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CSU Party Congress: AKK bored, the women's quota splits


The debate over the quota of women in the CSU superimposes the harmony demonstration by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on the sister party. Markus Söder gets a damper for his reform plans.

The two black sedans with the Berlin license plate and the blue light are already at a rear entrance to the Olympiahalle. But Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has to wait, inside the delegates of the sister party are debating.

At 12.22 clock, well after the scheduled time, the small column drives in front of the main entrance, the party chairman gets out. "Excuse me," apologizes Markus Söder for the delay. "Greetings," says the CDU chairman, and: "women's quota". She had followed the convention in livestream, parallel to the Brexit debate.

Then it goes down to the hall and onto the stage. Söder thanks again for AKK's patience. "Welcome to the CSU." Apart from that, he did not want to give any big words or speeches on the speech of a CDU chairman: This has been a bad experience in the past.

Söder refers to the party congress 2015, when Horst Seehofer chimed in a Munich exhibition hall the guest speaker Angela Merkel on a big stage. These times, as CDUs like CSU want to convey, would be light years back. "We hold together," says Söder. And AKK later in her speech: "We can do well if we separate it, but we can do better if we do it together."

AKK and Söder remain under hooked

The harmony demonstration succeeds, but it remains bloodless. The CDU chairman has little in the portfolio, which excited Bavarian delegates. She cites Estonia as a great role model, where one is very far with the paperless administration. Then AKK talks about foreign policy issues. The situation in northern Syria raises the "question of the reliability of our strongest alliance partner", the NATO partner Turkey relies on violence rather than diplomacy.

"You inspired us today," says Söder. The most polite applause of his party friends does not support this interpretation. But the two Presidents of the Union remain undercut for the time being. Tomorrow you see yourself back in the coalition committee, says Söder.

However, the CSU delegates are emotionally a bit tired at the appearance of the guest speaker. Previously, they had long been discussing the irritant issue of women's quota - not about a quota for a future chancellor candidate, but in their own party committees. And things did not go the way her self-confident chairman Söder wanted.

Although the party congress with six votes against the reform proposal, but only with a target clause for women's representation in the lower party committees. Söder and his general secretary Blume had proposed a binding number. In the end, a compromise proposal by the Women's Union saves the party leadership a possible defeat in a matter that Blume even calls "the existential question."

"Do not make me a quota woman"

Around 30 delegates will speak, including many of the powerful district chairmen, Ilse Aigner, Andreas Scheurer, Alfred Füracker, party favorites such as Barbara Stamm and Manfred Weber. But they succeed only with difficulty to cushion a revolt of the base.

The CSU has had a women's quota for years, and at district and board level, it should be expanded from 40 to 50 percent. In addition, the proven 40 percent quota should be reintroduced at district council level. This is exactly where the party base rather does not correspond to the new CSU mission statement "younger, female, digital".

"We can only be attractive as a CSU if men and women are equally visible in our party," Ulrike Scharf, chairman of the Women's Union, pleads in plenary. But many speakers, including women themselves, do not see a fixed quota as a suitable instrument.

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Holm Putzke, district chairman from Passau, says: "We will be elected if we do good political work". And further: "I do not want that the voters have to ask themselves, whether with us the most capable staff sits or that proportionately." The delegates follow Putzke's proposal to vote on female quota by secret ballot, which ultimately does not happen.

A quota was "nonsense," argues Hannah Lotze of the JU Berchtesgadener Land. "The narrative of the evil man who does not make women come up" is not the case for her party. Wiebke Hönicke, who works as an officer in the Bundeswehr, calls into the room: "Please do not make me a quota woman." She had become what she is, "because I showed performance." Understanding should be awakened in the committees, says member of parliament Max Straubinger. "No odds help us."

Centrifugal forces in your own party

It is a rousing discussion, but a delicate one for the party chairman. Söder himself climbs the stage again. "There is no point in acting with the crowbar," says Söder. The crowbar and other war equipment should be packed again. "We need a signal of community, not division."

Söder argues that the impression would be fatal, in the CSU women fought against men. Society changed, time did not stop. Söder recalls the recent election results: "We are devastating the very young women."

The delegates are still discussing going out, this is not about the sister party and its chairman. The centrifugal forces in the own party, also the one realization of the CSU congress, are nothing that concerns AKK exclusively. They are also present in the CSU, between city and country, between the sexes and the generations.

Although a lot of proposals would have to be agreed, the session leaders ended the CSU party congress prematurely. "It was an exciting morning," says Markus Söder. He probably does not mean the speech of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Source: spiegel

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