Social Democratic Candidate Targets Her Personal Voters
The second debate of the Chancellor's candidates took place in Germany. According to opinion polls, SPD leader Olaf Scholz has again increased his advantage. He bypassed his opponents, Armin Laschet of the ruling CDU/CSU bloc and Annalena Berbock of the opposition Greens, and significantly strengthened his position. Here's what we know about Merkel's possible successor & nbsp; and what are his chances of winning now.
Two weeks before the German elections, Olaf Scholz, Minister of Finance and Social Democrat (SPD) candidate, became the popular chancellor. Until a few months ago, however, the Social Democrats' ratings ranged from 12% to 16%. Now 41% of respondents considered Scholz to be the winner of the second trilateral debate, which took place on ARD and ZDF television channels. The head of the CDU and the Prime Minister of the State of North Rhine-Vetfalia, Armin Laschet, managed to receive only 27% of the support. Third place went to Green Party Annalen Berbock & ndash; 25% of respondents voted for it.
Television debates usually do not play a significant role in the Bundestag elections, but this time their importance has grown as they were seen as almost the last opportunity for Conservative candidate Armin Laschet to reverse the trend and save the Christian Democrats from defeat, Deutsche Welle said. Berbock, whose party is in third place in the polls, found himself in a similar situation, although in the spring, judging by opinion polls, he was among the leaders.
Nobody expected such a development. No one, probably except Scholz himself. He has always said that the upcoming elections will be special, at least because, for the first time since 1994, the current chancellor will not fight for re-election.
Already in January, the Social Democrat predicted that the turning point would probably occur in August, when the Germans would return from vacation and seriously think about who they would like to see as chancellor. According to Olaf Scholz, it is clear that they need a man as strong as Angela Merkel, able to maintain stability in Germany and protect him from potential threats, and who but him can cope with this difficult mission.
Recently, Olaf Scholz has been increasingly compared to Merkel, especially after appearing on the cover of Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazin in a distinctive pose – with diamond-shaped fingers. And this, as you know, is a gesture of the trademark of the current head of the German government. Many experts even considered the imitation part of a campaign aimed at “ Merkel's personal voters“ & ndash; people who at the time were in power always voted for the CDU/CSU, but now do not rule out the possibility of supporting a candidate from the SPD or & nbsp; of green. & nbsp; & nbsp;
Scholz's current success is largely due to the fact that the other candidates look very unconvincing: neither Laschet nor Berbock have the leadership and authority necessary for the office of chancellor. Viewers agree, who watched the debate and called the speech of the Social Democrat “ most convincing“. The Germans also considered Scholz to be the “ most competent '' candidate.
Unlike his two current rivals, the 63-year-old politician made no embarrassing mistakes during the election campaign. So Armin Laschet was seen having fun during his visit to flood-stricken areas of Germany, and Annalene Berbock was accused of plagiarism when she took excerpts from other texts without proper instructions for her book, according to Spiegel.
Among Social Democrat politicians, he is often jokingly called Scholzomat for his reticence and restraint. This nickname was given to Scholz by journalists Die Zeit in 2003, when he was secretary general of the SPD and delivered monotonous speeches, involuntarily evoking associations with the robot.
Now, however, his PR team has managed to transform the old image of boredom and bureaucrat into a trademark of Olaf Scholz and position him as a more experienced politician than his opponents.
In fact, Scholz's restriction has proven to be a very useful feature in the context of COVID-19. It was he who, as head of the Ministry of Finance of the Federal Republic of Germany, was entrusted with the colossal responsibility for billions of subsidies and loans intended to help the economy and the population during the spread of a dangerous pandemic.
In the spring of 2020, the state aid program compared hundreds of billions of dollars to bazooka, stressing that the country is using all the available resources and economic opportunities to get through this difficult period and get out of a difficult situation. & # 39; & # 39; This approach was, of course, greatly appreciated by the Germans. In such crisis conditions, people really demand more pragmatism than emotionality and charisma.
In addition, Scholz is one of the most popular and influential politicians in Germany and the only one of the three candidates to hold ministerial posts. In terms of popularity, it is second only to Angela Merkel in a country that is experiencing a second youth at the end of its political career.
He was twice mayor of Hamburg (2011 & 2018; 2018), led the youth wing of the SPD Yuzos, served as general secretary of the Social Democratic Party (2002 & ndash; 2004), as well as the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Merkel's first cabinet. (2007 & ndash; 2009). Three years ago, he became vice chancellor and head of the German Ministry of Finance.
At the same time, in 2019, Scholz lost the party's vote and could not become the head of the SPD, after which there was an ingrained image of the defeated politician. Therefore, the news that the Social Democrats officially approved Scholz as their candidate for chancellor last August became not only a real sensation, but also a derision of political competitors.
Today, this ridicule means nothing … The SPD, which until recently had a loud internal party dispute, is extremely disciplined before the election. The party leadership retreated to the background and left the tribune to Scholz, who has a great chance of winning the election on September 26.
However, being the winner is only half the battle – even if they win, the Social Democrats will most likely have to look for partners to form a governing coalition. And here are different options.