What’s going on there? Hamburg’s CDU leader has gone underground – party friends tease
Is anyone at home? Anyone who has been looking for Hamburg’s largest opposition party, the CDU, since the federal elections will have to look for a long time. It seems as if Hamburg’s Christian Democrats are still in a limbo between electoral disaster paralysis, political disorientation and dignified hibernation.
The Hamburg party leader and member of the Bundestag Christoph Ploß, who sees his future more on the Berlin stage, is completely submerged. Ploß, who was still permanently present in the election campaign, was most impressive in the end because he vehemently spoke out against gendering the German language and in favor of Friedrich Merz as party leader. On the one hand, this has little to do with Hamburg and, moreover, hardly sounds forward-looking.
Dennis Thering, head of the parliamentary group, is meanwhile trying his hand at advertising on his own behalf, and never misses an opportunity to formulate his claim to be the CDU top candidate. His goal of being mayor from 2025 sounds bold in view of the 11.2 percent citizenship election failure. And can Thering and Ploß win elections at all? Under the leadership of Ploß, the CDU fell more steeply in the federal election in Hamburg than in the federal trend, by 11.7 points to a meager 15.5 percent. Even Ploß finds it difficult to blame the election debacle 100 percent on Armin Laschet, but zero percent on himself.
CDU in Hamburg: The party does not appear uniformly
The party cannot answer the core question of what the Hamburg CDU stands for today in terms of content. Thering criticizes the fact that his CDU looked like a “general store” to the electorate in the end. A lot in the range, but not all of the best quality. But even the parliamentary group leader recently criticized the fact that Hamburg’s transport policy is too focused on bicycles and that digitization is not making good progress. But it is precisely here that the CDU has the reputation of being a knowledge-free zone. “We don’t have a single really competent contact person for our concerns in the CDU,” complains the spokeswoman for one of Hamburg’s largest digital agencies. Because with the Niendorfer Carsten Ovens of all things the only proven digital expert of the party 2020 left the citizenship.
CDU is young, masculine and conservative
But what is the core brand of the Hamburg CDU today? Currently, their appearance can be summed up in three words: young, masculine, conservative. With the duo Ploß and Thering, both well under 40, the regional association has managed the generation change, at least at its head. The situation is different with the quota for women. The party only managed with difficulty that at least three of its 15 MPs are women.The alternative to the general product range would be a clearly defined vision of Hamburg’s future. But it doesn’t fall from the sky.
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In the Hamburg CDU, many now expect the program to establish a shift to the right in terms of content, a stronger demarcation between the SPD and the Greens. Which can bring votes on the right wing, but not in the political center – and would cost alliance options. The relationship between the CDU and the Greens has recently cooled noticeably, as the break of the last black-green district coalition in Eimsbüttel shows.
“This is going completely in the wrong direction,” warns a prominent CDU district politician who does not want to read his name in the newspaper. For example, the CDU completely overslept the subject of the “mobility transition”, “because some politicians from the forest villages and the Elbe suburbs have absolutely no feeling for the stresses that motorized individual traffic brings with it in inner-city areas”.
Party colleagues see Christoph Ploß critically
The fact that Ploß stands for a strictly conservative course causes many CDU politicians: inside stomach ache. While they are officially praising the shooting star’s qualities, there is vigorous teasing behind his back. With every appearance by Ploß only one thing stands in the foreground: his own political career. The 36-year-old is “a political old man, trapped in the body of a senior prime minister,” a leading CDU functionary characterizes the party leader. Ploß could “not depict the diversity and issues of a modern city at all”, he did not even understand them.
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But the scattered Ploß critics have no alternative to offer. The CDU has worn out a lot of staff in recent years, has burned out in terms of personnel.