- JU boss Paul Ziemiak has risen to become General Secretary of the CDU, and Tilman Kuban and Stefan Gruhner are bidding to succeed him.
- If the Thuringian Gruhner win, for the first time an East German would be at the head of the Junge Union.
- The Kuban Lower Saxony would be the first JU boss to sit in the European Parliament.
- With over 100,000 members, the Junge Union is the largest political youth organization in Europe.
Although the Junge Union is a youth organization, there is an amazing continuity at its head. In the past twenty years, there were just three chairpersons. For this reason too, the attention of the CDU this Saturday is on the Germany Day of the Junge Union – with a good 100,000 members, the JU is the largest political youth organization in Europe. Paul Ziemiak, the previous chairman, has risen to become General Secretary of the CDU, so a successor must be elected. CDU boss Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and CSU boss Markus Söder will also be coming to the meeting in the Berlin Congress Center. Immediately after the speeches of the two party chairmen, the election of the Ziemiak successor should begin.
There are two candidates to choose from and the race is considered open. So far, only one thing is certain: Unlike in the past twenty years, the new boss will not come from North Rhine-Westphalia. Because Florian Braun, the chairman of the by far largest JU-Landesverbandes, prefers to continue to care for his career in North Rhine-Westphalia. And so the way to the top is free for the Lower Saxony Tilman Kuban or the Thuringian Stefan Gruhner.
Should Gruhner win, an East German would be at the head of the Junge Union for the first time. That in the autumn state elections in Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia pending and in the CDU top East Germans are so far sparsely represented, speaks for Gruhner. The 34-year-old is considered a modern conservative, some compare him with Jens Spahn. This is also because Gruhner is homosexual. In sociopolitical issues, he has more progressive views, in domestic politics, he is quite rigid. He is proud to be a member of a beating relationship.
"Stormy and earthy" – so Kuban does not feel bad
Gruhner studied history and politics. Before he was elected to the Thuringian state parliament in 2014, he was a personal advisor to the then Prime Minister Christine Lieberknecht. His constituency (Saale-Orla I) he won directly, in autumn he wants to defend his mandate. In Thuringia, the CDU is in the polls practically on par with the left and the AfD. Gruhner therefore says he is "politically on the front line". In his state, the only Prime Minister of the left rules. And in his constituency, the AfD was the strongest party in the Bundestag election in some communities. Gruhner believes that dealing with the left and the right is one of the key challenges for the CDU – and his experience can help. Its national association puts on the Germany day only six of the 320 delegates. But he is supported, among others, by the large associations North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse.
Gruhner's opponent Tilman Kuban can count among other things on the Bayern. In addition, his camp points out that the JU heads of state of North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse Gruhner only with 9: 8 or 8: 7 votes have recommended. Kuban is currently running for the European Parliament – his list is so good that his election is considered safe. The 31-year-old studied law, and is now head of the legal department at the Lower Saxony Business Association.
Kuban would be the first JU boss to sit in the European Parliament. His opponents admit that he would not have enough time to chair the JU because of the necessary commuting between Strasbourg and Berlin. But Kuban does not want to accept that. His camp points out that even Gruhner would have other tasks to do – such as the defense of his state mandate. In addition, Gruhner would only be a transitional leader, because he would exceed the applicable at the JU age limit of 35 years before the next regular election.
Kuban was not in a striking relationship, but he has not been known by leftist debauchery. On the contrary, in October 2015, when many were still on the Refugee Welcome course, Kuban co-signed a letter from CDU politicians to the Chancellor, in which Angela Merkel's course was heavily criticized. Kuban presents himself as a shirt-sleeved man from the grassroots. He does not feel bad about the line "Sturmfest und erdverwachsen" from the Niedersachsen Song. He points to being head of the committee for fire, sports, culture and order in the advice of his hometown Barsinghausen. But Kuban has long been a political professional, he is considered a good networker, the JU Lower Saxony he leads for half a decade. And so on this Saturday only the application speeches of the two candidates should decide who wins.