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Angela Merkel's erstwhile Bavarian CSU allies opposed to her liberal refugee policy are planning to block her expected candidacy for a fourth term as chancellor. Members want internal ballots to spoil her chances.
Germany's tabloid newspaper "Bild" reported Thursday that many branches of Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer's Christian Social Union were insisting that CSU aspirants for federal electorates promise not to back a Merkel candidacy in 2017.
Rhetoric against Merkel and refugees was "festering" in Bavarian CSU branches, "Bild" said, led by the CSU's leading youth representative Hans Reichert.
Merkel has not declared her candidacy, but her combative, forward-looking speech to the Bundestag on Wednesday - just after her G20 visit to China - was widely interpreted as a swipe at detractors, despite electoral inroads made by the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).
"I'm sure that if we stick to the truth, we will win back what we need - peoples' trust," Merkel told the federal parliament in Berlin.
Invitation to Merkel missing
"Bild" said Merkel had still not received an invitation to the CSU's annual convention due in Munich on November 4, adding that Seehofer had said he did not want a repeat "theater like last year."
At the 2015 convention - two months after Merkel and her chancellery decided to keep Germany's border open for Balkan route refugees - Seehofer lambasted her in front of 800 CSU delegates for 13 minutes and demanded a limit on entries.
CSU catalog of refugee strictures
The German news agency DPA reported Thursday that CSU insiders had compiled a catalog of further strictures intended for German policies on refugees and immigrants - to be submitted to the CSU's Upper Bavaria regional conference on Friday and Saturday.
Aside from the CSU's long-standing insistence that entries by capped annually at 200,000 asylum seekers, using transit border camps as filters, the catalog's backers want preference given to migrants from "our Occidental Christian cultural area."
Also proposed is an "immigration limitation law," a ban on body-obscuring burqas, rejection of dual nationality in Germany, and fast deportation of rejected asylum applicants at the border. The burqa was described as the "uniform of Islamism."
Also contained in the CSU draft was a rejection of "special swimming times for Muslims," rejection of visa liberalization for Turks included in a recent EU-Turkey deal, and the demand that "after cessation of the grounds for [refugee] flight rigorous repatriation must follow."
"A nation must decide itself who it admits - that is not decided by the migrants," the CSU draft said, while adding "we are opposed to our world-open country being changed by immigration and refugee flows. Germany must remain Germany."
Warming up for 2017 race?
It was an echo of Merkel's formulation on Wednesday, when she told the Bundestag: "Change is not a bad thing … Germany will remain Germany with everything that we love and treasure."
"Bild" predicted that that would become Merkel's electoral slogan in 2017, expressing doubt that she would be swayed by detractors within her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and particularly among her erstwhile Bavarian CSU allies.
Before Merkel's Wednesday speech, her parliamentary CDU/CSU whip Volker Kauder suggested Germany's integrative efforts were working and Merkel was undeterred. "We can master such a task," he said, echoing Merkel's "we can do this" assurance of last year.
1.4 million per week
World migratory trends were highlighted Tuesday by federal development aid minister, Gerd Müller, himself a Bavarian CSU member, who said 1.4 million people migrated into world cities, above all in Asia and Africa, each week.
German investment was needed in global urban mobility to mitigate resulting problems such as traffic congestion and a shortage of training facilities, Müller said, ahead of a major UN conference on urbanization due next month in Quito, Ecuador.
18 metropolises in Africa by 2030
Last month, Germany's BiB federal institute for population research forecast that Africa, currently with seven cities larger than five-million, would have 18 such metropolises by 2030.
Egypt's Cairo and Lagos in Nigeria would be the largest at 25 million, followed by Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with 20 million.
The reasons were demographically young populations and high birth rates.
Germany hosts the next G20 summit in Hamburg in July 2017.
ipj/jil (Reuters, KNA, dpa)