Merkel party gears up to campaign to retain first German post

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Updated 2 hours, 57 minutes ago

BERLIN (AP) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party presented a campaign for Germany’s September elections on Tuesday that portrays future successor Armin Laschet as a conciliatory and experienced leader and mixes classic center-right themes with an attempt to show the fight against climate change as an opportunity.

The Christian Democratic Union’s campaign to retain Germany’s top post after Merkel’s 16-year term will take into account the continuing coronavirus pandemic, party secretary general Paul Ziemiak said.

He said the traditional door-to-door campaign will be “maybe more at the garden fence” this time around, while there will be hybrid offline and online events rather than crowds of thousands. during indoor gatherings.

“We need to lead by example by staying true to what we expect from others,” he said.

The center-right Union bloc, dominated by the CDU, released a program last month that pledges to boost the economy without raising taxes and make the country “climate neutral” by 2045 all by preserving industrial jobs.

The party’s new poster campaign features Laschet, Germany’s most popular state governor and a centrist figure in the mold of the outgoing Chancellor, with the slogan “Together for a modern Germany”.

“He is the compelling politician who can bring people together,” Ziemiak said. He made it clear that an element of the party’s appeal risked “no experience”, such as Greens ecologist Annalena Baerbock becoming chancellor.

Other posters tackle issues such as security, a classic CDU theme, and climate change, under the slogan “protect the climate, create jobs”.

“We want the issue of climate neutrality to turn into something positive – something positive in terms of exports, securing jobs and creating new jobs,” Ziemiak said. “It is not enough to leave everything, it is also necessary to integrate new technologies and create new climate neutral growth.

Merkel and Markus Soeder, the leader of the CDU’s sister party, who fought Laschet in April for the chancellery candidacy, will appear at the campaign’s opening and closing events, Ziemiak said. He did not specify the dates.

Merkel announced in 2018 that she would not seek a fifth four-year term as Chancellor. The Union bloc is currently leading the polls after a difficult period earlier this year.

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