Could the Union have won the election, Minister?
For an election that ends up being so close, the following applies: fewer mistakes and we could have won the election.
Which mistakes were decisive?
Above all, the most important question of who will be the chairman and who will be the candidate for chancellor was made so shortly before the election that there was no time to prepare properly for the election campaign. This resulted in a number of mistakes.
Was the behavior of the Bavarian Prime Minister Söder a problem? Chancellor candidate Laschet has now publicly complained about his interference.
The alliance between the CDU and CSU is now important to me. If the union is not closed, it cannot be successful. And when the CDU and CSU are at odds, the rift always goes through the CDU, because we also have many friends of the CSU. This is especially true in the Hessian CDU, to which I belong.
Close ranks? Is that possible with Markus Söder?
A close alliance with Markus Söder is of course possible.
You have made it clear in the past that you would like to remain in a ministerial office. How hard have you been hit by the Union’s defeat?
Such a historically bad election result, especially a few weeks after polls showed 35 percent possible, is of course a hard blow. Leaving government after 16 years is not easy. Opposition is crap.
Opposition is crap – says the CDU member Braun or the citizen and democrat Braun?
That’s what the Christian Democrat Helge Braun says. There is always a government, but a good government led by the CDU has always done Germany good.
What do you think is wrong with the plans of the traffic light coalition?
I am very concerned about financial policy. Solid budgets on a clear legal basis are essential. At the traffic light I already have the feeling that back doors should be opened. So one seems to want to adhere to the debt brake on the face of it, but is secretly looking for debt opportunities. That would be completely wrong.
You started the discussion that the debt brake should be dealt with differently.
I was never in favor of suspending the debt brake, but rather developing it so that it could not be circumvented and narrowing the scope for debt than the natural disaster rule in the Basic Law provides. It now shows how important that would have been.
Now the CDU members should decide who will be the next chairman. So far there has been little enthusiasm in the CDU for so much influence from the grassroots.
This year we had the fundamental problem that the decisions of the leadership were viewed very critically by the CDU base and were ultimately unsuccessful. Now it is about a reconciliation between leadership and grassroots. The new personnel board is to be carried by the base. That is why the member survey is now the right way to go.
Will there now be a time for the CDU to find itself and to transition? For example with a chairman Friedrich Merz, who moderates such a collection phase until the CDU is completely on its own again.
I am sure that Friedrich Merz, if he is running, does not want his application to be seen as a temporary solution. After three major coalitions, some voters may think that it doesn’t matter who is in power. But that’s not true. There are large, fundamental differences in value between the parties. The CDU members are aware of this, but we have to make the voters aware of them again. Such a process may take a while, but for it to work, it has to be fun and driven by everyone from the start.
Can you have fun with Friedrich Merz in this context?
Of course you can have fun with Friedrich Merz!
Do you have a favorite?
The members decide. For an exciting member survey, I hope for a field of candidates with real alternatives.
The big topic of the second half of your term of office is Corona. The three parties, which are preparing to form a coalition, have already presented their plans for further dealing with the pandemic. How do you rate these plans?
The basic approach of the traffic light partners that certain measures are no longer necessary in view of the high vaccination rate – such as general closings – is correct. What is very irritating, however, is that the SPD, Greens and FDP give the impression that the pandemic is already over and that all that is needed is a few low-threshold, follow-up measures. That doesn’t fit at all with the current infection situation. We are in a huge fourth wave.