Helge Braun is new to the ranks of those applying for the CDU chairmanship. For many, it was a surprise that the head of the Chancellery, who was still executive, ran for office. After Braun had already presented his team at the beginning of the week, he answered questions from the members on Thursday evening at the candidate presentation broadcast on the Internet. He made it clear again and again: The CDU should become a “participatory party”.
According to his wish, the members should be proud again to be in the CDU, to contribute and to feel seen. Braun attributed the fact that there is still a lot to be done to two factors: on the one hand, to the disappointing result in the federal elections, and on the other, to the compromises made during the time in government, which meant that the company’s own profile had become less clear . Braun admitted that “many of the CDU’s heartfelt issues were left behind”.
To change that, the candidate relies on the support of the two women on his team, Nadine Schön and Serap Güler. When asked by a viewer why his choice fell on this of all people, especially Güler, who also polarizes the party, Braun praised Guler as a politician “who has a lot of power”, but also a lot of empathy. This is how he imagines the future of the CDU, which is why Guler is the ideal general secretary. Nadine Schön, on the other hand, is very knowledgeable about digitization and is well networked there. That could help the party to better involve the members and is also a big topic that will become even more important in the future.
Braun opposes the deletion of 219a
Braun responded several times to the new coalition agreement of the traffic light alliance to explain where the CDU differs from its competitors and also wants to differentiate itself in the future. When a member asked what role the Christian image of man still plays for the CDU, Braun said: “That guides us in every decision.” He referred to the coalition agreement, which provides for paragraph 219a to be deleted from the criminal code. Advertisement for abortions would then be possible in a similar way as for beauty clinics, criticized Braun. In the grand coalition, he clearly opposed the SPD’s wish to delete this paragraph.
In addition, the coalition agreement is soft and diffuse in many places, with “huge spending promises” being opposed to unclear financing. In contrast, the head of the Chancellery described the CDU as “the party of the hardworking”. The new government, on the other hand, is assuming an excessive welfare state. An unconditional basic income is not yet explicitly targeted, “but it is going in this direction”. When a CDU member asked what plans he had in terms of social policy, Braun suggested that the CDU should take social policy broadly, not only looking at people in great need, but basically at hard-working people who were worried about rents and jobs. In a down-to-earth manner, she should “take care of the concerns of completely normal people”.
Braun confidently concluded that the CDU should be able to appear again “closed, happy, facing the future”. Working in the opposition is a chance to get back to yourself. On Monday, Friedrich Merz had already answered the questions of the CDU members, on Wednesday Norbert Röttgen followed. The introductory phase ends with a discussion between the three candidates on December 1st.
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