Merkel ends CDU congress with call for victory
4th December 2007, German Chancellor Angela Merkel ends the two-day annual congress of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) with a call for victory in three state elections early next year.
4th December 2007
German Chancellor Angela Merkel ends the two-day annual congress of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) with a call for victory in three state elections early next year.
The CDU party chairwoman urged the 1,000 delegates in Hanover to "go out onto the streets" to campaign for convincing victories for CDU incumbents in Lower Saxony, Hesse and Hamburg.
At the congress, where a new programme for the next generation was passed, the conservative Christian party staked its claim to occupy the centre ground of German politics.
"We are the centre, and only we are the centre," Merkel told the party to applause on Monday in her keynote address.
The chancellor moved to distance her party clearly from its current coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
And it reaffirmed its longstanding alliance with its Bavarian sister-party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).
CSU Chairman Erwin predicted victory for the CDU/CSU bloc in national elections, which must be held by September 2009, saying he would take the SPD on with the slogan, "Freedom not Socialism."
The SPD was secretly planning an alliance with the Left Party that has its main base in the formerly communist east of the country, he charged.
The congress provided no surprises. Most motions were passed with overwhelming majorities, with the exception of a measure to ease slightly restrictions on stem-cell research which passed by a majority of 22 only after Merkel had intervened personally.
Subject: German news, Merkel, elections, congress