The Guardian view on the CDU after Merkel: a fork in the road | Editorial

This week’s election of a new leader could see Europe’s most successful political party take a rightward turnThe re-emergence of Angela Merkel as Europe’s most durably competent politician has been one notable by-product of the Covid pandemic. After a rocky period at the polls, when her CDU party suffered a number of stinging regional defeats, Germany’s chancellor stepped down as its leader in 2018. At the same time, Ms Merkel announced she would not stand in federal elections due this autumn. But her calm authority and strategic clarity during the current crisis have led to stellar approval ratings of 70%. Following a serious pre‑Covid decline in the polls, the CDU, and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, have benefited from a knock-on effect. Far ahead of the Greens, their closest rivals, Germany’s Christian Democrats go into election year with an all but unassailable lead.In light of this turnaround, much of Ms Merkel’s party may wish she wasn’t departing the stage after all. But the die is cast. This week, the first outlines of the post-Merkel era will emerge, as the CDU chooses a new party leader - and the frontrunner to be their election candidate. For close to two decades, Ms Merkel’s brand of big-tent continuity centrism has held sway in the CDU. But the three-way contest looks like a significant fork in the road. It carries big implications for the European Union, as well as its most powerful member state. Continue reading...

The Guardian view on the CDU after Merkel: a fork in the road | Editorial

This week’s election of a new leader could see Europe’s most successful political party take a rightward turn

The re-emergence of Angela Merkel as Europe’s most durably competent politician has been one notable by-product of the Covid pandemic. After a rocky period at the polls, when her CDU party suffered a number of stinging regional defeats, Germany’s chancellor stepped down as its leader in 2018. At the same time, Ms Merkel announced she would not stand in federal elections due this autumn. But her calm authority and strategic clarity during the current crisis have led to stellar approval ratings of 70%. Following a serious pre‑Covid decline in the polls, the CDU, and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, have benefited from a knock-on effect. Far ahead of the Greens, their closest rivals, Germany’s Christian Democrats go into election year with an all but unassailable lead.

In light of this turnaround, much of Ms Merkel’s party may wish she wasn’t departing the stage after all. But the die is cast. This week, the first outlines of the post-Merkel era will emerge, as the CDU chooses a new party leader - and the frontrunner to be their election candidate. For close to two decades, Ms Merkel’s brand of big-tent continuity centrism has held sway in the CDU. But the three-way contest looks like a significant fork in the road. It carries big implications for the European Union, as well as its most powerful member state.

Continue reading...