28.07.2022, Polen, Warschau: Friedrich Merz, CDU-Vorsitzender und Chef der Unions-Bundestagsfraktion, geht nach einem Treffen mit dem Vorsitzenden der polnischen Oppositionspartei Bürgerplattform (PO) in Warschau eine Straße entlang. Foto: Michal Dyjuk/AP/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

If there were elections today for the Bundestag – the SPD would no longer find the Chancellor so easy. Their results in polls are too weak, only number three, permanently below 20 percent, clearly behind the Union and the Greens. And it’s not always a flood that washes your top candidate into the chancellor’s office. So there would be others closer, Robert Habeck for the Greens, and for the Union parties – yes, who actually?

This reveals, for them painfully after the last experiences: CDU and CSU are much faster than expected before the tiresome personnel issue, the famous “K-question”. If so, who should do it? That applies in any case, whether Jamaica or new elections. Not that it’s just difficult for the SPD…

Friedrich Merz, now CDU federal chairman instead of the hapless Armin Laschet, may believe that as head of the stronger party he has the right of first access. That was also an argument for Laschet and against Markus Söder last year. But he’s making the impression again that he still thinks he’s the better candidate; not to talk any further about the chancellor.

This applies regardless of the sayings that he does not strive for it (anymore). All tactics: After all, Söder has to hold the fort in Bavaria at the same time, and “dahoam” they don’t like being seen as a second choice. Söder has to stand for “Bayern First”. At least every now and then.

It can be assumed that Merz has hopes. Now that he’s finally passed his longtime rival and favorite party enemy, Angela Merkel. The triumph would be complete for Merz if he also became a candidate and possibly chancellor. And that too in a black-green constellation, one that would have suited Merkel better.

But that’s far from certain, and not just because the future is always uncertain. Whether Merz is really the best for the claim to embody the future – that’s a legitimate question, after all he’s no longer a youngster, but is rather close to 70. Even if he looks surprisingly youthful.

Then the CDU, secondly, maybe also wants changes – see women’s quota – that are not associated with Merz, and thirdly, he cannot show any government action. On the other hand, who does? Exactly: Söder. But also Daniel Günther and Hendrik Wüst (North Rhine-Westphalia), both in their forties.

In terms of foreign policy, everyone lacks expertise, which is why Merz also uses his offices to make it clear outside the country’s borders that the opposition is always the government on hold in terms of state politics. After all, the opposition leader is preparing for the future, his own and that of the Union.

Because whether excess profit tax, citizen income or debt brake, the traffic light coalition flickers. SPD, FDP and Greens keep clashing and thus out of step. Good, they’ll catch up then. But a premature end to the traffic light cannot be ruled out, even for those involved. One would like to know more precisely who on the other side wants power for what, in the Union and beyond.