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CDU party conference: Compulsory military service: CDU wants to gradually withdraw the suspension

CDU party conference: Compulsory military service: CDU wants to gradually withdraw the suspension

Surprise at the CDU federal party conference: The Union is moving away from suspending compulsory military service. And the delegates celebrate CSU boss Söder. He makes a promise.

In view of the threat situation in Europe and the Bundeswehr’s personnel shortage, the CDU is making a U-turn on the suspension of compulsory military service. This should be lifted gradually, as the CDU federal party conference in Berlin decided.

“We will gradually withdraw the suspension of compulsory military service and convert compulsory military service into a compulsory year of service,” says the new basic program entitled “Live in freedom – lead Germany safely into the future”, which the delegates unanimously decided on in the evening. It was also added: “Prior to this implementation, we call for the introduction of a compulsory contingent military service in order to strengthen the Bundeswehr’s personnel readiness.”

CSU leader Markus Söder welcomed this decision at his party conference appearance. “The commitment to compulsory military service is an important commitment to strengthening the Bundeswehr, but also to give young people (…) a stronger connection to our democratic constitutional state,” he said.

Merz and Söder demonstrate solidarity

Together with CDU leader Friedrich Merz, the Bavarian Prime Minister demonstrated unity ahead of the upcoming elections. The question of the candidate for chancellor will be solved together, he emphasized. “Of course a CDU party leader is always the favorite, that’s clearly the case historically.” We will stick to the agreed schedule.

“I promise you: success will not fail me in 2025,” said Söder, who is held partly responsible for the Union’s election disaster in the last federal election because of his cross shots in the 2021 election campaign. “We will rock it together next year and replace the federal government, the traffic lights,” promised the CSU boss.

Merz said: “This Union stands firmly together.” They are firmly determined to first win the European elections in June and then the three state elections in September and then go into the big federal election year of 2025. Söder emphasized that the CDU and CSU are two parties, but one big team. The traffic light had its chance, it showed that it couldn’t do it. “Let’s start telling the Germans that everything can get better again. Let’s start telling the Germans that we want to get this country back on the road to success.”

Compulsory military service and compulsory community service year

The CDU party conference in Hanover decided on a compulsory company year two years ago. The draft of the basic program initially said: “In order to secure the personnel and skills needs of the armed forces in the long term, there must be no prohibitions on thinking about the future even after the suspension of compulsory military service. The concept of a compulsory social year should also benefit our country’s armed forces.”

The Junge Union, among others, submitted an amendment for compulsory military service. “We live in a country that cannot defend itself against external aggression in an emergency,” said JU boss Johannes Winkel. This is an untenable situation. “We must no longer leave the defense of our democracy to the principle of hope.” The Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther (CDU), also called for a signal to reintroduce compulsory military service. This would also be “a visible signal to Russia” and others that Germany is ready to defend the country.

After several requests to speak, the application committee presented a changed wording, which was approved by a large majority. When it comes to compulsory military service, experts from the Bundeswehr are supposed to determine how high the personnel requirements are for a year. JU boss Winkel explained that only those who are needed to cover personnel requirements will then be drafted.

Compulsory military service was suspended in Germany in 2011 after 55 years under Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (CSU). In practice, this amounted to an abolition of military and community service. At the same time, practically all of the necessary structures for compulsory military service, such as district military replacement offices, were dissolved. However, the law also stipulates that conscription for men should be revived in the event of tension and defense.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) is currently having models of compulsory military service examined, including the Swedish model of compulsory military service, due to the changed security situation after the Russian attack on Ukraine. All young women and men are mustered there, but only some do basic military service. This is similar to the concept adopted by the CDU.

Islam and dominant culture

Other passages of the basic program that were initially viewed as critical remained unobjectionable in the deliberations. The party conference passed the passage on Islam without discussion: “Muslims who share our values ​​are part of the religious diversity of Germany and our society.” And: “An Islam that does not share our values ​​and rejects our free society does not belong to Germany.” There was also no debate about the passages about a “leading culture”. The CDU includes basic and human rights, respect and tolerance, knowledge of the language and history, and recognition of Israel’s right to exist. Only those who commit to the dominant culture can become German.

Merz wants to reach swing voters with a new program

According to party leader Merz, the CDU primarily wants to convince swing voters with its new basic program. “We have to reach beyond our own members, beyond our regular voters, and the number of them is increasing, who decide anew in every election who they should vote for,” he said. “This basic program is aimed at them in a very special way.” Merz spoke of a historic day for the CDU. The election program will now be developed on this basis.

In addition, the program also has the function of “a party’s internal self-assurance,” said Merz. “We have to know about ourselves, who we are, where we are, what we want. We have succeeded in doing that.” The program should also be a “powerful symbol and signal to the outside world”. “It gives orientation, it gives support, it also gives people confidence in uncertain times.” This is the most important task of the Union.

The 1,001 delegates received 2,120 amendments to the almost 70-page draft of the basic program. It replaces the 2007 program. With the adoption of the fourth basic program in the party’s history, the CDU wanted to complete its substantive renewal after the disaster in the 2021 federal election.

Program of the CDU party conference on the basic program process Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on the CDU basic programs

Source: Stern

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