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CDU in the southwest is repositioning itself: Strobl is followed by Hagel

The generational change in the Southwest CDU has been successful. Now she wants to achieve the change of power in Baden-Württemberg with the new boss Hagel.

older man congratulates younger man

Generational change achieved: Thomas Strobl (right), congratulates his successor Manuel Hagel Photo: Bernd Weißbrod/dpa

REUTLINGEN taz | The party is at the top in the polls at the federal and state levels and the generation change operation at the top of the state has been successful for the time being. The atmosphere hasn’t been this good for a long time, say delegates. The long-time chairman Thomas Strobl of the Baden-Württemberg CDU, 63, has actually made room for his successor. The party conference on Saturday gave Manuel Hagel, 35, the tailwind he needed with 91.5 percent to prepare the party for the 2026 state elections. Because in 2026, that much is clear, the CDU wants Manuel Hagel to be the country’s head of government again after 15 years.

Hagel is young but still has some experience, as general secretary of the state party and as parliamentary group leader in the state parliament. In Berlin, too, he is considered one of the party’s great talents.

In his speech, he intoned his idea of ​​a modern state CDU in a much more conservative manner than his predecessor Thomas Strobl. There was a lot of talk about hard work and home. But he also claimed that the CDU was the party of diversity and derived this from the Christian view of humanity. Unlike other parties, they don’t want to educate people. “Who they are, where they come from, what skin color they have and who they love and how, we don’t care if they want to get involved,” he proclaimed a new Swabian liberalism. “Equal opportunities are what counts for us,” said Hagel. A sentence that has not often been heard in its decisiveness at state party conferences of the CDU.

But hail flashed in both directions. Germany needs a 180-degree turnaround in immigration, he said. “The migration policy that we have been pursuing in Germany for years is at an end.” And the party congress immediately followed this up with action and passed a motion from the Parliamentary Managing Director of the Union faction in the Bundestag, Thorsten Frei.

Outsource asylum procedures to third countries

Accordingly, the Southwest CDU wants to abolish the individual right to asylum. Asylum procedures should be outsourced to other states and these states should also be made a protective area for refugees. If the asylum procedure has a positive outcome, this safe third country will grant the applicant protection on site, according to the CDU proposal.

Predecessors and successors have a clear edge when it comes to the AfD. Strobl and Hagel both refer almost identically to the experience from the Weimar period, when conservatives voted for the Nazi enabling law. The lesson from this must be that the CDU is a bulwark against extremism. The AfD is not an alternative for Germany, but “a disgrace for Germany,” says Hagel. “We won’t do anything together with them,” he explains to loud applause from the delegates.

The green coalition partner, however, only appeared in one sentence in Hagel’s speech: Once again, Hagel recommended himself as the rightful grandson of the Green Prime Minister: “Winfried Kretschmann’s legacy is in good hands with us.” A sentence that Federal Chairman Friedrich Merz also praised in his speech.

Successful constitutional challenge, good polls. Things are going well for the CDU at the moment, says Merz, and he is pleased that this circumstance will secure him the candidacy for chancellor and that someone like Hagel currently has a good chance of changing power in the southwest. And he proudly quotes Wolfgang Schäuble, who recently said in the parliamentary group about the current development: “It can hardly be prevented that we win the next elections.” If you know Schäuble a little, you know that could also have been sarcasm. Next year there will be elections in Saxony and Thuringia.

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