Party conference in Nuremberg: CSU blows the attack

Status: 09/10/2021 9:00 a.m.

Not only the polls of the CDU are poor, also for the CSU in Bavaria two weeks before the federal election it does not look good. So the tone is set – before the CSU party congress.

By Kirsten Girschick, ARD capital studio

Markus Söder has long since built ahead. Already in August he declared after a presidium meeting of the CSU in Munich that he was not to blame. So at least not the CSU – because they depend on the federal trend in federal elections. And in the end it depends on the candidates – that is, on Armin Laschet. And: “We put up posters for Armin Laschet in detail. In detail. So we won’t let anyone accuse us of that.”

Söder’s message

In other words, if it goes wrong, it’s really not up to me. The message is also directed inwards – to your own MPs and party members. Because the CSU supports its chairmen especially when they ensure victories, as Edmund Stoiber and Horst Seehofer painfully experienced. In the 2017 federal election, the CSU scored almost ten percentage points worse than in the polls: last poll: 47 to 48 percent, election result 38.8. Söder then used this defeat to oust Seehofer as Bavarian Prime Minister.

But he has not yet come up with a better result himself. In the state elections in 2018, Söder managed to get three to four percentage points out of three to four percentage points with a furious final spurt and a last-minute swing from AfD-related rhetoric to clear AfD demarcation – the polls at that time were between 33 and 35 percent, to 37, 2, the CSU finally increased on election day.

Blume promises a “maximally closed” union

This time, too, the trend can still be turned – they are hoping for that two weeks before the election in the CSU. General Secretary Markus Blume promises that the party congress will see a “maximally closed” union. Söder emphasizes that the weekend offers the “last chance” to turn things around. And this time the CDU and CSU seem to have agreed on their choreography.

At noon, Laschet presented a “security agenda” in Berlin. In the afternoon, Söder is supposed to continue this thematic offensive, and on Saturday Laschet will again increase the thrust. On Sunday he should be in the Triell in the ARD submit a winning figure. And then present his 100-day program on Monday.

Warning of slipping to the left

In its lead proposal, the CSU has already given the direction in which this thematic offensive should go. It is an offer to the regular voters, the elderly and the worried middle class. Tenor: Internal security and financial security only exist with the Union. The CSU breaks down what it sees as the threatening consequences of a left-wing election victory, warns of tax increases, burdens and higher debts.

But whether the warning of slipping to the left catches on? If you talk to CSU MPs about the election campaign, they explain: The election campaign is nowhere near as aggressive as it was in 2017 – when they were abused at the stands for Merkel’s refugee policy. This time the mood is much more positive – until it comes to the candidate for chancellor.

“If I explain to people how well and silently Armin Laschet rules in North Rhine-Westphalia, then I can convince them,” said one MP. But she couldn’t speak to everyone now.

Criticism of Söder – also for his corona policy

There was also criticism of Söder at the election campaign stands. Not every CSU supporter believes that his attacks on Laschet are correct. And Söder’s corona policy is often addressed. As Prime Minister he did get a lot of approval for his strict approach – some election campaigners say – but unfortunately it did not come from his own electorate, but rather from the left political spectrum. On the other hand, regular voters from medium-sized businesses and restaurants have turned to some of the FDP and free voters.

His policy in the Corona crisis, which Söder has also received nationwide approval, could now reduce the CSU’s chances of being elected. Anyway, criticism from within one’s own ranks will only be expressed behind closed doors until after election day.

Ultimately, however, the descent in the CSU polls could do less harm than expected. Because the rise of the SPD in the polls could paradoxically secure more direct mandates for the CSU. If, for example, in the four Munich electoral districts, where it looked long after a clear first vote victory for the Greens, the votes are now again divided between red and green, the CSU could still get the direct mandates with almost 30 percent – and thus at least the absolute one Keep the number of their MPs almost the same.

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