In a matter of hours, Merkel will let the witness of the centre-right German. The chancellor left the presidency of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) after 18 years as head of the party, giving rise to a transition full of suspense. On Friday, the CDU will elect a new president in Hamburg and at this point there are no reliable surveys that allow to guess a result crucial for the future of the party and of Germany. Because the new head of the CDU, the largest party of the country, has great potential to end up as the new German chancellor. But who will choose exactly the successor of Merkel in Hamburg?.
The key of the German transition have 1.001 men and women. Are the so-called “delegates” and the only ones who will vote in the congress of Hamburg. The sum of their votes will decide who is the winner. Some of them are people with positions in the party, but not all. There are members of parliament, mayors, members of the youth organization and simple affiliates, chosen before of knowing that, on this occasion, the congress was going to be existential for the party. His preference is at this point largely unknown.
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for weeks, the German press publishes the voting preferences among the voters of the CDU. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, alias AKK, the candidate preferred by Merkel, it leads to Friedrich Merz, a successful business man. A third of those polled stated that they were undecided. But in addition, they want the affiliate does not have to coincide with the preferences of the delegates, whose identity insured party is protected by data-protection laws and on which there are no soundings. "We know what to vote for, the voter and the CDU, but delegates did not know anything", says Peter Matuschek, a researcher in the house of polls Forsa. The result is totally open.
In general, delegates are more people involved in the party members. Jan Redmann is one of the famous delegates who will vote in Hamburg and explains to this newspaper that what is distinguished from the affiliates or the average voter is that they “think more strategically, not unimpressed both by the rhetoric of one or the other and think what a candidate can win the TOU to the next general elections”. Redmann is 38 years old and is a deputy regional in Brandenburg, in addition to practice as a lawyer.
The identity of the delegates is not public, but it is known that one third of them are women, according to a survey published in the German press and also how many delegates is each Land. North rhine-Westaflia, the most populous, and the State of where that came from Merz and Jens Spahn, the third candidate in contention, is best represented by 296 delegates. But it is at the same time, the State in which it listens to the strength of the wing more of a social party, which in principle represents AKK. The State of Saarland, where it comes from AKK, but has only 34 delegates and Bremen, is the least, 5.
The article 28 of the statute of the CDU is the one that regulates the figure of the delegate and explains that they are chosen by the federations of the State, district or municipality. 800 are designated in proportion to the members of the party in each Land. The rest, 200, in relation to the number of votes obtained in the last elections. And the rest corresponds to the delegation of Brussels, the only overseas.
Another delegate, Andreas von Gehlen, professional soldier, coincides in that vote, “taking into account the long-term and thinking about how to maintain the status of the CDU as the party more influential. It seeks to highlight the differences with the social democrats and especially the Greens”. Von Gehlen believes that the surveys of voters that are published these days “have only limited influence on the delegates”.
neither they Nor many affiliates consulted dare to make predictions. Some agree that the charisma and the oratory of Merz have been convinced in these weeks, many of those who yearn for a true renewal in the party, and who see the opportunity in Merz, a man of business that it takes ten years out of active politics. But at the same time insist that it is not the time to allow oneself to be carried away by emotions.
What is certain is that some members and delegates seem to have these days a calculator on the head in that range by adding and subtracting the various factors that it considered relevant. One of them is the age of Merz. Is 63 years old. Merkel has said that she aspires to finish his term in 2021. Then, Merz would be of retirement age, which for some means that to succeed the applicant would have interest in taking the foreign ministry as soon as possible. And that, for many would be a source of instability, unwanted in a time in which there is excessive thirst of elections.
Think at the same time, maybe Merz, in theory something more conservative, is capable of reducing to the extreme right as he has promised, but also think that AKK, more centrist, you can stop the spectacular rise of The Green. So, one after another, the cabal tend to infinity in the corridors of the regional conferences, which candidates have held around the country.
The tabloid Bild published the last weekend of an investigation that put a face to most of the delegates, against the recommendation of the party and risking penalties in the millions. Contacted hundreds of them, but only 269 news about your preference. 144 of them said they would vote for Merz in front of 96, that would by AKK. But these data have to catch them with tweezers, because the respondents were mostly volunteers, while professional politicians, whose salary depends on how well or how badly the go to the party, they held their peace.