The party as a house

How the voting-tactical self-discipline of the party members allows the political survival of controversial party leaders

Angela Merkel, as Chancellor popular, seems to be undisputed as a CDU chairman. Only from time to time come critics from the cover. Mostly, however, it is quiet around the party feet. No CDU politician seems to be in conversation as an alternative to them. Nobody with rank and name is the chairman in question.

How it looks in the CDU, is difficult to judge. The younger political history, however, shows that party leaders can then keep in office even if they have been rejected by the members. These can not argue their rejection because they were damaged by the positive media picture of the party. Parties need a positive media echo if they want to score in the electives. Therefore, their representatives have to be disciplined in the public to provide no reason for negative comments to journalists and political opponents. The variety of members of the party interested in electoral fences is therefore accompanied by criticism in order not to danger their own election prospects through the media picture of a destructive party. This offers the chairman the opportunity for the maintenance of his power claim.

How this strategy is working on defending the Office shows one of the most spectacular party days, the SPD party congress in Mannheim of 1995. At the same time it became clear, under which circumstances this strategy fails. The staging of the "Unity" The party only succeeds by the self-discipline of her members. Where someone refuses this staging or makes mistakes, the card house can put together in itself.

Mannheim 1995: Rudolf Scharpings Unexpected finish

At 16. November 1995, in Mannheim, there was an unusual and unexpected fight candidacy for the party presidency. With 190 to 321 votes underlay Unterlagen Rudolf Scharping his challenger Oskar Lafontaine. The party executive Scharping had nominated a month before unanimous as the only candidate for the highest party office. Lafontaine had also lifted his hand for Scharping in this session and expressed a combat tuning in the press.

Rudolf Scharping. Image: Bundeswehr photos we.To serve.Germany. License: CC-BY-2.0

In the long history of the SPD, Scharping was the first chairman who lost its office in this way. The exclusive of these events was a speech that Lafontaine had held the day before. Unlike Scharping he had inspired the delegates and to write to standing ovations. The crisis-shattered SPD of 1995 seemed to brace through his words. Many congressional participants pushed lafontaine, to apply for the party presidency. After a turbulent night full of negotiations, Lafontaine explained in the morning of 16. November ready for a candidacy.

With this course of the party day neither journalists nor SPD politicians had expected. To speak Lafontaines, Scharpings re-election was as inscriptue. With his speech, Lafontaine unintentionally had the staging of the "Unity" fail. Thus, for the Scharpinggebefel had opened a favorable opportunity to decelerate the unloved chairman. The strong interest in a president change so far could finally prevail.

Scharping, the unloved chairman

In the fall of 1995, the desire for a resolution Scharpings grew in the party. Its bad media image sees the fear of election defeats. Parties need a positive media picture to find appeals at elective. But only a small group of prominent top politicians is actually considered by the media in the reporting. On her shoulders rests the main burden of the electoral advertising. From the municipal politician on the state members to the member of the Bundestag, all who need electorals for the realization of their goals depending on the media echo of their top functionaries depending on the media. Accordingly, they also expect from their party chairman that he sold well well. If he does not succeed, the chairman loses to jerking. In view of threatening mandate losses, there is a strong interest of many members to replace the poorly covered chairman by a media-effective candidate.

The Scharping, which was mocked and criticized by the media and political opponents, had long been enjoyed as a problem for a long time. In dealing with media and people, Scharping worked awkward and left. Fiery speeches were not his thing. He was not a crowd pleaser, there was a lack of charm and sympathetic charisma. With its peculiarities, he worked like a torment of the ies of the party, which more and more slipped into the crisis.

In 1994, the SPD lost the federal election just against the black-yellow coalition under the driving of Helmut Kohl (CDU). Not a few kept this election defeat for a personal failure of the SPD chairman and Chancellor candidates Scharping. His competitor, the media facility and in front of Cameras Souverane Niedersachsian Minister Prosident and Spatere Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, dearly after the choice on television: "I packed it." That was the prelude to a public power struggle of both manner, who hawked until autumn 1995. In the party you took Schroder the urge into the media Ubel. But he was able to expand its popularity in the population with his stitches against Scharping. Sharping, on the other hand, seemed the prejudices to confirm him as a drug. His stand in publicity and party also deteriorated by the significant losses of the SPD at the state elections 1995.

The survey values of the Federal Party fell into the basement and temporarily even undercut the 30 percent mark. In the 1990s, such numbers were still considered catastrophe. At the same time, the ruling CDU / CSU built its lead in the surveys even on an absolute majority. The hope of Schwand, now since 13 years of long-speaking Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1998 can finally be stobborn by throne. In the SPD, few in Sharping saw a burden for the coming election campaigns. This was especially suitable for the year-day elections in Baden-Wurttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Schleswig-Holstein. The election campaigns were considered to drove their campaigns without performances of the chairman so as not to get into the mood by his bad image.

