In the debate about the Union’s candidacy for chancellor, CDU General Secretary Carsten Linnemann is clearly backing party leader Friedrich Merz. “Friedrich Merz has a plan. The Chancellor doesn’t have one,” Linnemann told the star. “Especially in a crisis, you have to know where the journey should go, how to hold this country together and lead it forward. Friedrich Merz is the man with the plan. Sounds like a good election campaign slogan, doesn’t it?” When asked what he would say to Merz if he asked him for advice about running for chancellor, Linnemann replied: “Friedrich, you have to do it.”

Contrary to what some CDU state chairmen have demanded, Linnemann sees the decision solely in the hands of the party leader. “He has to make the decision for himself whether he wants to run. It’s a very personal matter. Nobody can help you. You can maybe ask ten people, but in the end you have to want it yourself.”

Linnemann also warned his party against a break with Angela Merkel and expressed the hope of being able to use the former Chancellor as a supporter in the upcoming federal election campaign. “I think it’s important that we don’t break with the past. That would be wrong. We’re just living in a different time now,” said Linnemann. “She belongs to the CDU, like our other four Chancellors. She has shaped us. This country was governed well under her. Of course, mistakes were made too.” The important thing is to learn from mistakes.

“Of course” he hopes for their help in the fight to retake the Chancellery. “We met a few months ago and had a lengthy conversation. The content remains confidential. But I can’t see that she no longer wants to support the CDU.”

Read the entire interview with CDU General Secretary Carsten Linnemann on the K question and the reconstruction of his party in the next issue of stern.