In Munich is coming to an end, probably the longest and perhaps most wrong year in the history of CSU. It began with the defeat in the federal elections, led by the change in premiership, the bitter asylum dispute and the loss of the absolute majority in the state elections, and it now ended with the presumption of party presidency by Markus Söder. That it leached out all parties involved, showed the party congress. In the often announced & # 39; election analysis & # 39; it was no longer interested, and the spirit of optimism was painfully lying behind the broken rhetoric. It was appropriate that the congress was prematurely terminated because the quorum was absent – too many delegates had already left.
Horst Seehofer, who was forced to give up the party presidency, was satisfied when he left the conference. He himself had forbidden pathos and "self-exaltation". Cheers for him would indeed not have been in place, otherwise the question would have been why he should go anyway. But for the fact that he had led the party successfully for over ten years, the applause sounded too much during and after his speech.
Seehofer is on the one hand the loser of the past year. He, whom he absolutely wanted to prevent as prime minister, succeeded him not only in the state chancellery, but also in the headquarters of the party – and from that he even had to be nominated as honorary president. The fact that Seehofer survived political life, finally as federal minister of the Interior, says a lot about his political format. With all the mistakes he has recently made and as he could be more unhappy and reprehensible in the category, he could miss the party more, as it can currently admit. As the son of an employee without a diploma from high school and as a "Sacred Heart Socialist" he is a representative of that "bandwidth" against which the CSU is now struggling. The playfulness, the easy, the unpredictable, often accused of him, is also the Bavarian. Last but not least, he was always on the cross to show the rest of the Republic where Barthel is to have the must: of course in Bavaria.
Now it has to tear Söder. The fact that he not only survived the state election, despite 37.2 percent, but appears to be stronger, seems to have led him to a learning process rather than the belief in their own immortality. He knows that the conditions for the CSU to return to its old power are extremely difficult. In the period from 2008 to 2013, Seehofer succeeded in crushing the FDP in the government by embracing it. But as long as there are now three parties of which the voters could also mainly choose CSU – Free voters, AfD and FDP -, the absolute majority, which is still the CSU's claim, should be found for so long. The planned party reform is important to give the impression that it is, you have a strategy. But you just have to fill them with life, as vice-chairman of the CSU, Dorothee Bär, said. Incidentally, it is not only the example of the SPD that shows that reforming the party does little if the world around it changes deeply.
Party with strong substance
The fragmentation of society into millions of parties makes the CSU difficult to deal with. But it is also an opportunity for her. Man remains a social being, and how uncomfortable he feels, the more he longs for home. Negative, this shows nationalism, which despite all individualisation can not be killed. Why would there not be a positive renaissance of the People's Party? But then there are people who also radiate that: reliability, credibility. This was not the specialty of Söder. Although he made noticeable progress, he admitted on Saturday that there was still "a bit of hard work" ahead of him.
What can help him: a party that still has a "strong substance" (Seehofer) compared to others. That starts with the finances, goes beyond the municipal anchoring and does not stop at the big story. A windfall for the CSU is that at the head of the CDU a new woman is standing, namely the Saarlander Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who, as she showed at the party congress on Saturday, was willing to treat and accept the sister party, as it just needs: as something very special.
Angela Merkel did not have a sensorium for it. It could also be an advantage that Manfred Weber prepares a CSU politician to become EU Commission President. That could at least mobilize the tired members. At the moment he and Söder work well together. But the litmus test does not follow until the end of May: with the result of the European elections for the CSU and the way in which the new chairman reacts, especially if it does not go as planned.