After the cancellation of its rough party conference in December, the CSU does not want to hold any more rough events in the foreseeable future because of the Corona crisis. "For us as the CSU, we have stated today that on-site events, if they are necessary, can of course take place, subject to the general rules of caution and prudence", said Secretary General Markus Blume on Monday after a meeting of the CSU Executive Board in Munich. "But we see here a special model effect for us as CSU national leadership and therefore we have decided that coarser events and coarse events such as party congresses are canceled until further notice."
No substitute for presence
When asked, Blume explained that digital party conventions can of course never replace classic "never be able to replace". But at the moment there is no other way. Since German party law does not yet permit purely online elections for party positions or the drawing up of lists for elections, it is still necessary to take a "a bit on the side of caution". In the federal government, there are already talks about what emergency mechanisms are possible here, should the Corona situation become even more difficult. In the CSU, the list for the Bundestag elections will be drawn up in the summer of 2021 at the latest, and new elections – for the party presidency, for example – will be held in the fall of the coming year.
Blume emphasized that the Internet-only party convention coming up next Saturday will replace the party convention in December. A postponement, which had been discussed within the party in the meantime, is therefore off the table. The CSU is relying on the Internet instead, he said, and digital exchange is the new normal: "We will do all this virtually, go new ways, welcome new members virtually, as well as organize a grassroots tour of the prime minister and party chairman virtually digitally."
Hundreds of participants
For the first time, the CSU had held a small party conference completely on the Internet in the spring, but at that time only a relatively manageable number of members were tuned in to the speech of party leader Markus Soder. According to Blume, this is different on Saturday. About 800 delegates were invited to discuss a large number of motions. A total of about 150 motions had been submitted, of which 15 will be discussed in the Internet after internal deliberation "will be discussed in detail". In terms of content, these will deal with the digitalization of education, the protection of children and police work, among other things.
Since this Monday the CSU offers besides the classical membership also pure on-line memberships. "This is a novelty in the German party landscape", said Blume. At the same time, he is very pleased that CDU Secretary General Paul Ziemiak was the first to sign up for such an online membership. Normally, memberships in other parties are forbidden by the CSU’s statutes; the only exception is the sister party CDU.