CDU parliamentary group leader Manuel Hagel wants to run for the post of party chairman at the state party conference in November. The 35-year-old announced this on Wednesday evening after a specially convened CDU conference in Stuttgart. For months, Hagel has been said to have ambitions for the party chairmanship and to be the top candidate for the 2026 state elections. After the meeting, the still acting state chief Thomas Strobl spoke of a “unanimous vote for the candidacy”.

Strobl declared on Monday that he did not want to run again at the party conference. Hagel now announced his decision at a hybrid conference between the CDU district chairmen and the state executive board. The Christian Democrats gathered for this purpose in the Architects’ House in Stuttgart. The CDU state chairman will be officially elected at the party conference in November in Reutlingen.

Hagel said he was eternally grateful for the great response and momentum. The decision was not made lightly and it was breaking new ground – for the first time, the offices of parliamentary group leader and party chairmanship would be in one hand. For him it’s about integrating. Hagel thanked Strobl for his 40 years of commitment to the CDU. In all his actions, Strobl built bridges that others now crossed. Hagel assured that they were not changing the team, just changing the team lineup.

When asked about the top candidate in 2026, Hagel said that the outstanding questions would be clarified when they arise. The CDU still has two and a half years of government ahead of it. But Hagel also emphasized: “Whoever is second must want to be first.” You approach the matter with your sporting ambition. In the CDU it is not about one individual shining. They will look for the right top candidate a year before the state elections. Hagel emphasized that he had always said that the party chairman had the first right of access to the top candidacy – but that was not a coincidence, i.e. not a mandatory connection. Success is important for the party.

Strobl has led the regional association since 2011. After the meeting he spoke of a “good and committed exchange”. The 63-year-old said he had always worked to ensure that the Union was united. Everything has its time. Now is a good time to continue the rejuvenation process in the Southwest CDU and also bring about a generational change in the state leadership. He has worked intensively and on a friendly basis with Hagel for many years. A change in this harmony is by no means a given. This is also important for the stability of democracy, said Strobl. If citizens had the impression that the parties only cared about themselves, about posts and posts, then that would not be a good thing.

You can also hear other sounds internally. Recently the pressure on Strobl had increased significantly. The Interior Minister has been politically criticized for months because of the affair surrounding the police inspector and an associated investigative committee. He wants to remain interior minister and deputy head of government.

Strobl assured on Wednesday evening that he would continue to work in the party and, as Interior Minister, make contributions to security in the country and to a stable state government. The green-black coalition is a counter-model to the “dispute government” in Berlin.