It’s another fateful election for the chancellor and her rough coalition. As much as angela merkel and andrea nahles have tried to steer the focus away from berlin in the final spurt to the hesse election.
When voters decide today whether merkel supporter volker bouffier (CDU) can remain prime minister, the future of the CDU leader and possibly her SPD colleague is at stake. And whether merkel’s fourth term in office will burst in its first year after two government crises – because the SPD no longer sees any future in the coalition.
After the bavarian elections two weeks ago, the coalition partners in berlin, the union and the SPD, were allowed to crash again in hesse – polls predict a drop of around 10 percentage points. It may well remain open for months as to who will be prime minister and which color constellation will lead the country in the future. Calls for renewal could not be silenced in either the union or the SPD. The most important scenarios after the hesse elections:
IN THE CDU THE DEBATE ON MERKEL WILL NEVER FAIL
In the worst-case scenario for the CDU – in wiesbaden, the green tarek al-wazir pushes CDU man bouffier out of office – the 64-year-old merkel could be pushed out of the party chairmanship and possibly also the chancellorship, some in the party believe. The CDU executive board’s meeting on 4 march was a decisive factor. And 5. November. There, the party leadership wants to prepare for the election party conference at the beginning of december, discuss the main motion on the social market economy and the main questions for the new basic program.
But one thing above all was of interest: what to do next with merkel?? Will she stand for election as president again – or will she, against her convictions, offer to separate the chancellorship from the party presidency?? If merkel does not show a way forward for the time after her, it cannot be ruled out in these circles that, in addition to the three rather unknown opposing candidates, she will also challenge a party heavyweight by running for office.
WHO COULD FOLLOW OR CHALLENGE MERKEL
Many in the CDU leadership give secretary-general annegret kramp-karrenbauer the best chance of succeeding her. The chancellor is also said to be able to live well with the heiress from saarlander. But a public recommendation could do more harm than good to kramp-karrenbauer’s ambitions, it says: the days when old rulers could settle their succession are long gone. The woman naturally also merkel.
If she were to run again for president – which most people currently assume – merkel could probably still prevail, according to party strategists. Her health minister jens spahn, who has distinguished himself as a prominent conservative voice, is hardly given a chance in this case. NRW minister president armin laschet is unlikely to rebel against the chancellor. And bundestag president wolfgang schauble? He is said to have cautiously put himself forward as a transitional solution – but not many in the CDU give him a real chance.
WHAT DOES MERKEL WANT?
In view of the nosedive in the polls, the chancellor has repeatedly called for a return to the business at hand and an end to the bruising quarrels in the union and the coalition. But it remains to be seen whether she and the coalition will succeed in presenting a different picture. It’s an open secret that merkel doesn’t think much of a quick new election. The chancellor was therefore primarily concerned that no new chaos should arise – also in view of the challenges in europe and the world.
THE SPD’S SITUATION IS FRAGILE, THE VOICE NERVOUS
The fate of the coalition and its chairwoman nahles now also depends on "TSG. In contrast to natascha kohnen in bavaria, thorsten schafer-gumbel has run a strong election campaign, in the opinion of the cooperative. Anything is possible for him: from opposition to junior partner or even minister president.
But regardless of the outcome, nahles could not be allowed to capture the anti-growth mood. At the grassroots, she can listen to angry comrades saying that the CSU is constantly being used as a model. And the party is not really succeeding in selling successes in the coalition, such as the almost seven billion euro reduction in health insurance contributions. Health minister spahn (CDU) recently said in the bundestag: "I am pleased that 56 million people will benefit from this." And further: "it’s her law, her success, but instead of celebrating and rejoicing, I’m already hearing again what’s missing."
THE SPD AND AN "EXIT" PLAN
In view of a possible break with the coalition, an exit plan is needed first. Given the current poll ratings, a new election would be like a suicide mission. Nahles and vice chancellor olaf scholz would prefer to continue. But the party left around SPD vice president ralf stegner, the head of the parliamentary left, matthias miersch, and juso head kevin kuhnert are already pulling strings in the background.
At the executive board meeting on 4. And 5. November, a tough list of demands could be presented as to what must be implemented in the coalition by christmas. Otherwise, you go out. The FDP did something similar when it left helmut schmidt’s social-liberal coalition in 1982.
Schleswig-holstein’s designated SPD leader serpil midyatli calls for a special party conference in the event of a defeat in hesse. There a new party leadership should be elected. Midyatli believes that promises have not been kept, that everything will continue as before, and that the profile will be watered down. On the other hand, a member vote on an exit seems to have been ruled out.
THE SPD LACKS PERSONNEL ALTERNATIVES
But even if many in the SPD think that the nahles/scholz duo will not lead to a new beginning or a turnaround, there are simply no alternatives in terms of personnel. Who is currently becoming a party favorite is top european candidate katarina barley. But there are different opinions about their capabilities. Lower saxony’s minister president stephan weil is already waving off the idea – if only party vice president manuela schwesig were still available. The most radical solution was kuhnert. It is with some envy that one observes the US election campaign, where 28-year-old alexandria ocasio-cortez is stirring up the democrat establishment with very left-wing demands, sale fulls and the burgers are thrilled. A feeling that the helpless SPD is desperately seeking right now.