Parties: CDU party conference: energy crisis, relief and quota in the center

Almost a year after its disaster in the federal elections, the CDU wants to make itself more attractive to women and young members.

Parties: CDU party conference: energy crisis, relief and quota in the center

Almost a year after its disaster in the federal elections, the CDU wants to make itself more attractive to women and young members. This Friday evening, the delegates at the CDU party conference in Hanover are to vote, among other things, on a quota for women. A controversial discussion is expected beforehand. The new party leader Friedrich Merz, who has been in office for a good seven months, wants to promote his compromise proposal for a quota limited to the end of 2029. So far, about 25 percent of party members are women.

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

In the discussion about the women's quota, the party is threatened with a crucial test. In party circles, the chances of approval of Merz's compromise proposal were rated at 50 to 50. If Merz cannot prevail with his compromise proposal, he would have suffered the first defeat of his tenure. For the quota system to come about, at least 501 delegates must vote for it - the majority of the 1001 delegates in total.

After the preparatory meetings of the leading bodies in Berlin, Secretary General Mario Czaja said with regard to the quota: "We are fighting to ensure that there is a majority for this motion." A close result is possible. "We fight to make it happen." The quota is just one measure to open up and expand the party, among others. Merz supports the corresponding proposal of the structure and statute commission of the CDU, which arose from the base of the party. All national associations took part in the discussion.

Economic wings and JU reject the women's quota

The commission's proposals were approved by the then party executive in September 2020. Because of the corona pandemic, the changes could not yet be decided by a party conference. The CDU has been arguing about the quota for decades. The business wing and the youth of the party from the Junge Union (JU) reject them. In the SPD or the Greens, for example, a women's quota has been established in different variants for years.

The quota proposal stipulates that by 2025, starting with board elections at district level, a women's quota of up to 50 percent should be gradually introduced. It also includes a 50 percent quota for the first ten list places in state, federal and European elections. A quota of 30 percent will apply on January 1, 2023, and 40 percent a year later. As before, the 50 percent mark should be reached by July 1, 2025. According to the Merz proposal, the quota should expire on December 31, 2029.

Does the party congress send a signal of renewal?

There are concerns in the CDU leadership that the quota dispute could overshadow the substantive debate on topics that are burning on people's nails. Too much self-employment could damage the signal that the party leadership wants the delegates' meeting to be capable of governing, according to internal sources.

The party conference officially begins at 1:00 p.m. In a speech that lasts about an hour, Merz wants to present the energy proposal. With the ten-page paper, the CDU wants to put the traffic light government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) under pressure to act with their own proposals to relieve citizens and companies of the high energy prices. Among other things, the draft application provides for a price cap for private households for a basic requirement for electricity and gas.

CDU wants more digital meetings

At the party congress, delegates also want to discuss several other organizational changes that should contribute to the renewal of the party. Some of the committee meetings are intended to be digital. This should enable young fathers and mothers to participate from home. On the way to a new basic program, a "Charter of Basic Values" is to be adopted. The party leadership wants to add the function of deputy general secretary to the party statutes. On Friday, at Merz's suggestion, Christina Stumpp, member of the Bundestag, is to be elected to this office.

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