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Christian Democratic Union of Germany

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Template:Infobox German Political Party

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU - Christlich-Demokratische Union) is a political party in Germany, founded after World War II by Konrad Adenauer, among others. A moderate Christian party, the CDU is the biggest conservative political party in Germany. It is also a member of the International Democrat Union.

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 Bundestag and do not run opposing campaigns.

The CDU/CSU has adherents among Roman Catholics, Protestants, rural interests, and members of all economic classes. It is generally conservative on economic and social policy and more identified with the Roman Catholic, and to a lesser extent Protestant, churches than are the other major parties, although its programs are pragmatic rather than ideological. In 1990, it merged with the East German equivalent of the same name, the Christian Democratic Union.

Contents

History

The party's roots go back to the Catholic 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 as its de facto successor, but with the goal to include not only Catholics, but also Protestants, in a common confessional and conservative party. Its first leader and West Germanys first chancellor was Konrad Adenauer. The CDU was the dominant party with Adenauer as its leader from 1949 to 1963. Then in 1963, Ludwig Erhard of the CDU succeeded Adenauer, proceeding 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 1980's by an extreme right-wing party called Die Republikaner (unrelated to America's Republican Party). The CDU was then revived in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell and the CDU regained popularity.

It was then that West Germanys chancellor Kohl, with the strong support of the United States, called for the reunification of Germany. On October 3rd, 1990, the German Democratic Republic was abolished and its territory reannexed to Germany. The same year elections was 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 Schuble; Schuble 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%.

Philosophy

According to the CDU's website, the party is nondenominational 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. They also strive for a free and unified Germany along with integrating all European countries and strengthening the European Union. Members would also like to see democracy reign strongly in all European countries.

Opponents of the CDU are the social democratic SPD, the ex-communist PDS and the environmentalist Bündnis'90/Die Grünen. The liberal FDP party is considered to be the natural partner of any CDU government. In the European elections of 2004 the CDU/CSU got 44% of the popular vote. Nationwide opinion polls taken in recent months have suggested that the CDU/CSU enjoy the support of nearly half the electorate.

Chairmen of the Christian Democratic Union, 1950-present

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

See also

External links

de:Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands fr:Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands lt:Vokietijos krikščionių demokratų sąjunga nl:Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands nn:Christlich Demokratische Union ja:ドイツキリスト教民主同盟 no:Christlich Demokratische Union nds:CDU pl:Unia Chrześcijańsko-Demokratyczna fi:Kristillisdemokraattinen puolue (Saksa) sv:Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands zh:德国基督教民主联盟

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