Markus Söder must have been aware that his disguise would provoke political speculation. He was able to keep the mask a secret from him until the last minute, but when he entered Veitshöchheim's hall of fools as the perfectly dressed Reich Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, debates began. Did he follow his subconscious?

Did you want to appear as chancellor at least once? Should his appearance scare the CDU's rivals? Anyone who knows Söder knows that he has the confidence to lead Germany. He has long considered himself as good as everyone else.

If the cards are in his favor, he will run. His current rejection is purely tactical talk that in a year will be yesterday's talk. False denial can be justified tactically, but this attitude cannot be defended in terms of power politics.

Söder runs for chancellorship, Merz leads parliamentary group

CSU President Söder cannot allow his self-confident party to give up so soon. When the CDU and CSU leaders meet for exploratory talks, Söder should have an ace up his sleeve. The powerful man from Bavaria can not only advise who from the CDU should participate in the race.

Merz and Söder, who get along relatively well, will study the facts together at the end of the year. The greatest tension lies in the question of how the CDU will deal with the likely difficult election results in Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg.

And, of course, the two rivals will compare their popularity ratings. Who do citizens value most? Who attracts which groups of voters? I think it is possible – depending on the facts – for both to reach an agreement on dual leadership.

Söder is running for the chancellorship, Merz leads the parliamentary group. If Söder does not win, he will remain a deputy for Bavaria. He will not sit in the Bundestag. Until then he will continue to deny it many times and we will not believe him. The only thing that is certain is that we will elect the Bundestag on September 21 or 28, 2025.


While the World Bank conducts global research, a district administrator in northern Thuringia already has concrete figures. The CDU's Werner Henning introduced a payment card for asylum seekers in his Eichsfeld district and provoked immediate reactions. Dozens of immigrants left the district because they could no longer get cash. Other district administrators had similar experiences. The payment card can be introduced for refugees because they do not have to advertise throughout Europe due to their small population.

For this reason, Bavaria is starting a test project in four municipalities. The hope is that transfers abroad will stop, but also online shopping and gambling.

The Bundesbank has determined that in 2022, 407 million euros were transferred to Syria, 162 million to Afghanistan and 120 million to Iraq, sums that probably come from social benefits for refugees.

Much larger sums flowed to other countries such as India and African countries, but the World Bank cannot determine to what extent these were wages.

It is also unclear what sums end up in the pockets of smugglers. As soon as all federal states have introduced the payment card after the tender, this source will be blocked for criminals.