Opinion: Merkel′s CDU secures democratic stability | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 16.11.2010
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Opinion: Merkel's CDU secures democratic stability

The CDU did not only re-elect Angela Merkel as their leader on the convention, but the party also strengthened its profile with regards to content. This will have an impact on German politics, says DW's Peter Stützle.

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Germany remains a haven for political stability. This can by all means be predicted after the Christian Democrat (CDU) party conference. Parties who manipulate resentments against foreigners may win elections in many other European countries - in Germany they don't. And the CDU has done a lot at its convention in Karlsruhe to assure it stays that way. People's concerns that might be exploited by right-wing populists elsewhere are taken seriously by the CDU in Germany.

There is undeniably a fear among a wide section of society that migrants from other cultures develop parallel societies and cannot contribute towards the country's welfare because of their lack of language skills and education. The CDU addresses this discomfort, but stays away from populist slogans and focuses on sophisticated statements.

DW's Peter Stützle

The CDU prevents right-wing populists from gaining strength, says Stuetzle

In short: Yes to the immigration of skilled laborers, but only after the country's unemployed have gotten a chance on the labor market. Migrants who are already living in Germany are welcome, but they have to learn the German language and respect the laws and basic values of the majority society. To Christian Democrats, that is the balance between multicultural arbitrariness and assimilation.

The CDU convention agreed to follow that line without long-winded discussions. Beforehand, the CDU discussed one question in detail that especially plagued people with strong Christian beliefs: Should embryos which were conceived outside the womb be screened in order to rule out hereditary diseases before they get implanted? Two positions - strict rejection and approval for limited cases - were considered in a very serious way. In the end, a razor-thin majority chose the former.

Conservatives across the spectrum stayed at home during national elections a year ago and even more so during federal elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, because they didn't feel adequately represented by the CDU. By accommodating their needs, the CDU is also playing power games - intent on securing its majority. But because it also prevents the right-wing populists from gaining strength, it also serves the democratic stability of the biggest country in the heart of Europe.

Peter Stuetzle is a DW political correspondent at the CDU conference
Editor: Rob Turner

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