Notes de l'Ifri Notes du Cerfa

Uncertain Times Lie Ahead. The CDU at the End of the Merkel Era Notes du Cerfa, No.157, Ifri, December 2020

Since 2018, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU - Christlich Demokratische Union) has been confronted with a long-lasting leadership crisis. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Merkel’s favorite candidate for the position of party leader, was not able to maintain herself at the top of the party and resigned after only 15 months.

Among the three candidates for her succession Armin Laschet and Friedrich Merz are those who are the most likely to be successful in this endeavor. Whether they will at the same time become candidates for the chancellery remains fraught with uncertainty. The Party leader of the CSU (Christlich-Soziale Union - Christian Social Union) may also be a potential further contender.

The effects of Merkel’s ending leadership on the CDU-CSU’s chances to win the election are unclear even though these parties enjoy a high approval rate following a globally satisfactory corona crisis management. As the SPD (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands - Social Democratic Party of Germany), the Green Party and The Left (Die Linke), and alternatively, the SPD, The Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP - Freie Demokratische Partei) have abandoned their former objections against a respective coalition, the preservation of a strategic majority may also be challenged.


Frank Decker is Professor at the Department for Political Sciences and Sociology at the University of Bonn since 2001. Since 2011 he has been acting as the Scientific Director of the Bonn Academy for Research and Teaching in Practical Politics (Bonner Akademie für Forschung und Lehre praktischer Politik – BAPP).


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Angela Merkel Angela Merkel's successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer Christian Democratic Union (CDU) German federal election 2021 Grand coalition Germany