Armin Laschet, the Christian Democratic candidate for chancellor in the most recent election in Germany, took on responsibility for the party’s record-low percentage of votes on Saturday.
“The responsibility for this result lies with me as boss and candidate for chancellor. I am responsible for the election campaign, ”said Laschet at a youth party conference in Münster.
Laschet became head of the CDU at the beginning of the year and hoped to succeed Angela Merkel as Chancellor.
In the parliamentary elections on September 26, the CDU received only 24.1 percent of the vote, the worst result in its history and came in second behind the Social Democrats.
The party, which has headed the government for almost 16 years under Merkel, could now become part of the opposition if the Social Democrats (SPD) discuss a government coalition with the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the left-wing Greens.
Laschet said conservatives should prepare to join the opposition when a new coalition is formed.
He added that after the party’s internal struggle and the dispute over the nomination of a candidate during the election, the CDU needed more unity.
“We have to learn that,” said Laschet. “Any mayoral election will be lost if it is decided that ‘he or she is our candidate’ and then those who were not elected say, ‘Yes, but we had a better one.'”
“The Social Democrats have shown how one can lead a unified election campaign in spite of differences,” he added. “That was once the strength of the Union, and it must become the strength of the Union again in the future … We have to learn this virtue of sticking together again if we want to win elections in the future.”
Laschet wants to resign as president of the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the beating heart of the CDU.