Less than a year and a half before the Bavarian state elections, the Christian Social Union is searching for a new general secretary – and struggling to find the right path. “The position must be filled quickly,” demanded the President of the Women’s Union and Bavarian Minister of Social Affairs, Ulrike Scharf, in the BR24 interview. Former party leader Erwin Hooper called for “broad internal clarifications and quick personal decisions” – and testified to the poor state of the party. The head of the Landtag, Ilse Aigner, was also concerned.
Party leader Markus Söder initially did not want to comment on the successor to Stefan Meyer, who resigned Tuesday night following the violent allegations. The position is expected to be filled within the next few days, possibly as early as Friday.
Sharp sees the big tasks
The new Secretary-General sees significant challenges ahead: “The party must be well prepared for next year’s state and provincial elections and develop a new platform.”
Aigner, who also heads the influential CSU district assembly in Upper Bavaria, called the “new general to represent and strengthen the rural areas.” It is not definitive whether it is a woman or a man, said Agner of the German news agency dpa. Rather, the person must have experience, know the party and its structures well, and be able to stand up against federal political figures in televised debates in an eloquent and intelligent manner. “He must be the one who sets the subjects and thus chooses our electors.”
Aigner: CSU must control problems
With Mayer’s appointment as general secretary in February, party leader Söder has already attempted to push the CSU’s return to heart of rural conservative voters. However, Mayer resigned less than ten weeks after taking office – officially for “health reasons”, but also because he was said to have threatened an oral journalist for his coverage of Mayer’s private life.
Aigner doesn’t want to get involved in the speculation about the successor. Sodder now has to act fast and is convinced he will. The state parliament speaker was unhappy with the current state of her party. “The CSU governs Bavaria very well – but problems in the party distract it. We have to get it under control quickly.” CSU represents respect, consideration and a sense of proportion. These values have recently been lost in some places. “We have to change that again. We cannot continue the way things were in the past.”
Hopper calls for “cruel enlightenment”
Clearer words came from former party leader Erwin Hooper. “The massive loss of votes in federal elections, the management of the pandemic, but above all, the indisputable moral missteps of elected officials, and the latest Secretary General’s blackout have brought the CSU into a tragic situation,” Huber said, referring to Mayer, in A reference to Meyer. The Case and the Participation of CSU Politicians in the Mask Affair.
The core of the CSU is strong – and even in past crises they have always managed to “clean up the slate”. “But this requires significant resilience and recognizable explanations that must be addressed on a large scale,” Hooper demanded. “These problems include stagnation in the core electorate area, lack of attractiveness for the younger generation, harsh investigation into the misconduct of individual elected officials, credible application of transparency rules and an overall absolute focus on Bavaria.”
JU Head of State: Regain confidence
Christian Dolschall, president of the state’s Yonge federation, cautioned against “overestimating” the uproar surrounding Mayer’s resignation. He described Huber’s description of the situation as “a bit exaggerated”. Doleschal told BR: “We must not underestimate anything, we are also aware of our responsibility. But I would not describe the situation of CSU as tragic at the moment.”
At the same time, Doleschal admitted that the actions of individuals always lead to a loss of confidence. What matters is the party’s reaction. CSU has tightened its compliance rules in the context of the mask issue. “Ultimately, it’s also about making sure we have people who can restore trust.”
Politician: Sodder doesn’t have much choice
According to political scientist Ursula Munch, the level of employment at CSU is “too tight”. She told BR. He needs someone who has great organizational talent, seems confident in the outside world and also has the “necessary bite”.
It is important that the party leader clearly distances himself from the mistakes made by CSU politicians. “A lot of trust has been destroyed.” Sodder must build new trust by finding the “right people” and, above all, dedicating himself to the content again. “What people don’t like at all is when you indulge yourself as a party.”
CSU is having a tough week
In the meantime, CSU may be having more turbulent days. First, the decision must be made on the new Secretary-General. The meeting of the Committee to Inquiry Mask in the state parliament next week is also eagerly awaited: important witnesses will be interviewed there – mainly prominent politicians, who are still active or former CSU and relatives of known members of the CSU.
Those invited include former Justice Minister Alfred Sutter, former CSU member of the Bundestag Georg Neslin, and Andrea Tandler, daughter of former CSU Secretary-General Gerold Tendler. They are said to have made a lot of money through commissions on the masks deals they arranged – it appears that Tandler received €48m with a partner.
Konert: CSU scandals are piling up
SPD General Secretary Kevin Koehnert has formulated serious allegations against Souders: CSU scandals have increased significantly, he told the Rheinische Post. “Marcus Sodder is more interested in running his own CSU and only leads the Free State as a part-time job.” Mayer’s resignation is “just another sad climax to a long list of wrongful appointments by Marcus Soder”.
Koehnert recalled the mask deals made by union politicians at the beginning of the Corona crisis and former Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer (CSU), “who, as Minister of Transport, left taxpayers a scandalous grave of billions and has not yet withdrawn from the government. By Söder”. On Tuesday, it became known that the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating Scheuer.