Thursday, October 28

Who’s who in the German elections


This Sunday the Germans elect who will be the next chancellor of the country and, for the first time in 16 years, Angela Merkel is not an option. The candidate of the party of the current chancellor, the Christian Democratic Union, is Armin Laschet but, according to the latest polls, it does not seem that he will be victorious in these elections. The polls they predict that the defeat of the conservatives will give way to their partner in government for the last eight years: the Social Democratic Party (SPD), with Olaf Scholz at the helm.

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We review here who are the candidates of the main parties to lead the largest economy in the European Union.

Olaf Scholz

The current Finance Minister and Deputy Chancellor of the German Government, Olaf Scholz, has positioned himself as the favorite to replace Merkel, according to the latest polls. Scholz, 63, is part of the centrist wing of the SPD, which he joined at the age of 17.

In the last year it has stood out as one of the promoters of the European Union’s recovery funds, challenging the self-described frugal countries. He was also one of the promoters of the global tax of 15% for companies, agreed at the G7 meeting last June.

Scholz, who had previously held several positions within the party, came to the fore in politics during the era of the last Social Democratic Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, and now it could be he who reclaims the Chancellery for the Socialists.

However, his political career has not been without controversy. When he was secretary general of the SPD between 2002 and 2004, during the socialist government, Scholz defended the “Agenda 2010”, a package of reforms that implied social cuts and that caused social discontent and a split within the SPD, the Left party.

During his election campaign, the former mayor of Hamburg has presented himself as an effective manager with international influence due to his status as finance minister. “Scholz will fix it,” say the SPD posters. His electoral promises focus on the need for an expansive fiscal policy, an increase in the minimum wage, stable pensions and the construction of 400,000 homes a year.

Armin laschet

The prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, the country’s most populous state, seized the leadership of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in January, with 52.8% of the vote. In April, after agreements that did not arrive and that evidenced the division of the party, he obtained the support of the CDU and his sister in Bavaria, the Bavarian Social Christian Union (CSU) to be the joint candidate of the conservative bloc.

The 60-year-old politician, father of three children, Catholic and lawyer, shows himself to be a simple person with a negotiating spirit. In an extensive interview with The GuardianLaschet pointed out the need for dialogue in the face of differences and conflicts with Russia and China and called for more diplomacy in the European Union’s relations with Hungary and Poland.

Laschet has presented himself as the centrist candidate and the one who will keep Merkel’s heritage intact. “It may not be a great showman, but I am Armin Laschet, and you can trust that, “he said in January during his speech to lead the CDU. But the lawyer showed his differences with Merkel during the management of the pandemic: while the chancellor was betting on maintaining the restrictions, the first Minister was in a greater hurry to reopen the economy in his region.

Recently, the CDU leader has been criticized for some images in which he appeared laughing on a visit to one of the regions affected by the floods in Germany, while the country’s president, Frank Walter Steinmeier, expressed his support for the victims.

Annalena baerbock

It is the first time that the Green party has presented a single candidate for the Chancellery, thus renouncing its traditional double candidacy. On the other hand, the election of Annalean Baerbock marks only the second time that one of the major parties has chosen a woman to occupy the most important political position in Germany. The first was Merkel.

Their campaign got off to a great start when they briefly topped polls in the spring, with the party displaying unusual internal cohesion.

But since then, Baerbock, the party’s co-chair, has been accused of including inaccuracies in her official resume, falling behind in paying taxes on Christmas bonus pay, plagiarizing parts of her new book, and using an insult. Racial on a date in an interview. Baerbock has also been the candidate who has suffered the most from the attacks of disinformation campaigns, according to a report of the NGO Avaaz.

All this has caused the Greens to fall to third place in the polls, although they would continue to double the number of votes obtained in 2017.

His training in international law and his time at the office of Elisabeth schroedter in the European Parliament they have set their political agenda. Baerbock, 40, not only focuses his political proposals on the fight against climate change so that the Greens present a broader agenda. He also advocates a stronger European defense policy, “reinforcing European sovereignty”, and calls To united states to “rethink transatlantic relations, with Europeans on an equal footing with Americans.”

Christian lindner

For Christian Lindner, 42, it is the third election campaign to the German Parliament as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP). He joined the Liberals in 1995. In 2013, when the FDP was left out of Parliament for the first time in its history, Lindner was elected president of the FDP following the resignation of Philipp Rösler. Four years later he ran as a candidate for chancellor in the general elections, obtaining 10.7% of the votes. According to the latest polls, the percentage in these elections could increase slightly, up to 11.5%.

Four years ago, Lindner left the talks to create a coalition with the Conservatives and the Greens with the phrase: “It is better not to govern than to govern badly“The situation is more complex now, with the pressure of his followers so that the party enters the government. On a possible coalition between the SPD, the Greens and the Liberals, Lindner stressed how” separated “the parties are.” At this moment, the truth is that I lack the imagination to know what Mr. Scholz and the Greens can offer to the FDP that is attractive to us, “said the liberal candidate at a rally. However, in statements to Political, has said that “agreements can be reached. But, in the end, the nature of the agreements must continue to reveal one’s own position.”

The party considers itself a “bulwark against the left,” in defense of personal freedom, business-friendly policies and tax cuts. It has also been against the restrictions due to the pandemic and its leader came to describe the confinement as a “Middle Ages method“.

Tino Chrupalla

Chrupalla joined the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in 2015. In the 2017 elections, both he and his party entered Parliament for the first time. The far-right politician defeated the former Saxon CDU prime minister, Michael Kretschmer. In 2019 he was elected as co-chair of AfD.

The anti-immigrant and anti-European party ranks in the polls with around 11% of the vote, down from the 12.6% it achieved in the 2017 elections, after which it became the third force in the Bundestag. Now the party would fall to a fifth place.

During the pandemic, AfD, which has COVID-19 denier and anti-vaccine members, joined protests against government-imposed restrictions. The party does not support the health passport or the mandatory use of masks. “The incidence rate has been manipulated to scare the population”, has said one of its deputies, Karsten Hilse, who has assured that the Government seeks “to make people panic.”

The 46-year-old AfD leader starred in one of the campaign’s most talked about moments when, in an interview with a child, he said that youth should learn more German folk songs and poems at school. But he was left without an answer when the little one asked him what his favorite German poem was. “Now I can’t think of any”, answered.





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