Correspondent in Berlin
The Conservative candidate (CDU), Armin Laschet, has been shown in this second televised debate more incisive than in the first. He has repeatedly held his main opponent accountable, Olaf Scholz, Vice Chancellor and Minister of Finance, for the financial scandals that have taken place in the last legislature around his portfolio. He has referred to the Wire Card case, the Cum Ex case and the recent raid that several agents of the Public Prosecutor’s Office have carried out in the Ministry in search of officials who had participated in a money laundering scheme.
The Social Democrat has specified that there are no sentences or investigations against the Ministry, but against specific people, but Laschet has appealed to the “obligation of vigilance” that the position of Finance Minister entails and which, in his opinion, Scholz has lacked. ‘Mr Laschet, you have repeated false statements three times, you are very consciously twisting the facts. He is giving off the wrong impressions and he is doing it for dishonest reasons, “he counterattacked. These pujas, however, have not moved Scholz from its moderate and centrist position. “I believe in the moderate path,” he has said on several occasions, referring for example to climate policy. It has refused to respond, however, to the challenges posed by Laschet: determining whether or not it will be able, after the elections, to negotiate with a radical left party such as Die Linke, which does not respect NATO or the relationship. transatlantic, and determine if they appear much more radical than him in his party, such as President Saskia Esken, would occupy any of the Ministries in his government.
After these right hooks, however, the viewers of the German public television ARD / ZDF do not seem to change their opinion, with respect to the previous debate. The poll carried out by the chain showed a preference for Scholz in the middle of the debate. 39% see it as a winner and 24% see Laschet as the winner. While waiting for the final data from the survey, it seems that it is too late for Laschet to achieve the demographic overturn.
The only issue in which Schoz pokes his paw under the door is on the subject of housing. The Social Democrat has admitted that the housing shortage, especially in big cities, can be solved with more construction. But he has also stated that while new residential buildings are erected, a task that will take a legislature, he is willing to legislate a limit on rental prices in new contracts throughout Germany. “I think we have to tackle two things at the same time: one is to build more apartments. Plus, we also need everything to help keep rents from skyrocketing. And that is why I am in favor of rents not skyrocketing when re-rented. Our goal is a rental moratorium, “he said. But the question is if you are encouraging someone to build more apartments, how are you going to convince them by imposing so many barriers? They are going to go somewhere else! “Laschet replied.
In the rest of the sections they do not have such different opinions. In protecting the climateFor example, they both agree that German industry is making great efforts to adapt and that time must be allowed to avoid strangling companies. Laschet has recognized for the first time that, “the decision to abandon nuclear energy was correct and the decision to abandon coal as well, but seen from now on, perhaps we can say that the order of the decisions was not correct.” In this matter, however, the absolute leading role is for the green candidate, Annalena Baerbock, which has defended the abandonment of coal in 2030, not in 2038 as is currently already legislated, and the prohibition of combustion motor vehicles. Furthermore, as it recognizes that climate protection is significantly hardening energy prices, it offers the payment of a «citizen money», the amount of 75 euros per year to all inhabitants as compensation.
“Each ban is an engine of technological innovation”, has justified its intentions to withdraw combustion cars from circulation, adding that “it is clear that the future is the electric car and the sooner we arrive, the better for everyone.” She is also in favor of prohibiting entry to interiors and certain services to the unvaccinated, unlike her two opponents, who admit them if they go with a test ahead. And he wants mandatory vaccinations for certain professions that the other two reject. Only Scholz would make it mandatory for certain jobs to report whether or not you are vaccinated.
Regarding digitization, Laschet offers the creation of an ad hoc Ministry dedicated to coordinating all efforts in this regard, while Baerbock has criticized the regrettable delay in the installation of 5G networks and has made Spain an enviable example of haste.