Cablegate: Show of Unity in Baden-Wuerttemberg Cdu As

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Show of Unity in Baden-Wuerttemberg CDU as
Oettinger Elected Standard-Bearer for 2006 State Elections

REF: A) Frankfurt 5551, B) Frankfurt 6002, C) Frankfurt
6769, D) Frankfurt 7197, E) Frankfurt 9139, F) Frankfurt

Sensitive but unclassified; not for internet distribution.

1. (SBU) At a special party convention on December 11 in
Schwaebisch-Gmuend, Baden-Wuerttemberg CDU delegates elected
Guenther Oettinger as standard-bearer for the 2006 state
elections (following Oettinger's victory in a referendum
among the 80,000 state party members). Oettinger's
referendum win (with 60.6% of the vote versus 39.4% for
state Education Minister Annette Schavan) was a defeat for
outgoing M-P Erwin Teufel, who had promoted Schavan as his
successor. Schavan graciously accepted her defeat, calling
on convention delegates to unite behind Oettinger. In the
latest slight to Oettinger, Teufel declined to encourage
convention delegates to vote for his designated successor.
In press statements, State SPD/Social Democrat chairman Ute
Vogt criticized the "power vacuum" of the coming five
months, branding Teufel an ineffective lame duck
"assassinated" by Oettinger.

2. (U) With 94.7% of delegates, Oettinger has a clear
mandate from the party. In his acceptance speech, Oettinger
set out his key priorities: consolidating the state's
budget, improving the business climate, better
transportation links, and expanded day-care. He also
indicated that most of Teufel's cabinet would stay on and
thanked Schavan and Teufel for their service.


3. (SBU) Oettinger's strong showing at the state convention
(with more support than Teufel received in December 2003)
indicates that most Baden-Wuerttemberg conservatives welcome
the change of generations and want to bury the hatchet after
a year of back-biting. The highly-visible referendum
strengthened the precedent for direct democracy in choosing
party leaders (NOTE: the Rheinland-Pfalz CDU also recently
held a membership referendum to confirm Christoph Boehr as
standard-bearer for 2006 state elections -- END NOTE).
Whether the CDU can make up lost ground in one of its
primary strongholds depends on how the embittered Teufel and
his successor handle the awkward five months until the
change of administration in April 2005. END COMMENT.


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