Macron’s approach to Merkel successor discussed by expert
Mr Laschet beat rival Friedrich Merz in a digital leadership election last weekend but has faced mounting scrutiny over statements he made in the past defending Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Assad regime in Syria.
Now, Christian von Stetten, the chairman of the Mittelstand parliamentary group (PKM) of the Union faction has warned many party members have toyed the idea of leaving.
He said: “If Merz is not involved at the top, we are not talking about hundreds of exits, but thousands.”
Mr von Stetted added the new party leader must ensure business-friendly policies end up in the election manifesto in the Bundestag election campaign.
He continued: “As members of parliament, it is difficult for us to advertise an election programme if we are not convinced of it.”
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Whether Mr Laschet or CSU boss Markus Soder were to become the candidate for chancellor, party economists have demanded a clear commitment.
They said: “We will demand from him: no taxes and no tax increases.
“That would be poison for the economy and the hard-working in our society, regardless of whether in our society, regardless of whether it was a wealth tax, a property levy or another kind of levy after the coronavirus crisis.”
Back in 2018, the German Chancellor announced she would stand down as leader of the Christian Democrat Union (CDU) at the party convention and would not seek a fifth term this year.
Many said Ms Merkel’s long-time rival Mr Merz’s election candidacy was personal following a turbulent relationship between the two politicians.
Mr Merz and Ms Merkel have had a turbulent relationship after the Chancellor drove him out as head of the party’s group of MPs in the Bundestag in 2002.
The lawyer dismissed the accusations he has a score to settle with Ms Merkel as “absurd”.
Last year, Ms Merkel’s chosen successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, resigned.
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Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer announced she would step down as CDU leader following a controversial election in the German state of Thuringia.
The centre-right CDU voted with the far-right and anti-immigrant Alternative for Deutschland (AFD).
Mr von Stetten has widely criticised the German Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Federal Association of German Industry (BDI) and the Federal Association of Employer’s Associations (BDA) have been accused of not caring about the risk of the virus.
But Mr von Stetten has lashed out at associations claiming he was “deeply disappointed”.
He said: “I am deeply disappointed with the major business associations, the BDI and the BDA.
“You didn’t hear from the associations when it came to abolishing senseless rules or preventing taxes that were incurred by entrepreneurs with no profit or business.
“They should represent it.
“But they primarily make sure that the state pays all the costs of short-time work by the end of the year.
“This costs the general public dearly and above all protects large companies.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
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