Contents page 1 — “hard-ass conservative as I am,” page 2 — “mother, father, four children” page 3 — In the AfD, he would be not On a page

In Perba, the world is clear. The village lies behind many of the hills in the province of Saxony, 170 people live here. Stephan Degen, 43, labor protection inspector in the public service, is one of them. He likes this place, at first glance, to quickly summarize: modest homes, a few roads where it’s rare to see someone around the most beautiful nature. A secluded, not particularly wealthy area.

The, what you call a hillbilly, not Stephan Degen. He is often in the foreign service, passes through many provinces, it looks like on its hill, is interested in the future, very even. Only in this Moment, the future for him, once again, much too complicated.

Earlier Degen Post has brought his party out of the letter box, the members ‘ magazine of the CDU, which he studied carefully. Now he’s staring at a large graph, the CDU in front of the “Megatrends of the future”. The Problem: Stephan Degen understands almost nothing. All of these words: “Gender Shift, Flexicurity, Edutainment, Corporate Health, Micro-Housing, Progressive Parents”. He shrugs, half-desperate, half-angry. “I am not yet so old, but this language says nothing to me. If I show that to the people in the village, who hold the head. But no wonder, if to say, leave me alone with the policy.”

The wrath of a few difficult words in a party sheet is only an excerpt from sword’s life with the policy. Scolded he has in the last few years, more and more about his party. Quite a few Times, he was a sign out on the verge. Once he has typed even a letter of Resignation.

Stephan Degen in front of his home in Perba © André Wirsig for TIME, ONLINE

the CDU stands in front of a realignment. On Friday decides which candidate or which candidate takes over the party presidency of Angela Merkel, what style, what is the Agenda of the CDU pursued in the near future. Stephan Degen is not part of the delegates that vote on it. But he is one of Thousands of base members that are watching this decision carefully. Well, someone has to come and how he and his party closer to – or further away.

Degen currently one of the 10.451 members of the Saxon CDU, the strongest and most conservative land Association in Eastern Germany. 63 percent are men, the average age is 58 years. About 1,600 followers and followers has lost the Saxony-CDU in the last five years. Some fremdelten with the country-CDU (“too far right”), the other with the Federal party (“too far left”).

party Chairman – The CDU before the election, After 18 years with Angela Merkel, the CDU determines in Hamburg about her new chair. As a favorite Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Friedrich Merz to apply. © Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa