Christian Democratic Union (Germany)

Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands
Enlarge picture
CDU logo
LeaderDr. Angela Merkel (Chancellor)
Founded1870 (Centre Party)
1945 (CDU)
HeadquartersKlingelhöferstraße 8
10785 Berlin
Political IdeologyChristian Democracy, Conservatism
International AffiliationChristian Democrat International and International Democrat Union
European AffiliationEuropean People's Party
European Parliament GroupEuropean People's Party - European Democrats
ColoursBlack, Orange
Websitehttp://www.cdu.de
See alsoPolitics of Germany
Political parties
Elections
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU — Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands) is the second largest political party in Germany. A centre-right Christian party, the CDU is a member of the European People's Party (EPP) and the International Democrat Union (IDU).

In Bavaria, the CDU does not exist; its role is played by the Christian Social Union (CSU). The CDU cooperates with the CSU at the federal level; although each party maintains its own structure, the two form a common caucus in the German Parliament and do not run opposing campaigns. Their combination is generally referred to as The Union.

The CDU's early history and the role of Konrad Adenauer are the subject of Arnold J. Heidenheimer, Adenauer and the CDU (1960). The party's first two decades in power are discussed in Geoffrey Pridham, Christian Democracy in Western Germany (1977). The CDU's first period in opposition and its changing foreign policy are examined in Clay Clemens, Reluctant Realists: The Christian Democrats and West German Ostpolitik (1989).

History

The party's roots go back to the Centre Party, founded in 1870 to promote the interests of German Catholics. The party played an important role and participated in most national governments from the last years of the German Empire and during the Weimar Republic, but was dissolved in 1933.

CDU was founded after the war with many members of the former Centre Party, but with the goal to include not only Catholics, but also Protestants, in a common confessional and conservative party. Its first leader and West Germany’s first chancellor was Konrad Adenauer. The CDU was the dominant party with Konrad Adenauer as its leader from 1949 to 1963. Then in 1963, Ludwig Erhard of the CDU succeeded Adenauer, preceding a recession in 1966. This caused the CDU to wane in power and consequently form a coalition with the SPD. Kurt Georg Kiesinger (CDU) then took power as chancellor of West Germany.

However, the SPD turned and formed a coalition with the FDP in 1969, and the CDU thus lost its leadership position for the next 13 years. It was during this time that the CDU developed new conservative economic and foreign policies. The FDP in turn developed a new coalition with the CDU in 1982 after a fall out with the SPD. By 1983, the CDU was back in power with Helmut Kohl as the new Chancellor for West Germany. Its status was then shaken in the later half of the 1980s by an extreme right-wing party called Die Republikaner. The CDU was then revived in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell and the CDU regained popularity.

It was after the people of the GDR peacefully rebelled against their government that West Germany’s chancellor Kohl, with the strong support of the United States, called for the reunification of Germany. On October 3, 1990, the German Democratic Republic was abolished and its territory reannexed to Germany. The same year elections were held for the reunified country. Although Chancellor Kohl was reelected, the party lost much of its popularity because of an economic recession in the former GDR and a tax increase in the west. He was, however, victorious again in the 1994 election.

Helmut Kohl served as chairman until the party's electoral defeat in 1998, when he was succeeded by Wolfgang Schäuble; Schäuble resigned in early 2000 as a result of a party financing scandal and was replaced by Angela Merkel. In the 1998 general election, the CDU polled 28.4% and the CSU 6.7% of the national vote. In 2002, CDU reached 29.5% and the CSU 9.0%. In 2005 early elections were called after the CDU dealt the governing SPD a major blow, winning more than ten state elections, mostly with a landslide victory. A Grand Coalition between the CDU/CSU and SPD faced the challenge that both parties demanded the chancellorship. However, after three weeks of negotiations, the two parties reached a deal whereby Merkel would become Chancellor and the SPD would hold 8 of the 16 seats in the cabinet.[1],[2] The coalition deal was approved by both parties at party conferences on November 14. [3] Merkel was elected Chancellor by the majority of delegates (397 to 217) in the newly assembled Bundestag on 22 November. [4]

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Christian Democracy
Parties
Christian Democratic parties
Christian Democrat International
European People's Party
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Euro Christian Political Movement
Christian Dem Org of America
Ideas
Social conservatism
Social market economy
Sphere sovereignty
Communitarianism
Stewardship
Catholic social teaching
Neo-Calvinism
Neo-Thomism
Important documents
Rerum Novarum (1891)
Stone Lectures (Princeton 1898)
Graves de Communi Re (1901)
Quadragesimo Anno (1931)
Laborem Exercens (1981)
Sollicitudi Rei Socialis (1987)
Centesimus Annus (1991)
Important figures
Thomas Aquinas John Calvin
Pope Leo XIII Abraham Kuyper
Maritain Adenauer De Gasperi
Pope Pius XI Schuman
Pope John Paul II Kohl
[ edit]

Policies

According to the CDU's website, the party is non-denominational Christian-based, applying the principles of Christian Democracy and serving to "unite Catholics and Protestants, Conservatives and Liberals, proponents of Christian social ideals, and men and women from various regions, social classes, and democratic traditions." The CDU believes that mankind has a responsibility to God in upholding the Christian ideals and caring for the environment. Parts of these beliefs include supporting the freedom and dignity of all persons including equal rights among women, men, and the disabled. The CDU supports the idea of a social market economy. The party strives for a free and market-oriented European Union and supports European integration. It strongly opposes the membership of Turkey in the European Union as Christians face persecution there and it does not feel that Turkey would be able to guarantee human rights for its Christian minority.

Traditionally, there have been three somewhat different strands of thought in the CDU, of roughly equal strength: Christian-social thinking as popular among the Catholic working class, emphasizing faith and social justice according to a Roman Catholic view of man; moderately Nationalist-conservative thinking as popular in most rural areas and small towns of Germany, emphasizing a defense of traditional German culture and values; and free-market economic liberalism as popular among business interests, emphasizing economic freedom and self-determination. A very pronounced anti-Marxism was common to all three groupings. Lately, the free-market element seems to have become stronger than the other two.

Opponents of the CDU are the social democratic SPD, the post-communist Left Party/PDS and the left-wing environmentalist Bündnis'90/Die Grünen. The liberal FDP party is considered to be the natural partner of any CDU government (although this was different in the past, when the CDU was more markedly conservative and the FDP more markedly liberal).

Internal Structure

Members

The CDU currently has 574,526 members (As of: February 2, 2005)

25.2 % of members are female and 74.8 % male. The female proportion is higher in the new East Germany states with 29.2 % compared to the former states in West Germany with 24.8 %.

Before 1966 membership totals in CDU organization were only estimated. The numbers after 1966 are based on the total from December 31 of the previous year.

Data about state party group

Enlarge picture
Konrad-Adenauer-Haus, headquarters of the CDU, in Berlin


State groupChairmanMembers
Baden-WürttembergGünther Oettinger79,000
BerlinIngo Schmitt13,000
BrandenburgUlrich Junghanns7,000
BremenBernd Neumann
HamburgDirk Fischer
HesseRoland Koch
Mecklenburg-VorpommernEckhardt Rehberg7,000
Lower SaxonyChristian Wulff
North Rhine-WestphaliaJürgen Rüttgers185,000
Rhineland-PalatinateChristian Baldauf
SaarlandPeter Müller22,000
SaxonyGeorg Milbradt15,000
Saxony-AnhaltThomas Webel9,000
Schleswig-HolsteinPeter Harry Carstensen30,000
ThuringiaDieter Althaus13,000

Party strongholds

The traditional strongholds of the party are concentrated in rural and/or Catholic regions such as Eifel, Münsterland, Sauerland, the Fulda district, Schwaben, Emsland, Nordfriesland, Vorpommern as well as areas in Saxony, the Thuringia Eichsfeld, Taunus, and smaller cities such as Baden-Baden, Konstanz, and Pforzheim. Only very small support exists in Bremen, Brandenburg, and East Berlin. Nevertheless the CDU gained an absolute majority at the last state elections in the liberal and affluent city of Hamburg, which used to be a historic stronghold of the Social Democrats.

Relationship with the CSU

Together with its sister party, the CSU, which is only active in Bavaria, the CDU has formed a joint parliamentary group in the Federal Parliament (Bundestag). This joint group is called CDU/CSU or (informally) "the Union"; its basis is a binding agreement known as a Fraktionsvertrag between the two parties.

The youth organisation for CDU and CSU is common: Junge Union.

On issues of national importance and in national election campaigns the CDU and CSU closely coordinate their activities, but they remain legally and organizationally separate parties. The differences between the CDU and the somewhat more conservative CSU sometimes lead to friction between them. The most notable and serious such incident was in 1976, when the CSU under Franz Josef Strauß ended the alliance with the CDU at a party conference in Wildbad Kreuth. This decision was reversed shortly thereafter when the CDU threatened to run candidates against the CSU in Bavaria.

The relationship of CDU to CSU has historic parallels to previous Christian Democratic parties in Germany, with the Catholic Centre Party as the national Catholic party in Germany with the Bavarian People's Party as the local Bavarian variant.

Flag

There is now some, albeit sketchy, information about the history of CDU flags. This seems to be a very difficult story, as they obviously change their logo and their flag every four to five years or so. The last flag had been introduced around 1998. Recently the CDU introduced a new logo together with a whole new corporate identity (CI).

The main feature of the logo is, that it always has to be the same: a red inscription 'CDU' (new font) on a white rectangle of proportions 1:3. Any additional symbols (regional symbols) or text have to be outside the white rectangle. If shown on a coloured background this logo is usually shown on an orange field.

The flag is an orange field with the white rectangle at the bottom. The colours are defined in the CI as follows: orange RGB 255/153/0; red RGB 235/39/41.

Think-tank Konrad Adenauer Foundation

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation is the think-tank of the CDU. It is named after the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and first president of the CDU. The foundation offers political education, conducts scientific fact-finding research for political projects, grants scholarships to gifted individuals, researches the history of Christian Democracy, and supports and encourages European unification, international understanding, and development-policy cooperation. Its annual budget amounts to around 100 million Euro.

Special organizations

Notable suborganizations of the CDU are:
  • Junge Union (JU), the common youth organisation of the CDU and the CSU
  • Christlich-Demokratische Arbeitnehmerschaft (CDA), a traditionally leftist association representing Christian Democratic wage-earners
  • Evangelischer Arbeitskreis der CDU/CSU (EAK, together with the CSU), representing the Protestant minority in the party
  • RCDS (Ring Christlich Demokratischer Studenten), the student organisation of the party

Chairmen of the Christian Democratic Union, 1950-present

Parliamentary chairmen/chairmen of the CDU/CSU group in the national parliament

German Chancellors from CDU

See also

Further reading

  • Hans-Otto Kleinmann Geschichte der CDU: 1945–1982. Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-421-06541-1

External links

Germany

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Conservatism in Germany encompasses a large number of strains of the past three hundred years.

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The Centrist Democrat International was until 2001 the Christian Democrat International (CDI) and before that the Christian Democrat and People's Parties International. The name officially changed due to the participation of groups of various faiths [1].
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The International Democrat Union (IDU) is an of classical liberal, conservative, nationalist, anti-Communist and some Christian democratic political parties.

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European People's Party
Europäische Volkspartei
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Partito Popolare Europeo
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Germany

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Germany

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Politics of Germany


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Germany

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Politics of Germany


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political party is a political organization that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. Parties often espouse a certain ideology and vision, but may also represent a coalition among disparate interests.
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The centre-right is a political term commonly used to describe or denote individuals, political parties or organisations (such as think tanks) whose views stretch from the centre to the right on the left-right spectrum, excluding far right stances.
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European People's Party
Europäische Volkspartei
Parti populaire européen
Partito Popolare Europeo
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The International Democrat Union (IDU) is an of classical liberal, conservative, nationalist, anti-Communist and some Christian democratic political parties.

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Free State of Bavaria

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Christian Social Union of Bavaria ( CSUChristlich-Soziale Union in Bayern e.V.  ) is a Christian democratic political party in Germany.
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caucus is most generally defined as being a meeting of supporters or members of a political party or movement. The exact definition varies between many different countries.
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Type Lower house

President of the Bundestag Dr. Norbert Lammert, CDU
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Members 614
Political groups Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union of Bavaria Bloc (226)
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The German Centre Party (Deutsche Zentrumspartei or merely Zentrum) was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic.
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The Roman Catholic Church in Germany is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome. Securalisation has made its impact in Germany as elsewhere in Europe; nowadays less than one third of the total population is Catholic
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The Weimar Republic ( Weimarer Republik  , IPA: [ˈvaɪ̯marɐ repuˈbliːk
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Konrad Hermann Josef Adenauer (IPA: [kɔnʁa:t hɛɐman jozef a:denaʊeɐ]), January 5, 1876 – April 19, 1967) was a German statesman.
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Konrad Hermann Josef Adenauer (IPA: [kɔnʁa:t hɛɐman jozef a:denaʊeɐ]), January 5, 1876 – April 19, 1967) was a German statesman.
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Ludwig Erhard (February 4, 1897–May 5, 1977) was a German politician (CDU) and Chancellor of West Germany from 1963 until 1966.

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Kurt Georg Kiesinger (April 6, 1904–March 9, 1988) was a conservative German politician and Chancellor of West Germany from 1 December, 1966 until 21 October, 1969.

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Born in Ebingen, Germany, Kiesinger was educated in Berlin and became a lawyer.
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Helmut Josef Michael Kohl (born April 3, 1930) is a German conservative politician and statesman. He was Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 (West Germany between 1982 and 1990) and the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 1973-1998.
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right-wing, the political right, and the right are terms used in the spectrum of Left-Right Politics, and much like the opposite appellation of Left-wing, it has a broad variety of definitions: the same name can, in politics, sometimes mean different things.
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Germany

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