Gordon Schnieder is to become the leader of the opposition

DGordon Schnieder, member of the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament, is to become the new leader of the CDU parliamentary group in the Mainz state parliament. On Wednesday, a commission proposed the general secretary of the Rhineland-Palatinate CDU for the post. The outgoing faction leader Christian Baldauf said in Mainz that he expected the parliamentary group to follow the proposal and elect the 47-year-old Schnieder as his successor at the end of March.

Schnieder, in turn, promised Baldauf a good working relationship on Wednesday: “We are both a team and we will remain a team.” The unity of the Rhineland-Palatinate CDU there had been considerable doubts in the past few weeks after Baldauf had announced a few days before Christmas that he would step down from the group chairmanship. As a result, there were reports that several MPs should have urged him to take this step – some reports also named Schnieder as an opponent of Baldauf.

Bernhard Vogel called for unity

The question of leadership in the Rhineland-Palatinate CDU was considered open after Baldauf’s announced withdrawal; because he wants to continue as party chairman. Separating party and parliamentary group leadership did not seem a good idea, especially to critics within the party. Others were angry about Baldauf’s dismantling and asked him to continue in both offices. Former Prime Minister Bernhard Vogel felt it necessary in this situation to call on his party to unite.

Then the party decided to close ranks: First, the Presidium rallied behind Baldauf as party leader and promised to end the piercing of the party’s internal wrangling with the media. Then the parliamentary group followed a plan that was based even more on unity than on transparency: a commission of four MPs was to draw up a proposal for the future leadership of the group. Even after this Schnieder had recommended, the CDU did not want to announce who belonged to the commission. Only head of state Baldauf let it be known that he was not personally involved in the search for his successor. On Wednesday, he was relieved that the commission quickly made a proposal and that there was no “hanging-up” to put the party’s cohesion to the test.

Schnieder also reported signs that the cohesion in the CDU is lasting. He said he was pleased with the group’s unity. Formally, however, this has not yet voted on Schnieder’s candidacy. As planned, this should not happen until the end of March. Schnieder will then replace Baldauf, who will continue to play a role in the Rhineland-Palatinate CDU as state chairman and simple member of parliament. But Schnieder then has the role of leader of the opposition in the state parliament. He spoke of a “great challenge” and the “immense responsibility” for the CDU, which has not governed in Rhineland-Palatinate since 1991.

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