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CDU elects new leader

January 19th, 2021

Neither a pro-government nor a left-wing commentator deem it likely that the CDU or German politics will make a U-turn after the election of Armin Laschet.

Magyar Nemzet’s Zoltán Kottász thinks that the CDU will hardly change its policies after the election of Armin Laschet as party chair. The pro-government commentator contends that the CDU has lost its conservative edge, and is not very different from other mainstream German parties including the SPD and the Greens. While the CDU still distances itself from the AfD, it has moved closer even to Die Linke, Kottász suggests. He goes on to praise the CDU’s ‘boring’ pragmatism and willingness to broker compromises in Germany as well as in the EU. Despite the fact that CDU politicians supported the suspension of Fidesz membership in the EPP and Chanceller Merkel ‘made a huge mistake in the 2015 migration crisis’, Kottász thinks that ‘Armin Laschet is not the worst choice for Hungary’.

Népszava’s Tamás Rónay also feels that the CDU will not be much different under Laschet than it has been under his predecessor. The left-wing commentator praises Angela Merkel for helping the EU overcome multiple crises in the past decade. Rónay notes that Chancellor Merkel, who usually put EU unity first, was criticized for ‘making too big a concession’ to Hungary and Poland in the EU budget negotiations. Without clearly siding with those critics he suggests, however, that in order to keep the EU together, Armin Laschet will need to be tough with populists, including the governments of Hungary and Poland.

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