Cablegate: Baden-Wuerttemberg Minister-President Teufel

Published: Fri 22 Oct 2004 03:24 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Baden-Wuerttemberg Minister-President Teufel
Expected to Declare Intentions Soon
REF: A) 03 Frankfurt 10353 B) 04 Frankfurt 5551 C) 04
Frankfurt 6002 D) 04 Frankfurt 6769 E) 04 Frankfurt 7197
Sensitive but unclassified; not for internet distribution
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Recent speculation by Baden-
Wuerttemberg Christian Democrat (CDU) Minister-President
Erwin Teufel on a possible bid for re-election has added
fuel to the state's smoldering leadership debate. Several
party organizations, including the Junge Union (the CDU's
youth organization), have publicly asked Teufel to retire.
Former national CDU chairman (and longtime Bundestag caucus
chief) Wolfgang Schaeuble has also asked Teufel to step
aside. An October 19 Stuttgarter Zeitung poll showed 73%
of the state's voters as favoring Teufel's retirement.
Insiders predict that Teufel will be forced to decide at a
CDU executive board meeting on October 30. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) In an October 4 interview with national magazine
Der Spiegel, Teufel cited his high approval rating and
expressed optimism that the CDU would receive an absolute
majority if he ran again. Two days later, the Baden-
Wuerttemberg Junge Union (JU) became the first major
executive organization to call for Teufel's retirement.
Several CDU county organizations joined the JU's call, and
CDU labor wing president Christian Baumler also spoke out
against Teufel's re-election. Although Minister Rudolf
Koeberle (the state's representative in Berlin) and Social
Minister Tanja Goenner support another term for Teufel,
Baden-Wuerttemberg Agricultural Minister Willi Staechele
recently expressed public doubts on Teufel's value to the
CDU in 2006 state elections.
3. (U) On October 19, the Stuttgarter Zeitung (the state's
leading daily newspaper) published the results of a recent
telephone poll showing 73% of respondents in favor of
Teufel's retirement and 19% supporting his re-election. The
poll reflects the continuing downward trend of Minister-
President Teufel's support among the state's voters.
4. (SBU) Former CDU national chairman and Bundestag caucus
chief Wolfgang Schaeuble recently called for a change in
leadership during an internal meeting of Baden-
Wuerttemberg's 34 Bundestag deputies. CDU insiders expect
the Teufel debate to dominate the party's executive board
meeting in Stuttgart on October 30. Baden-Wuerttemberg
press reports predict Minister-President Teufel will be
forced to put his cards on the table, and some leading CDU
officials are lobbying for the meeting to be held even
5. (SBU) COMMENT: Rumors of the crafty and resourceful
Teufel's demise have often been greatly exaggerated.
However, Teufel's mishandling of recent scandals among his
FDP coalition partners and the granting of lucrative
private sector jobs to retiring political allies (reftels)
has accelerated the CDU's call for the longtime Minister-
President's exit from office. CDU insiders compare the
Teufel struggle to longtime chancellor Helmut Kohl's
decision to run (unsuccessfully) for re-election in 1998
and fear that it could have similarly negative consequences
for the national party, especially given Baden-
Wuerttemberg's status as a perennial CDU stronghold. END
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