It is at 20:45 this Thursday night when a young member of the CDU at Kulturwerft Gollan in Lübeck joins one of the room's microphones: it will ask the three candidates to finally clarify what they really are from the others .
General Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Federal Minister for Health Jens Spahn and former Union faction leader Friedrich Merz presented themselves in Lübeck for nearly three hours as candidates for the CDU presidency. Everyone was allowed to speak and present themselves in the former factory for ten minutes each. Then, following the thematic blocks, 20 questions followed the audience. More than 700 party members came to the first of the eight regional conferences distributed throughout Germany.
But what is the Kramp-Karrenbauer profile – unlike Merz's? And what does Spahn want others not to want?
Much smarter than before the event, you really are not in the end.
Video from Lübeck: "I liked Mr Spahn – amazing"
This is mainly due to the fact that CDU is somewhat in a luxury dilemma: it has three strong candidates for the success of Angela Merkel, who will chair the convention in early December in Hamburg. Inspiring Christian Democrats, we have to imagine them after the rather tedious past of Merkel as a Beautiful Sleeping Beauty that was kissed again awake. But at the same time, candidates do not like to exaggerate your competition. It should not oppose at all, which the parties in the Union have experienced enough in recent months.
The result is an evening like in Lübeck.
At one point, when asked about the subject of "America under the Tomb", which deals with China and the plastic issue of garbage, the candidates finally divided the answers: Merz says something USA, Kramp-Karrenbauer in Beijing and Spahn grew.
"We just have to choose all three," says one listener at a time. Of course, that is not possible. Eventually, only one will win. And if he manages to integrate the two losers, it will be interesting to look.
All three candidates announce their intention to re-launch the party and to hold more open debates. That's coming to the hall. The base looks hungry. Due to the surprisingly high popularity planned at the Mainz regional conference now moved to Idar-Oberstein in a larger hall, there have recently been several requests for transfer to the Internet at the CDU Berlin headquarters, some local associations are holding public sessions viewing.
But the format is sick, because the candidates talk too little to each other. Interaction takes place only between the room and them – but they are not among themselves.
What the members are experiencing: Kramp-Karrenbauer, aged 55, is always a little more conciliatory than the two gentlemen. Merz, aged 63, tries to stay true to the "Clear Messages" style. And Spahn dares to do something. He is by far the youngest member of the trio at the age of 38, who is said to have only outsider chances at the congress, so Spahn has the least to lose.
He contradicts Kramp-Karrenbauer because he complains about the shortage of women in the CDU and thinks about the appropriate measures in preparing the candidates. No, he says, this should be decided by local associations. And when Kramp-Karrenbauer asks if any technological innovation makes sense, for example the machine without a driver, Spahn intervenes: "I see huge opportunities in this regard."
Spahn's tips against his opponents
And Spahn does not move away from perforated oaks. "I would have liked to have you on board at that time," he said at the beginning of this evening, when he spoke of the crisis of the summer of 2015. This means: his opponent who withdrew from the Bundestag in 2009 and has earned a lot of money in the economy in recent years, it is now well said. No, of course, he did not want a fight, he says the span married a man at the end – and then remind them that Kramp-Karrenbauer put the marriage almost to the cross for everyone. And no, of course not taking this personally.
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Merz receives applause when proposing to be able to drive the CDU back to 40 percent and to halve AFD approval again. While Kramp-Karrenbauer complains about renouncing Christmas carols in kindergartens, she is applauded out loud. "This is not a form of tolerance, it is a form of cultural self-dwelling," says Kramp-Karrenbauer. And Spahn takes advantage of great applause in his commitment to dual education.
What does this mean for the December 7th elections in Hamburg? Very little. Again, a survey sees Kramp-Karrenbauer ahead – but only in the population. For Merz based on CDU it is likely to be the favorite, but even this is not relevant: At the congress, the 1001 delegates decide.
And it can happen a lot in Hamburg.
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