CDU leader Friedrich Merz has called on his party to adopt an offensive opposition policy. "In order to give the country momentum, (...) we have to give ourselves momentum," said Merz, who is also the chairman of the Union faction, at the beginning of the federal party conference in Hanover.
For the first time in almost three years, the 1001 delegates are coming together in person. Because of the corona pandemic, there have recently only been digital party conferences.
Right from the start, Merz sharply attacked the traffic light government led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). Germany is going through difficult times and is possibly heading for a recession with a significant impact on the economy and jobs that were previously believed to be secure. "Especially at a time 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 exclaimed.
Merkel not present at the party congress
The CDU will also talk about itself at the party conference, he said with a view to the controversial plans to introduce a women's quota. "But it's more important that we talk about our country, about concrete solutions and what a CDU-led federal government would do differently to give it momentum."
CDU leader Friedrich Merz had proposed as a compromise that the regulation should expire at the end of 2029. About 25 percent of CDU members are currently female.
A woman who has shaped the party for decades is not present in Hanover: Angela Merkel has apologized and sent greetings, said Merz, who was long considered one of her biggest rivals.
SPD: Women's quota will enrich the CDU
The CDU is getting encouragement from an unfamiliar quarter. The SPD parliamentary group leader Katja Mast told the German Press Agency that she wanted the CDU to finally leave the "eternal clamor" about the quota behind. "Have the courage and believe me: the women's quota will enrich party work and politics."
The SPD has had a quota for more than 30 years. "Of course, the fight for equality doesn't stop there. But it makes it a lot easier."