CDU party conference: CDU committed to opposition course - Yes to the women's quota

With sharp attacks on the traffic light coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), CDU leader Friedrich Merz tried to prepare his party for a tough opposition course.

CDU party conference: CDU committed to opposition course - Yes to the women's quota

With sharp attacks on the traffic light coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), CDU leader Friedrich Merz tried to prepare his party for a tough opposition course. A year after the Union's disaster in the federal elections, he called on the delegates at the CDU party conference in Hanover to work together to become "the determining political force in our country" again. "Let's show this claim to leadership." In the evening, the party congress voted with a large majority for the gradual introduction of a women's quota. He followed a compromise proposal from Merz.

After decades of discussion in the CDU, 559 delegates voted for the women's quota. The compromise stipulates that this will be limited to the end of 2029. After a passionate debate lasting almost two hours, 409 delegates voted against the new regulation, 11 abstained. With the approval, Merz was spared the first internal party setback in his seven-month term in office.

A total of 36 speakers spoke in the quota debate, including 6 men. The opponents of a quota - including many young women - argued that this was only symbolic politics. The problem is not getting into politics, but the compatibility of family and political commitment. One group should not be placed above others in the party, this is a forced redistribution of offices.

Günther and Wüst are supporters

The supporters, who included Prime Ministers Hendrik Wüst (North Rhine-Westphalia) and Daniel Günther (Schleswig-Holstein) as well as former party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, emphasized that it was about giving women more opportunities. Mixed teams also work more creatively and successfully.

Merz, who was the last speaker to speak, said it was "a signal to the outside world that we are taking this topic seriously". More than 50 percent of voters in Germany are women. He yelled, "Are we serious about practically ignoring this problem and saying we don't need to talk about a solution here?"

The CDU had fallen into the opposition in the 2021 federal election with the historically worst Union result of 24.1 percent after 16 years in government of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).

Criticism of traffic lights because of the energy crisis

In his party speech, Merz attacked the traffic light government harshly because of how they were dealing with the energy crisis. "Especially at a time like this, when leadership, a clear course and action are required, our country is affording what is probably one of the weakest federal governments of all time," he said. With a view to current survey values, Merz emphasized: "We are back in first place among the German parties."

Merz said that if the party congress sent the right signals, this could help win the election in Lower Saxony on October 9 with CDU top candidate Bernd Althusmann. So 2022 could be "one of the most successful years in our party history".

Merz demanded a course correction in energy policy from Scholz. "Stop this red, green and yellow ship of fools on this course you are on," he shouted to the cheers of the delegates. He attacked Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) particularly sharply. The country's problems cannot be solved with children's books and philosophy alone, Merz wrote in the direction of Habeck, citing the title of Habeck's book "Little Heroes, Big Adventures". He continued: "We are not Bullerbü. We are the fourth largest industrial nation in the world, which cannot afford to set up a trainee program for federal economics ministers."

Merz sharply rejected allegations from traffic lights that the Union, with its policies of the past 16 years, was solely responsible for Germany's dependence on Russian gas. To have made oneself so dependent was "great political stupidity" and naive. This must now be corrected. "But I will not allow the impression to be given in Germany that these were 16 years for the CDU and CSU alone." 20 out of 24 of the past years have had Social Democrats in government in Germany. "They bear at least the same responsibility for this stupidity and for this naivety and for these mistakes."

The CDU leader warned of anti-Semitism from the political left. "Anti-Semitism doesn't get better because it comes from the left," he said. "We have to defend ourselves from both sides in this country against what is happening here and make it clear that there is zero tolerance in Germany." Merz drew a sharp dividing line between the CDU and AfD. "Never and at no point" will there be cooperation between the CDU and CSU and the AfD, he said - "not in the federal government, not in the states, not in Europe".

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