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Armin Laschet at the 31st party conference of the CDU in Germany in Hamburg , Messe Hamburg. Image: Olaf Kosinsky ( License: CC BY-SA 3.0-de []

Armin Laschet to lead Angela Merkel’s CDU as new chairman

The Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous of the 16 states of Germany, Armin Laschet was elected as the new CDU chairman at the digital CDU party conference on Saturday. In the runoff election he prevailed with 521 votes against his toughest competitor Friedrich Merz (466 votes). In a nutshell, the party establishment pushed through its candidate, while the voter's candidate failed.

Published: January 18, 2021, 9:35 am

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    Armin Laschet replaces as chair of the party Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and takes over a party that has been completely gutted in terms of content. “Good luck with what you plan to do now,” were the eloquent words of the loser to the winner. Merz won the first round of voting, with 385 votes to Laschet’s 380 and Norbert Röttgen’s 224. The undoubtedly great disappointment among those CDU members and supporters who had relied on Merz, could lead to split-offs and the establishment of a new party, which could form a kind of traditional CDU together with a Meuthen faction in the AfD.

    The third candidate Norbert Röttgen received the fewest votes in the first round, but managed to split the vote for Merz to the advantage of Laschet. For the AfD, the election of Laschet nine months before the general election is good news however. The agricultural policy spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group, Stephan Protschka, member of the federal executive committee, told PI-NEWS: “With Armin Laschet, the Union is now moving even further to the left and clearing the way for a government with the Greens. The Union has thus failed to become a real conservative party again. That is why the AfD is now more important than ever before.”

    The chairman of the AfD parliamentary group in North Rhine-Westphalia, Markus Wagner, wrote in a press release: “With the election of Armin Laschet as the new chairman and thus traditionally designated candidate for chancellor, the CDU has sent an important political signal: Angela Merkel will continue to remain chancellor, but from 2021 possibly in the form of a friendly smiling emissary with no real creative power or even ideas.”

    Wagner added: “After all, Friedrich Merz himself gave the impression of being a beacon of hope for the economy and conservative values, but the CDU gave up on this claim many years ago and with this election has once again made it clear that it has no prospects for the future of our country.”

    The AfD member of the Bundestag Dr. Roland Hartwig commented on Facebook about the election of Laschet: “What does that mean for us as an alternative for Germany?” Hartwig listed the consequences for his party:

    “1. For the foreseeable future, we will be the only conservative force that wants to keep Germany as a nation-state!
    2. The CDU will seamlessly continue the political and economic decline of our country under Merkel!
    3. From autumn in Germany will have to endure a black-green government!
    4. Unity and the awareness of historical responsibility for our country and our people are the order of the day.”

    EU MP Maximilian Krah noted on Twitter: “Armin Laschet is exactly the chairman that the CDU deserves and the AfD needs!What must actually happen before ‘bourgeois conservatives’ understand that the CDU will not return to the pre-Merkel party? This party will never be conservative again. Anyone who wants conservative politics has to support the AfD, everything else is nonsense!”

    Everything thus went as expected for the Chancellor, since the majority of the CDU delegates made the decision that Merkel, the mainstream media outlet FAZ and the Greens wanted, namely Armin Laschet. In addition, the AfD may be relieved that Friedrich Merz did not manage to get the hoped-for starting position for the candidacy in his second attempt. Laschet, however still has other contenders in the fight for the top position in Germany. Both Health Minister Jens Spahn and Corona profiteer, the Minister President of Bavaria Markus Söder will see the election of the North Rhine-Westphalian Minister President as a good chance to become a candidate for Chancellor themselves.

    The repeated failure of Merz also removes the very last illusions of those who still hoped for a somewhat more conservative turnaround by the CDU. Laschet, on the other hand, is the surest guarantee that Merkel’s left-wing course will continue. And it is precisely this course that the majority of delegates supported by electing Laschet. When Merkel faced strong opposition from her party with hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving in Germany in 2015, Laschet remained a faithful ally. The leftist media will certainly applaud that and the power-hungry Söder will no doubt exploit that.

    For the conservatives in Germany one thing is clear: With Laschet at the top of the CDU, things are clearly heading in the direction of a coalition with the Greens. Laschet is known for his liberal views and maintained good relations with the immigrant community, earning him the nickname “Turkish Armin”. In 2009 Laschet published the non-fiction book The Rising Republic. Immigration as an opportunity , with the assistance of ministry staff. He donated the fee and claimed the donation in his tax return without specifying the fee as income.

    In 2015 Laschet was forced to give up his teaching position at the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, after some students received a grade although they had not even taken the exam. The exam, corrected by Laschet “got lost in the mail” and he “reconstructed” the grades based on his notes, he claimed but the institution rejected the obvious falsehood and his credibility in the academic education sector was shaken by the scandal.

    Despite that, the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany (UpJ) awarded him the Israel Jacobson Prize, honoring his services to liberal Judaism and the strengthening of Jewish life in North Rhine-Westphalia in March 2020.

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