's a fortnight away - the "Digital Party Conference" of the CDU to decide who the next party leader will be

And whoever wins this is going to have a good chance of being Chancellor, succeeding Merkel after the election in September this year
There are three main candidates in the running - all middle aged men from Nordrhein Westfalen
- Friedrich Merz
- Armin Laschet
- Norbert Röttgen
So who's going to win?

For ages it looked like Laschet was the clear front runner. Prime Minister of Nordrhein Westfalen (NRW), and with a kind of folksy-beergarten manner, it looked good for him.
Read 11 tweets
2 Jan
This is a deeply unpleasant reaction to @petergumbel’s very personal piece.

“Wink wink nudge nudge” - what is that, Matt? It might have escaped you that the piece says “My grandparents, who fled Nazi Germany for Britain”.

Would you *dare* say that about a minority?
Or - putting it another way - how dare those of us who’ve (thank goodness) never had parts of our family slaughtered by a dictatorial regime ever presume to judge how future generations of those families react at the personal level?
Also the piece says this: “Xenophobia and racism, presumed to be banished to the margins of public life, made an ugly return to the mainstream”

Which it has.
Read 5 tweets
31 Dec 20
UK academic takes the absolutist position of a provocative French journalist, and uses this as a mirror for his own absolutist position that the EU has not reflected about the impact of Brexit

The same academic is then criticised for this position - because that there has been *no* reflection in the EU is not the case - but then twists the words of those responses

For the record here is the search - not a single person replied to Menon saying the EU was perfect…
Read 7 tweets

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