BERLIN, March 14 – RIA Novosti. The leadership of the German Christian Democratic Party, which on Sunday showed the worst results in history in regional elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, believes that the reason for this could be a pandemic and a “mask” corruption scandal that erupted in the ranks of the CDU and its sister party Christian Social Union a week before the vote.
For the CDU, the results of elections in both regions, according to exit poll, became the worst in history. In Baden-Württemberg, the CDU received less than 30% only in 2016, when it gained 27%, now the party's support has dropped even lower – to 23%. In Rhineland-Palatinate, the party receives less than 30% for the first time, the worst result was also in 2016 – 31.8%, but now the party's support is at 27%.
“I want to say with all clarity that today's election evening for the CDU cannot be called good. Both in Baden-Württemberg and in Rhineland-Palatinate, we wanted a different result,” said CDU Secretary General Paul Zimiak at a press conference in Berlin.
Speaking about the results of the elections, he noted that they show no “significant change in sentiment.” “In times of crisis – we have seen it – people trust the authorities and heads of government. Especially in Baden-Württemberg, this is a personal victory (for the Prime Minister of the region – ed.) Winfried Kretschmann and the result of the good work of the state government in the past years, and the CDU has contributed to the government their contribution, especially in economic policy and domestic policy, “he said.
Tsimiak also pointed out three factors that, in his opinion, influenced the result. First, he noted the personal contribution of Kretschman and the Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Social Democrat Malu Dreyer. The second factor, in his opinion, was the “mask scandal” in the ranks of the CDU, which erupted just before the elections. We are talking about the resignation of two MPs, who are suspected of receiving cash rewards for mediation in the procurement of medical masks. Due to the great resonance around the scandal, the leadership of the CDU / CSU faction forced all MPs to sign statements that they did not receive material benefits in the implementation of measures to combat the pandemic. “It was not only unpleasant, but also complicated the election campaign,” Tsimiak said.
At the same time, the CDU Secretary General stressed that the party reacted to this scandal, and noted that “those who are engaged in personal enrichment in times of crisis have nothing to do in the CDU.” “There is a zero-tolerance policy here,” he said.
As a third factor, he named the growing “discontent, misunderstanding and impatience” of citizens about how the authorities are working on the crisis caused by the pandemic. “Therefore, all responsible persons must ask themselves critical questions: in what areas can we do better, act more pragmatically and act faster,” added Tsimiak.
The CDU Secretary General also noted that “from the very beginning it was obvious that this year will be difficult.” “We are talking about every vote, about a difficult pre-election struggle. We will do everything to ensure that Germany remains in the (political – ed.) Center, so that there is stability with the center's civil coalition after the new elections. But we must actively fight for this. I think , tonight it became clear to everyone that it will be so, “he said.
Federal bureau member Norbert Retgen, who previously ran for the party chairman, called the election results “a very deplorable result in the former regions of the birth of the CDU.” “We now have to ask ourselves the question: what have we learned from this for the federal level of the CDU. We have to look at things with self-criticism. In Baden-Württemberg, we can explain this by the Kretschmann factor, but if we are at the level of 20 for the CDU in both home regions, 30%, then there are other reasons for this. We can and must work on them, there is still time for this, “Retgen said on the ARD TV channel.
In his opinion, the poor election result is not connected with the new leader of the CDU Armin Lashet, who led the party in January and is expected to be a candidate for chancellor in the federal elections in September.