Brinkhaus renounces parliamentary group chairmanship in favor of Merz


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Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU). © Kay Nietfeld / dpa

Union faction leader Brinkhaus has pulled the ripcord. If he was a candidate against the new CDU leader Merz, he would hardly have had a chance.

Berlin – Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus has decided not to run again for the parliamentary group chairmanship in favor of the future CDU chairman Friedrich Merz.

Brinkhaus announced this in a letter to the members of the Bundestag from the CDU and CSU, which was available to the German Press Agency in Berlin. Brinkhaus proposes to elect the new parliamentary group leader on February 15th.

Brinkhaus was originally elected until the end of April. With his move, he avoids a renewed power struggle in the CDU before the important state elections in Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia in March and May, which would have burdened the election campaigns.

Brinkhaus writes that Merz informed him that he would definitely apply for the group chairmanship. “It’s no secret that Friedrich Merz and I have different opinions regarding the chairmanship of the parliamentary group, which we have not been able to resolve. I think we both have good reasons for our positions.”

“There must be no dissent that damages the Union – especially in view of the upcoming state elections, the results of which are so decisive for us,” added the parliamentary group leader. He therefore suggests clarifying things quickly and bringing forward the upcoming election of the parliamentary group leader at the end of April “to the next plenary week, i.e. to February 15, 2022”.

Brinkhaus announced that he would then no longer stand as a candidate for parliamentary group chairmanship. At the same time, he asked the MPs to “support and carry the new group leader in the same way that I was supported and carried by the group. Because this is the only way we will continue to be successful.”

He will “of course” remain in the parliamentary group as a member of parliament “and, as before, will contribute with great commitment and joy to the success of our joint Christian Democratic and Christian Social project”.

Merz was elected future CDU chairman by delegates at an online party conference on Saturday with 94.62 percent of the votes according to CDU calculations. The election still has to be confirmed by a subsequent postal vote. The result will be announced this Monday.

Brinkhaus recently said: “If the group wants that and if the group elects me, then I’ll be happy to continue after April 30.”

In December, in the first member survey of the CDU for the party chairmanship, Merz was chosen with 62.1 percent as the successor to Armin Laschet, who had failed as a candidate for chancellor. Merz is the third CDU leader since Angela Merkel announced in 2018 that she would step down from the party leadership after 18 years. dpa


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