German YouTube stars rally behind Rezo’s political rant

Germany's biggest online stars closed ranks Friday around YouTuber Rezo whose rant against Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has gone viral, with an open letter urging Germans to shun her coalition's parties at EU elections over their climate failings.

German YouTube stars rally behind Rezo's political rant
German YouTuber Reza. Photo: DPA

In the video “The destruction of the CDU”, Rezo accused the Merkel-led coalition of making policies “for the rich” while failing to act on crucial issues like global warming.

Published online on May 18th, the video had been viewed 7.5 million times by Friday, throwing Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party into crisis-fighting mode.

CDU heavyweights initially hit out at Rezo accusing him of false claims or oversimplifying the issues, before taking a more conciliatory tone inviting him to dialogue.

But the damage had been done.

READ ALSO: German YouTuber shakes up mainstream politics with viral video

In this YouTube video, Rezo speaks out against the CDU and mainstream politics.

On Friday, the problem snowballed with 70 YouTubers — some with more than five million followers — joining Rezo in a riposte explicitly telling voters to shun the parties in Merkel's coalition.

“Don't vote for the CDU-CSU, don't vote for the SPD,” they said, adding that the far-right AfD should also be rejected.

The CSU is the CDU's sister party in Bavaria, the SPD is the centre-left Social Democrat party and the AfD or Alternative for Germany is a populist anti-immigration party.

“The irreversible destruction of our planet is unfortunately not an abstract scenario but the predictable result of the current policies,” the YouTubers said.

“The experts say clearly that the course taken by the CDU-CSU and the SPD is drastically wrong and is taking us into a situation in which the Earth is getting inexorably warmer, no matter what we do,” they added.

The young stars also voiced anger at establishment politicians' patronizing attitude over their criticism.

“Dear politician: of course you now have the possibility to discredit us again. You can accuse us of not having any plan to tackle what we're talking about. That we're lying. That we're participating in a fake news campaign.

“You have already used all these respectless techniques against us this year, against your own people. And we are speaking for very many citizens when we say: you haven't won yourself any friends.”

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Germany’s centre-right CDU to elect new leadership by end of the year

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party will elect its new leadership by the year's end, general secretary Paul Ziemiak said Monday, detailing plans for a clean slate after a disastrous election that the party lost to the Social Democrats.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and CDU leader Armin Laschet on the election campaign trail in Aachen before the election.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and CDU leader Armin Laschet on the election campaign trail in Aachen before the election. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Federico Gambarini

In power for 16 years under Merkel, the Christian Democratic Union is grappling with its deepest crisis in decades after turning in a historic low score in September’s election.

Its leader Armin Laschet last week signalled his readiness to step aside, setting the ball rolling for renewal at the top.

READ ALSO: Laschet signals he’s ready to step down as CDU leader

Ziemiak said a date for the congress to determine the new makeup of the party’s top brass as well as how rank and file members can participate in the leadership selection process will be announced on November 2nd.

But the party’s leaders “today agreed unanimously that we will elect a completely new executive board,” he said, adding that in terms of the calendar, the “window for this is year’s end”.

Bild daily had reported that the party has made a tentative booking for December 6th-13th in Dresden for its possible congress.

READ ALSO: Germany edges a step closer to a government led by Social Democrats

Laschet, who is state premier of Germany’s most populous region North Rhine-Westphalia, was elected head of the CDU in January.

For some time, he was the clear favourite to succeed Merkel, who is bowing out of politics after running four consecutive coalitions.

But his party’s ratings began to slide as he committed a series of gaffes, including being caught on camera laughing in the background during a solemn tribute to flood victims.

With the CDU’s ratings plunging, Merkel tried to boost Laschet’s campaign with joint appearances, but was unable to help the conservatives pull off a win on election day.