HThere are busy weeks between Thomas Strobl. Since the CDU’s defeat in the federal elections, the state chairman of the CDU Baden-Württemberg has been traveling tirelessly to district and district party conferences. The mood among the members of the CDU in the southwest is bad, so that Strobl’s re-election as state chairman is not certain. Low hurdles have already been set for the result: 60 percent are considered a good result. There were occasional calls for resignation from the district associations of South Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern.
Strobl had supported the chancellor candidate and loser Armin Laschet – as did his father-in-law Wolfgang Schäuble. “What does Strobl actually want to save if he can no longer convince the people in his constituency?”, District Administrator Günther-Martin Pauli (CDU) had given to consider a few weeks ago. When Strobl became General Secretary in 2005, the CDU in Baden-Württemberg received 44 percent of the vote; in the latest opinion poll, it is now 17 percent behind the SPD. That was just “a frustrated”, it was said in the Strobl environment.
To calm the party base, Agriculture Minister Peter Hauk had to make a sacrifice for his party colleague and forego a renewed candidacy for the district chairmanship in North Baden. Afterwards, ministers and CDU grandees spoke out in organized regularity in favor of Strobl’s course: The parliamentary group chairman Manuel Hagel praised Hauk’s exemplary conservative stance to clear the way for younger politicians; Economics Minister Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut also spoke out in favor of the re-election of Strobel, who was unable to win his direct mandate in Heilbronn in the state elections.
The economics minister, who would never have become minister without Strobl’s help, accidentally sent her appeal for support from the press office of her ministry – and had to call him back. Before the party congress, Strobl came to terms with all of the young politicians who could theoretically have run a fight against him at the state party congress: they all renounced in advance.
On Monday it was said from the district association of South Baden that there might be an opposing candidate. It is unlikely that it will be a prominent CDU politician, but a 60 percent result looks better with an opposing candidate. The current Secretary of State for Transport, Steffen Bilger, wants to become deputy federal chairman of the CDU.
With his “Operation Stability and Reliability” Strobl wants to stabilize the green-black coalition and gain time: Hagel could become state chairman in two years. He would then be 35 years old and the most promising candidate for the top candidate in 2026. 35 years is also the minimum age to be elected Prime Minister in Baden-Württemberg.