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Printed Print – Fuel debate on Merkel & # 39; s succession

– by Andreas Rinke

Berlin (Reuters) – "I can, I want and I will": the title of a new book about Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has a clear effect and is cleverly chosen.

Because the CDU Secretary General is considered one of the possible successors of Chancellor and CDU leader Angela Merkel. And the title seems to underline her political aspirations – although the meaning of her application for the secretary general is borrowed in February 2018. But the book by journalists Kristina Dunz and Eva Quadbeck shows that books reinforce political debates: there are three biographies of potential Merkel successors.

The fact that two were written about Kramp-Karrenbauer and one about Health Minister Jens Spahn is an indicator that provides journalists and publishers with the greatest opportunities. As a reminder: during a debate about the period after the Merkel between 2013 and 2015, biographies of the then-favorites Ursula von der Leyen and Thomas de Maizière were published. Significantly, a title at that time was "Chancellor of the Reserve".

For decades it has been a good thing for German politicians to also make politics with books. Books radiate seriousness and thoughtfulness. Chancellors such as Helmut Kohl used the medium to write down their own desired legacy after the career. But biographies also draw attention to aspiring politicians and underline their claims: Angela Merkel was interviewed in detail for the 2005 election campaign for the book "Mein Weg". The book is full of substantive views of a CDU politician, who was greatly underestimated at the time.

When the current SPD leader Andrea Nahles presented a book in 2009 with the subtitle "What's important to me", this was the final proof of the ambitious career leap. However, books on Chancellor candidates such as Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Martin Schulz simply meet the heightened public interest in learning more about people who are preparing to hold the highest political office.


The same applies to the former Prime Minister of Saarland Kramp-Karrenbauer: for the two journalists from the Rheinische Post & # 39; Dunz and Quadbeck not only have many conversations with political companions and family-based biographical contours of the career of 56-year-olds. In ten printed interviews Kramp-Karrenbauer also answered them – about their convictions, the necessary reorganization of the CDU, the role of Germany in the world or possible competitors, companions and, of course, Merkel.

The "Bunte" editor Manfred Otzelberger has adopted a different approach in his Kramp-Karrenbauer biography ("Die Macht ist weiblich"). In addition to the biographical demolition, he lets others talk about the CDU top politician – such as the Saarland Peter Hartz or the mayor of Saarbrücken, Charlotte Britz.

The fact that Kramp-Karrenbauer has decided to give Dunz and Quadbeck access to interviews for hours shows that politicians are not only an object of reporting, even with books. They decide for themselves whether and to what extent they want to cooperate – even though Kramp-Karrenbauer was initially reserved for the book project of the journalists, according to Dunz.

It was very similar in the biography of Spahn by Michael Bröcker. "He did not really want the book," says the chief editor of the "Rheinische Post" about the history of the book. Because the CDU member of the Presidium is indeed free for his ambitions, which extend to the chancellery. "If I did not trust the chancellor, I did not have to do everything", Bröcker quotes a statement from 2013. But Spahn has no interest in acting too early as an actor or even a serious opponent of the CDU boss. , Because according to the unwritten laws of the journalistic market and politics Berlin, a book about the 38-year-old would have appeared, Spahn agreed – and Bröcker was not only available for three long interviews, but was also facilitated as Kramp-Karrenbauer for Dunz / Quadbeck also the sensitive research in a personal environment.


However, the "authorized biography" stamp has none of the three books – which probably meets both sides: the authors were more free in the presentation. And the two politicians did not want to reinforce the already created impression that two possible chancellors are officially warming up here. In the book by Dunz / Quadbeck, for example, Kramp-Karrenbauer avoids the question of whether she wants to become a chancellor of the Union herself with the answer "Beautiful Trial". Everything stays open.

The fact that Spahn knows the meaning and power of books in the political debate, by the way, he already published in November 2015 the refugee crisis volume "Ins Open", in which the then state secretary in the Ministry of Finance criticized the refugee policy of the chancellor significantly supported – and even topped with the accusation "a kind of state fault".

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