Presumably the CDU not solely to blame for the fact that almost all trains between Berlin and Hanover are forecast to have an "extraordinarily high load factor" on Friday. But the chance of meeting a member of the Union faction in the scramble for the last standing room is relatively high.
According to unofficial counts, 110 members of the Bundestag faction will be among the 1001 delegates at the CDU party congress in Hanover. A good 100 Christian Democrats have to get from Berlin to Lower Saxony as quickly as possible around noon on Friday. The end of the week of sessions in the Bundestag is scheduled for 12.15 p.m. The party conference in the Hanover exhibition hall begins at 1 p.m. That would be difficult to achieve even if German long-distance trains were regularly half an hour earlier.
"It's tight," concedes Mario Czaja, who, as CDU general secretary, is sort of the chief organizer of the party congress. Apparently it couldn't have been worked out any other way, scheduling difficulties, hall occupancy plan. And so this major political event now sticks to a Bundestag budget week in a highly unusual way. According to Czaja, there was once a "parliamentary custom" to shorten the session weeks in such cases. This was already discussed in February with the factions of the traffic light coalition. "But they couldn't bring themselves to do that. That's a shame," says Czaja. According to reports, the SPD has opposed it, and the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats are only missing a few opportunities to annoy each other.
As usual, the CDU party conference starts with an ecumenical prayer. At 2 p.m. the party chairman Friedrich Merz is supposed to speak to the delegates - and at this point it is really a practical advantage that the CDU forms a joint faction with the CSU. In order to enable the Christian Democrats to perhaps take a train earlier so that they can get to Merz in Hanover in time, the Christian Socialists are said to have been asked to remain closed in the plenary hall on Friday until the end of the session - and they would be happy to do so too to occupy the front rows of chairs. If only the division of labor had always worked so well in recent years.
The women's question will be voted on Friday evening
At its first face-to-face party conference in almost three years, the CDU wants to vote on important changes to the statutes that could not be decided recently due to the pandemic. This includes the post of deputy general secretary, which Christina Stumpp was promised by Merz months ago, but which formally does not yet exist. Above all, this includes the eagerly awaited vote on the introduction of a binding quota for women in the CDU. It's supposed to take place on Friday evening.
But it is also clear that the CDU cannot hold a party conference in the autumn of war and crisis where everything revolves around its own statutes. For this reason, the main motion of the federal executive board entitled "Clear course for safe energy and a strong economy" is on the agenda first of all. In a draft paper that the Süddeutsche Zeitung is available, the CDU demands, among other things, "more state control" over the gas storage facilities and a 1000-euro energy flat rate for people with low incomes. In view of the world situation, the CDU also comes to the conclusion: "Freedom has its price."
In addition to its charter of fundamental values, the party in Hanover wants to deal with a total of 484 content-related applications, many of which could not be discussed at the last digital party conferences. In addition, Hanover should also send a strong signal in support of Bernd Althusmann, who soon wants to win a state election on the spot. Finally, a greeting from CSU boss Markus Söder also has its place on the agenda. Quite a lot of program for a 26-hour party day, including a night's rest.
On Saturday around 3 p.m. it should be over again. It is the decision in the family- and church-friendly CDU that Sunday is free of politics.