A few more days and he’ll have done it. Two more big speeches, an election result almost as good as North Korea, and then even the last Merkelian will have to admit: Friedrich Merz, 68, CDU leader in his third attempt and now facing re-election, has kept his word. He has rebuilt the Union, renewed it. And tailored it completely to himself.

From Monday, the CDU will celebrate an early coronation mass for its master at its party conference in Berlin. It will not be officially decided until late summer who will be the CDU and CSU’s candidate for chancellor. But only one person can be dangerous to the candidate with the short fuse: himself.

In surveys, the Union is around 30 percent. The Chancellor’s Party, the SPD, comes in at around half. The exciting question is not whether the man from Brilon in the Sauerland has a good chance of becoming Chancellor. The more exciting question is: who does he want to govern with?

Access to all STERN PLUS content and articles from the print magazine


Already registered?