Correspondent in Berlin
“This is not about who looks better on camera or who has more charisma, but who has the best idea to accelerate the digitization process, who can achieve social improvements without damaging the competitiveness of our economy, whether we want to fight against the pandemic relying on the population or with prohibitions “, summarized the objectives of the debate the president of Hesse and prominent baron of the CDU, Volker Bouffier, that he was preparing last night to follow the electoral debate in the television studio and thus avoided responding to the last and thorny poll, published this Sunday by the Insa demographic institute and that confirms the surprise. The Social Democrats, with 24%, lead the Conservatives, which continued to fall to 21%, damaged by the vacuum left by Merkel and by the tough restrictions against the unvaccinated, which have led thousands of people to demonstrate in Berlin this weekend, protests after which 80 people were arrested . “What I am sure of is that it will be an intense debate,” he concluded. But it was not. Quite possibly because the three candidates know that they are potential partners in the next governing coalition and because there is no possibility of reproaching themselves for government errors: Conservatives and Social Democrats rule together in Berlin and the Greens are part of the governments of eleven of the Bundesländer.
The three candidates rejected new closures due to the pandemic and all three rejected the mandatory vaccination, although Baerböck he did not rule it out in the long term for certain professions such as in the field of health. Scholz, current Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister, made it clear that “this is not the time to lower taxes further in Germany” and highlighted the tax cuts carried out in the last legislature. LaschetOn the other hand, he assured that there is margin, given the level of fiscal income of the State, and that a social market economy like the German one has the obligation to reduce them as much as possible. It offered discounts to families, single mothers and SMEs.
Regarding the climate protection, the three candidates are highly committed, with the only difference being made by the eco-pacifist Annalena Baerböck, determined to ban combustion engines, while Laschet defended the great modernization effort that German industry is making, calling for a tax cut, and The Social Democrat Scholz recalled that Germany has already abandoned nuclear energy and coal, so it must be careful when it comes to continuing to eliminate energy sources, a policy that can create serious social problems because it affects the poorest more. The Greens propose freeing city centers from cars and banning short-haul flights, while SPD and CDU reject such bans. Fortunately, not even Baerböck opted for the ban when the three candidates were asked the question: “Better to go on vacation to the north coast of Germany or to Majorca?”
Afghanistan sparked criticismIt’s green to the grand coalition for slow decision-making. “How can it be that in June they voted to extend the mission and you both voted no?” Asked Baerböck, “more information and more clarity on foreign policy is needed.” And the conservative Armin Laschet was in the answer more combative than in other topics of the debate: «If we speak of clarity, we have to remember that in March, when a greater endowment for the army was voted in the Bundestag, a third of the parliamentary group Green voted in favor, another third against and another third abstained.