The result of the vote was presented at a press conference at noon on Friday. The 66-year-old Merz received 62.1 percent of the vote against 25.8 percent for Norbert Röttgen and 12.1 percent for Helge Braun.
The win was expected, but many observers predicted that there would be another round of elections. The already clear victory in the first round of elections was unexpected.
Frederick Merz began his victory speech by thanking the many members who took part in the vote—the turnout was just under two-thirds—and his opponent.
“It was a challenging day and week, but it went really well between the three of us, and I think it benefited the party the way we did and did it,” Merz said.
Council of Professionals and Millionaires
Merz, primarily a corporate lawyer, has a long history with the CDU and also served as an opposition leader, when he led the party’s parliamentary group from 2000 to 2002 – until it was set back by his big rival, Angela Merkel.
He then left politics and became a professional on the board of directors, a profession that made him a millionaire. Among his many other assignments at high profile companies was his position at American Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, as he was head of its Germany operations.
In connection with Merkel’s announcement in 2018 of her intention to resign from the party leadership, Merz left his posts and announced that he would return to politics. In the next two votes for party leader, he failed to be elected, but the third time – this time – he went his way.
What awaits us now, Merz says, is a period of adjustment from the ruling party to the opposition party.
– It won’t happen in one night. He says but we will adapt.
– We will be a constructive opposition.
For the first time, the 400,000 CDU members voted on who should lead the party. About two-thirds of the members participated in the vote. The CDU leader is then formally elected at a party meeting in January.
The September parliamentary elections were a failure for the CDU when the CDU/CSU was forced to compromise 24.1 percent, a decrease of 8.8 percentage points compared to the election in 2017. Then the relatively newly elected party leader Armin Laschet was forced to resign.
Germany’s Christian Democrats have ruled since 2005, when Merkel became chancellor. Last week, she was released when Olaf Schultz took over.
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