A crash in the polls, criticism from the CSU and now a bookshop: two months before the federal elections, the chancellor-candidate Armin Laschet is under increasing pressure. For the first time, SPD candidate Olaf Scholz overtook the CDU leader in personal popularity ratings. Markus Söder (CSU) also deals with…
A crash in the polls, criticism from the CSU and now a bookshop: two months before the federal elections, the chancellor-candidate Armin Laschet is under increasing pressure. For the first time, SPD candidate Olaf Scholz overtook the CDU leader in personal popularity ratings. Markus Söder (CSU) is also working on suggestions for improvement.
Laschet had to admit Friday that he had copied at least one part of his book “The Rising Republic” by a scientist. It was initially unclear whether there are still passages in the book, which appeared in 2009. The new write-off affair started with a tweet from political scientist Karsten Weitzenegger, showing a partially written-off point of view. The match was noticed by the plagiarism hunter Martin Heidingsfelder (“Vroniplag”).
Shortly afterwards, Laschet admitted the error in a written statement and apologized. “At least one author of the material used in the book is not named in the text or in the source list,” the chancellor’s candidate said. There are clearly mistakes for which he is responsible, Laschet says. “I apologize for this, because careful work in writing works and respect for copyright are for me also a matter of respect for other authors.”
At the time, the book served to present the work of the first integration ministry in Germany, headed by Laschet. “Accordingly, the Ministry’s elaborations have been used for the book.” Laschet also wrote that he wanted to arrange an “investigation”. What is meant by this and what consequences he could draw, Laschet left open.
The case is extremely unfavorable to Laschet’s personal credibility. Because the criticism of competitor Annalena Baerbock (Greens) on their plagiarism in her latest non-fiction book is now presented in a different light. Baerbock’s popularity ratings had plummeted after she admitted to copying from sources without labeling them in several places in her book “Jetzt”.
Moreover, the CDU leader is overtaken by the past: the book had already gotten him into trouble twice. After the publication, Laschet had to be asked to what extent employees of his ministry wrote it down. In 2015 it became known that he had donated 4,000 euros book fee, claimed the donation for tax purposes, but had not declared the book proceeds as income and taxed it.
Friedrich Merz (CDU) defended Laschet and wrote on Twitter. “We all make mistakes in our lives.” Laschet immediately apologized and ensured transparency. Former leftist leader Bernd Riexinger advised Laschet not to run for chancellor. “Anyone who reacts so half-heartedly, arbitrarily and sometimes contrary to the facts to the great crises and challenges of our time should not write books and become chancellor,” Riexinger said.
Even before this new turnaround, Laschet had fallen in the polls and the Union had also lost points. SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz overtook the Union competitor in favor of voters. In the ZDF Politbarometer, Scholz was six points better than last time with 34 percent and five points ahead of Laschet, who fell from 37 to 29 percent. Laschet (15 percent) also ended up behind Scholz (20 percent) at the Yougov Institute. Laschet lost seven points. In both polls, the Union lost two points and fell to 26 percent.
Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder, who was defeated in the battle for the Union candidacy, also took the floor and asked Laschet to restart his election campaign for fear of defeat. “We in the Union, after the Greens’ first high had settled, put ourselves to sleep to be safe – but really only profited from the mistakes of the others,” Söder told the “Spiegel”. This is not enough. He warned: “Half a percent or not, a few offset mandates here, a few overhang mandates there — and suddenly we’re in opposition.” It is not self-evident that the Union will form the government, Söder said with a view to a possible traffic light coalition.