Armin Laschet, leader of the CDU Christian Democrats, is preparing to resign from the leadership of the party. The news, which had already emerged in the German media during the day, was indirectly confirmed at a press conference in Berlin. Laschet did not formalize his immediate farewell but open to his succession at the helm of the CDU. The “renewal” of the party leaders, he said, will have to be “dealt with quickly” in a congress, with a date to be announced soon. The hypothesis of a Jamaican coalition between CDU, Verdi and Liberals remains on the plate. “The project will not fail for a matter of names,” he added.
The departure of Laschet, president of North Rhine-Westphalia, is not a surprise. The CDU, partly due to a disastrous electoral campaign, collected the worst result since the postwar period in the elections of 26 September, with 24.1% of the votes and a drop of about 9% compared to the previous elections. The party that has dominated the political landscape in Germany with Angela Merkel over the last 16 years has had to settle for a second place – albeit in size – compared to 25.7% of the Social Democrats.
But to put an end to Laschet’s CDU presidency was a double defeat. In addition to the disaster of the elections, Laschet exposed himself to a second fiasco: he did not want to admit that he had lost, he did not accept defeat but rather vigorously re-launched a Jamaica coalition project with the Greens and the liberals, in competition with the coalition Semaphore of Spd, Verdi and Fdp. Laschet went against a large section of his party, which would have liked to throw in the towel immediately to avoid humiliation and yet another defeat on the Jamaica front.
The CDU’s problems are long-standing: they took off in the 2017 elections, with the worst outcome since the postwar period but still above 30%, and continued in 2018 when Angela Merkel resigned after the disastrous elections in Hesse. The turbulence that hit the CDU continued in 2019-2020 with the fiasco of the presidency of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and continued with the weak leadership of Laschet.