Shortly before the Mannheim Party Day, in October 1995, the Berlin SPD lost its majority of government. This crissful defeat was struck the fear of electoral chimers from mandate losses. In the face of threatening election defeats, the question came on whether a popular representative representative could save the location. With the popular Schroder, the party at least had an option for the emergency. But also Lafontaine was considered a hopeful. These scenarios demonstrated in the party and media led to a discussion of the question of whether sharpening is still the appropriate chairman. His reputation continued because journalists in him saw a party run on call, who no longer support the support of the "Base" have.

The self-discipline of the critics and the staging of the "Unity"

The wish of many members and party representatives after a change of staff, however, was not pronounced on the party day. In view of the crisis of the party, the party footing for the first day had set a temporally unlimited debate in order to give the delegates a valve for their refusal. The party crisis were discussed seven hours. Not a few delegates criticized the party footing. Nevertheless, nobody dared to enter open and clearly for the reduction Scharpings. No delegate demanded a fight candidacy or suggested an alternative candidate. No one submitted an application that made the question of personnel consequences for the official party congress theme. Of the 321 delegates, who should make two days later Lafontaine for the new chairman, no one did not exercise himself clearly and unmistakable to the personnel question. Therefore, there was no doubt about the re-election of Scharpings.

Which may be feight for outdoors, was expedient for the party conversation participants. They had changed the change of staff only if he was finally realized. At the beginning of the Mannheim Party Tag, an exchange of the chairman was unlikely. Sharping had always emphasized his sideline in view of the media criticism and excluded a voluntary jerking.

A combat candidacy was only possible if someone had become pleased to compete against Scharping. Both Gerhard Schroder and Oskar Lafontaine renounced it. For both, the risk of a fight candidacy was too high. Both politicians had worked on their climb for decades, both sought after the Chancellor’s candidacy for the 1998 Bundestag election. You were not allowed to put these ambitions on the game through any defeat against sharpening.

Her chances of success were not good either. Schroder was popular in the German population Popular, but in its own party controversial. Lafontaine had to hold his vote in the party council in order not to be criticized in the event of a candidacy as a principled. Likewise, he lacked reliable signals that he could win a majority of delegates for themselves. On the contrary: High-ranking representatives of the Landesverband North Rhine-Westphalia love him shortly before the congress that he would have no chance in a fight candidacy. Thus, a combat candidacy was not conceivable as a short-term solution of the personnel problem.

A personal debate without a solution but had only the picture of an oriented party that does not manage to overwind her crisis. Without a wiping off Scharpings, such a discussion had left the impression of hopelessness. The media had offered the picture that the delegates were tolerated the controversial sharpening only because there is no alternative gift. Underneath had the privileges of the SPD responded. Whoever wanted to avoid such media comments, had to renounce a collective teething to a demand for a resolution of Scharpings.

The fight for a good media echo demanded even more self-discipline from the Scharpinggers. It was not enough that they kept their wishful ideas for himself. Rather, they had to do the openness against it as if they were expressfully burying the re-election of Scharpings. Journalists know that politicians reluctantly disclose how they actually think. Out of the idea to attend a staging, journalists observe very closely how politicians behave. They not only pay attention to their words, but also interpret their corporation as evidence of possible intra-party power struggles.

Accordingly, all parties of congress participants were held in Mannheim to make their behavior in such a way that they did not give journalists any occasion to speculate about such arguments. In order to eliminate any impression of dispute, it is important to be the party as "closed" steer. In the openness, the picture must arise that membership of events in terms of basic views and values has agreed. The media-effective symbol of this unit is the chairman. If he is recognized party aircraft television as a tagging of the values and goals of membership, the "Unity" the party a sensual expression. Therefore, the delegates in Mannheim had to confessively confess to Scharping and underpin this by their behavior.

For Rudolf Scharping, this offered the chance to correct his media picture as a controversial. He could build on the self-discipline of delegates and on the fact that they were confirmed in the office. Thus, Scharping had to counter the media that he was the chairperson of the Member Ratio of the SPD. With the unanimous nomination of Scharpings, the party executive had increased the prere on the delegates additionally. A criticism of this proposal was not possible. She had generated the impression of a guided in the media without a follower. The picture of the "closed" Party would then no longer be conveyed in conveyed. So Scharping the Chairman Choice, planned for the third day of the party congress, could look forward to.

Lafontaine let the staging of the "Unity" burst

In the afternoon of the second day, however, Oskar Lafontaine joined the lectern and opened the Scharpingpers the unexpected opportunity to drive the office owner from the office. Journalists and Scharpinganhanger languages of a long planned "Coup" Lafontain. But in reality Lafontaine had the staging of the "Unity" the party clearly burst. There was no reason for the sparping opponents to discipline.

