BlackRock boss Merz applies to head Germany’s ruling CDU
1 November 2018
Influential business, political and media circles are using the political crisis following the Grand Coalition government’s election disaster in Bavaria and Hesse to bring about a sharp shift to the right in German politics. This is the background to Friedrich Merz’s candidature to be party chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the media hype being organised around him.
After Chancellor Angela Merkel’s announcement that she would resign as party leader at the CDU party conference on December 8, the Bild, Handelsblatt and Welt newspapers announced on Monday that Merz would apply for CDU chairmanship. On Tuesday, Merz announced his candidacy himself. On Wednesday, he held a press conference in Berlin.
Since then, leading media outlets have feverishly promoted him. Merz is being celebrated as a “saviour” who “electrifies” the party. Flash polls predict he will have high approval ratings. Regional conferences and even a vote inside the party are also under discussion in order to elect Merz as the new CDU chairman. It is an open secret that his real goal is not the CDU headquarters, but the chancellery.
The intensity of the hype around Merz stands in stark contrast to the actual extent of his support. Hardly any other German politician so openly and nakedly embodies the interests of capital and combines this with an arch-conservative policy that would also qualify him as the leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
Merz withdrew from active politics starting in 2004, after having been ousted two years earlier by Angela Merkel as CDU parliamentary party leader. Since then, he has mainly been active as a lobbyist; in the last two and a half…