Nearly a dozen candidates ponder the idea of a candidacy for the stewardship of Germany's strongest party. But one of them immediately heated expectations: Friedrich Merz, 62, head of America's main influence peddling institution "Atlantic Bridge", board chairman of more companies of the financial sector than fit into a single tweet and former rival to Merkel, among them the German section of global leader BlackRock. First he lost his position as parliamentary whip of the federal parliament ("Bundestag") conservative fraction (2002), then even gave up his seat (2009), though he was previously directly elected from his local constituency in North Rhine Westfalia ("NRW"). Merz' move came as such a surprise, that people were unsure, whether the recently lackluster CDU might now face a second edition of the old power struggle. Merz immediately sensed the risk and speedily announced, he would steer clear of trouble and get along well with Merkel, who had formerly insisted, that chancellorship and party leadership would work only as a unified tool in a single hand. Quick "Spiegel Online" (SpOn) polling, both within the CDU and the general public, indicated a strong lead for Merz - which is highly questionable. Fake polls are a specialty not only of German politics. Then, just before the weekend, difficult news came up about Merz' role in the financial sector, hardened by further information, that former minister of finance and (European Stability Management) ESM governor Wolfgang Sch?uble, yet another foe of Merkel's, had masterminded Merz' return to the political arena and opened doors in and outside the party, according to "Spiegel Online" (SpOn) even reaching out to Brussels: to Joseph Daul, head of the conservative group (EPP) inside the European parliament. Monday morning, information on Sch?uble's support for Merz was questioned by other mainstream media, namely "S?ddeutsche Zeitung" (SZ), without "SpOn" even commenting on this fact, let alone correcting its report: Merz' Daul-meeting never even happened! Fact is: "Der Spiegel", main cartel media in Germany, strongly supported Merz' early appearance as a top candidate - even at the cost of gross misinformation. On Monday, important dailies denied any involvement by Sch?uble into the Merz candidacy - and media suddenly appear cautious about the outcome of the CDU federal convention early December in Hamburg. Back to Merz-led financial companies: BlackRock experts reportedly consult with the European Central Bank (ECB) including business cases, in which the investment giant had stakes. And Europe's biggest private bank, HSBC, with it's German subsidiary chaired by Merz as well, was reported to be involved in questionable tax dealings ("cum-ex", "cum-cum") and had to cool it by stating, that the volume didn't exceed "lower two-digit million" some ten years ago.
Early candidates run the risk of using up their chances until election day. In Germany as a country with limited sovereignty, even the financial sector's pet candidate may face a controversial run and ultimately fail, if he can't ride the tide long and strong enough.
Merkel's pick for succession is CDU secretary general Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was voted into that position with a fabulous 98.87 % result; the 56-year-old mother of three isn't related to any business, was born, raised and still keeps her family in a small village, P?ttlingen, in the state of Saarland, where she headed the state government from 2012-2018. Her outstanding relations to the chancellor raise hope for the smoothest transition - but she lacks international experience and status.
The last of the top three - according to German Mainstream media, is federal minister of health Jens Spahn (38), who recently tried a political stunt in Washington with rare precedence in post-war German history: In order to muster Trump support, he tried to get a meeting with US national security advisor John Bolton, repeating a move Wolfgang Sch?uble had staged in 2005, when he squeezed himself into the shadow government team of Merkel - against her will. Spahn enjoys a special friendship with the Berlin US ambassador, Richard Grenell, both are openly living in homosexual relationships. But unlike Sch?uble, who got through to the NSA in a spontaneous move from within the White House, Spahn was only admitted to Bolton after intervention by the German SPD-governed Ministry for Foreign Affairs - which was widely regarded as a failure in a high-stakes game. Spahn enjoys special corporate links to the pharmaceutics sector and still has to fight rumors and accusations, that he secured his portfolio with certain support. This background is presently ripe with rumors about special US weapon developments in the BCW sector, including special "ethnic" targeting abilities.
New arrival on the national stage is Daniel G?nther (45), Roman Catholic married father of two and new head of regional government in the state of Schleswig-Holstein since last year. He appears eager to run the envisaged CDU "election campaign" by touring ten of the main conservative districts, where all serious candidates present their agenda. G?nther declared this work "fun" - and remains a hope for the CDU no matter the outcome of the race for the federal party leadership.
But that is not what causes so much trouble in Berlin. Merkel's coalition partner SPD, the Social Democrats face a leadership crisis after two heavy losses of the very same kind, which forced Merkel's withdrawal decision. Leader Andrea Nahles just managed to stem the tide against her over the weekend, a highly risky situation largely neglected by international media. But inside the CDU's Bavarian sister party CSU the situation is even worse for its longtime leader and federal minister Horst Seehofer, who might well be forced out from the party position in mid-November. That in turn might then force a review in the federal cabinet, where Seehofer might well lose his cabinet post due to lackluster handling of a scandal about the head of Germany's interior secret service ("Verfassungsschutz"), Hans-Georg Maa?en, who appears to be covertly eying an alignment with the upcoming right-wing party AfD.
Thus the leadership in the two most important political parties in Germany appears at stake. At the background of the whole trouble looms the biting question, who could lead the country through the upcoming but little discussed crises, such as major financial and thus economic trouble through Washington's overgrown sanctions policies, outrageous US dollar currency overstretch, stability of energy resources supply or even risks of wider war in the Mid-East or with Russia. These questions being put all over the western world don't make answers easier at all. And history teaches: not having answers doesn't make questions or problems go away. In fact, it invites chaos and disaster and may just render the upcoming crisis much harder to overcome.