After 16 years, Angela Merkel’s government in Germany will come to an end. On September 26, voters will go to the polls to choose the 20th post-2 Bundestag (German Parliament)The War. As no party emerges as the favorite to form a majority, the next government should be supported by a coalition.
Today, Merkel governs within her membership, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The CDU, however, does not lead the voting intentions for the weekend.
Read more: What you need to know about elections in Germany
Germans do not vote for the post of chancellor, as it is the parliament that decides who holds the post. Still, parties that see the possibility of forming a government often divulge their nominee future for the country’s most important political post. Below, the three favorites in the election and the main positions they defend.
Olaf Scholz (SPD)
Olaf Scholz visited the areas destroyed by the floods in late July and pledged billions in aid. Faced with the fourth wave of the pandemic, the Ministry of Finance under its conduct promised companies in difficulties financial support until the end of the year. With a cell phone to his ear, Scholz made a point of appearing outside the Capitol in Washington during negotiations for the application of a global minimum tax.
This is the image that the Social Democrat Scholz is trying to project. Something also exploited by its legend, the SPD, which advertises its candidate for the Federal Chancellery of Germany as an experienced, efficient and pragmatic administrator.
Scholz has been finance minister in Angela Merkel’s office since 2018 and also deputy chancellor in the government coalition between the SPD and the CDU.
Scholz is currently the favorite in the polls to lead a new government after Merkel’s retirement. His party, after years of wear and tear, appears with up to 26% of voting intentions. Merkel’s CDU, which has Armin Laschet as a candidate, has been suffering an index of around 20%, something unprecedented for conservatives.
And the image of being pragmatic and efficient seems to have had an effect on the electorate. Polls show that Scholz is more popular than his party. Up to 34% of voters say they prefer the Social Democrat as federal chancellor, 8% higher than polls indicate for the SPD.
The scene is especially bleak for the CDU because the Social Democrat Scholz, not Laschet, has succeeded in impressing voters with an image of the “new Merkel,” that is, a figure of reassuring continuity. Recently, the finance minister even posed for a magazine mimicking the “Merkel-Raute,” the diamond-shaped hand gesture that is the chancellor’s trademark.
When Annalena Baerbock was named candidate for German federal chancellor by the Green Party in April, she was soon treated as the first Green Party politician with a real chance of reaching the highest government post in the country, buoyed by the sudden and remarkable rise in the polls. of voting intention.
But it was then that she began to suffer a barrage of personal attacks, putting her on the defensive. Criticism undermined its credibility.
Baerbock, who has never held public office, has been accused of making minor inaccuracies in her official résumé, late paying taxes on a sizable Christmas bonus, and plagiarizing portions of her book.
She reacted quickly, apologizing for the mistakes. Even so, her approval ratings continued to plummet amid continued attacks on the green candidate.
With just a few weeks to go before the election, the Green Party has dropped to 15% in the polls – still a notable increase from the 8.9% support it gained in the previous general elections in 2017.
Young, self-confident, ready to take power: this was the image that Baerbock has always liked to show of herself, ever since she became known across the country. She was elected one of the party leaders in early 2018, along with Robert Habeck – the dual leadership, one woman and one man, was introduced in Germany precisely by the Green Party in the early 1990s.
At first less well known than her partner in charge of the Greens, she had long since developed her own profile: as a parliamentary bench climate specialist; as an expert in foreign policy; as a fighter against populism and xenophobia; as an ardent defender of European unity.
Armin Laschet is currently governor of Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia – in principle the ideal springboard for his ambition to be Germany’s next federal chancellor. And indeed, when, in January 2021, he was elected president of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of head of government Angela Merkel, the party comfortably led the voting intention polls.
Since then, however, the center-right legend has lost more than ten percentage points, and its main candidate’s popularity lags behind competitors Olaf Scholz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Annalena Baerbock of the Green Party.
Laschet finds himself under enormous pressure: his campaign drags on, with each new consultation confirming the decline of the CDU and its Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) in the electorate’s preference.
In response. he went on the offensive in live debates with his opponents, appealed for support at the CSU party convention, and appointed a “team for the future,” a sort of parallel cabinet. It is doubtful whether all this was worth it.
Sunday, the 26th, these questions will be answered.
*With information from Deutsche Welle
Edition: Arturo Hartmann