Friedrich Merz will be confirmed as the new CDU party chairman during a virtual party congress today.
Roughly 1,000 CDU delegates will meet to elect Merz as well as the entire CDU federal executive board. Back in December, Merz, a longtime rival of Angela Merkel, won the leadership poll with 62.1% of the vote. As the leader of Germany’s largest opposition party, Merz will become one of the most prominent critics of Chancellor Scholz’s new government. The victory was a remarkable comeback for Merz, who withdrew from politics over a decade ago after losing to Merkel and failed in two previous bids to win the CDU leadership.
Merz has presented himself as a conservative on social issues and is staunchly pro-business on economic policy. He and his supporters previously accused Merkel of moving the party too far to the left.
Expect the election today to run smoothly. Merz will face challenges however in reaching out to centrist voters who flocked to the CDU under Merkel. He also needs to establish his authority within Germany’s conservative branch in addition to building bridges with other leading political figures. Merz will likely advocate for pro-business legislation as Germany recovers economically from the coronavirus pandemic.
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Max is Foreign Brief's Chief Executive Officer. A Latin America specialist, Max is an expert in regional political and economic trends, focusing particularly on the Southern Cone.