Downwind from Lower Saxony? –

The CDU was defeated in the federal election a year ago. Merz had to straighten out the party. Victories in regional elections have a galvanizing effect. A win in Lower Saxony would suit Merz very well.

Things started badly for Friedrich Merz, the CDU’s newly elected leader: two months after taking office, the first regional elections in March coincided with a crushing defeat for the CDU in Saarland. It has come down from 40.7 percent to 28.5 percent. Minister-President Tobias Hans was elected from the government. The next morning, the leader of the Merz party announced the motto for the yet-to-be-elected Berlin election: “We are not here in a short distance race, but here we are in a marathon race”.

Anita Funfinger

Anita Funfinger
ARD Capital Studio

After the defeat in the Saarland, hopes rested on Daniel Gunther in Schleswig-Holstein. He succeeded. Like Hendrik Wust in North Rhine-Westphalia a week later. According to electoral research, these victories have more to do with local leaders and less with party leadership in Berlin. Gunther, in particular, was never considered a strong supporter of Merz. At Konrad Adenauer’s house, Secretary General Mario Saja explained things this way: Lander’s positive result gives Mers wind in its sails.

MERS and quota of women

This summer, the CDU was in the midst of a content transformation. Upon taking office, Mers promised to make the party more modern and feminine. It was only late that the party leader decided to propose a temporary quota for women in the party. His motto has always been: If we can’t find anything better.

At the party conference in Hanover, the opponents of women’s quota, mostly young people, had many ideas and fought passionately against the idea, but they failed to change the mood. Merz’s proposal won a majority, if not a majority. If the quota for women had failed, Mers would have been scratched.

Merz failed to unite all CDU factions on quotas for women. Above all the conservatives and the Jung Union felt disappointed by their president, although they contributed greatly to his election. How to integrate the disillusioned? Shortly after, Merz spoke of “social tourism” in an interview with Bild, referring to the growing number of refugees from Ukraine. They “go to Germany, come back to Ukraine, come back to Germany, come back to Ukraine,” Merz said. Even many party members thought it was a trick. The CDU leader backed down the next day. If he has offended someone, he apologizes. A few days later, he went further, accusing the Ampel government of creating “perverse incentives” with social benefits for refugees.

On the election campaign in Lower Saxony

An electoral victory for the CDU in Lower Saxony would be the perfect end to Merz’s election year. Although Minister-President Stefan Weil’s SPD is leading the polls, CDU challenger Bernd Althusmann is not without chances. Merz has made numerous campaign appearances in recent days. A second vote for the CDU in Lower Saxony is a second vote for the CDU in all of Germany. During regional elections, Merz always keeps an eye on the federal CDU.

In the latest DeutschlandTrend, the CDU is well ahead of the chancellor party, the SPD. Ampelin was satisfied with the government, and many of his ministers became popular. However, Friedrich Merz also failed to increase his values.

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