Oskar Lafontaine. Image: Gunther Hibler. License: CC-BY-SA-3.0

A coup was therefore not because Lafontaine had strung to meet the expectations of a politician star like him. Of celebrities like Lafontaine, the delegates hope for a rhetorical high point that interrupts the mutuality of the meeting bureaucracy and formulation debates of the congress. These work phases of a party day are also uninteresting for the media. A brilliant speech of a top politician has a high message value. The media have something to report and the party can hope for effective television pictures. Accordingly, Lafontaines was speech. In terms of content, they offer no new insights and surprising findings. Lafontaine highlighted social democratic general places that were undisputed in the party. Basically, he had hardly said anything other than one day before the chairman. He did not go into detail and thus avoid any debate about the question of how the coarse words are to be translated into concrete policy. He remained at the level of most general claims that made it easy to identify with his statements. He did not hear a word about the dispute over party presidency and Chancellor candidate, although he was known as critical Scharpings. Lafontaine had done everything to avoid any misstone. The audience thanked him with jolly and thundering applause.

The speech was not problematic by their statements, but through the lectural style. Lafontaine talked out loud, fast and vital and was able to inspire this way. He made the party feet clearly in the shadows, whose openness speech was more likely to be detected as resigned, spotted and little animating. Lafontaine had to adapt to the limited rhetorical skills of his chairman to deliver him to the critique of the media.

The staging of the "Unity" The party puts special requirements for prominent top functionaries. From the view of the media, these celebrities are most likely to burst the chairman. The hierarchical structure of the party lit also suggests that the top politicians of the second or third series continue to fight for their climb. But this can only be achieved if you displace the councilors on the high hierarchy levels.

Such disputes are the fabric for exciting media payments. They act quota and upgrading. But for the party they are devastating because they arise from the impression of crushing. Therefore, subordinated top functionaries always have to make sure that they confirm the current official distribution in the party as correct and meaningfully. You have to make it clear in your exercises as well as in your behavior that you accept your place in the hierarchy. They must also show that they also earn their position. This is followed by a duty to a ranked self-presentation in the public. His appearance must not be glorious than the appearances of the Hearrangigen. Otherwise, it is likely that the appearance of the subordinates in the media is interpreted as an attack or as an expression of dissatisfaction with official distribution.

In Mannheim, Lafontaine had not held himself to this staging rule. That had follow. Because Lafontaine received significantly more applause than sharpening, called him journalists as "Secret party chairman". The applause they took as proof that the delegates wanted to see Lafontaine in the chairman. A re-election of Scharpings had interpreted the commentators as an act of self-denial of the delegates. The jubilation for Lafontaine also seemed to show that the vehicle was lost with the resistant domination Scharpings the towel. The board did not seem to reproduce the will of the intra-party majority.

A few hours after speech, television commentators a contradictory situation: you lie lafontaine to the dome, but became the less popular sharpening elections. Scharpings re-election was shown as an error. This was the staging of the "Unity" failed. These television comments will love that Scharping was remained controversial. In the case of a re-election of Scharpings, the congress had left a significantly negative impression in the public. Therefore, delegates were now able to think about a fight candidacy without a risk of gross risk.

Even before Lafontaines speech, other congressional participants had such debates as harmful tobrapes because they had unnotically delivered the fabric for a drama. After Lafontaines speech was the bad media echo by no PR coup to prevent more. to discuss a combat candidacy did not increase the damage. For this she offered the opportunity to end the personnel dispute media.

Angela Merkel: Trugian collateral

Combanning candidates for the party presidency are rare in the German party landscape. As a rule, a single candidate enters the election, which is confirmed by the congress without major discussions. It is therefore not very likely that a change of personnel in the CDU similarly spectacular takes place as in the SPD of 1995.

The party as a house

Image: Armin Linnartz. License: CC-BY-SA-3.0

Angela Merkel can still not weigh in safety. That there is no public debate about your person, no conservation offers that your position in the party is generally recognized. It is obvious to the staging discipline, uneasy to ame that you have commissioned the prolonged candidates with the party footing. In German permanent choice, there is always an occasion for this discipline. Angela Merkel still protected by its popularity in the German population.

On this popularity, the party hopes for the coming federal election campaign. Each challenge criticism in the Union was thus answered with the reminder, which Chancellor can not be damaged. If you believe the media, the CDU boss sits firmly in the saddle. How well your standing is really, will prove, if your star drops, then when the euro crisis reaches Germany. Then the pissing assistants of the Chancellor could quickly turn out to be wrong friends.

The former FDP chairman Guido Westerwelle has had to hear this love withdrawal on its own body when he became a burden on his party through his image. He did him rather from the office. The last FDP party congress in turn showed that his successor Philipp Rosler is no longer a quota leader. Rainer Bruderle moved all rhetorical registers and provoked Hamische Media Comments on the expected end of the pale remaining party feet. The German publicity is therefore doing well to mistrust the picture of the healing world of the CDU.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.