Mask deals and mismanagement: During the latest outbreak of the election campaign in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, the CDU faced strong headwinds from its own party. Will that lead to losses?
Stuttgart / Mainz (dpa) – In the first state elections in the 2021 super election year, losses for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU become apparent.
According to polls, the Greens and their Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann in Baden-Württemberg are heading for a clear victory this Sunday. In Rhineland-Palatinate, the ruling Social Democrats led by Prime Minister Malu Dreyer are the favorite.
The state elections serve as a ballot test for the September 26 federal election. The Union faces a major downer, because according to studies, the CDU could achieve the worst result in its history in both countries. The new federal chairman of the CDU, Armin Laschet, has stated several times that the elections are mainly about state politics from his point of view.
But the Union hadn’t cut a good figure at the federal level lately. Several members of the Bundestag are suspected of corruption because they allegedly earned hundreds of thousands of euros in commission by doing business with masks. Others are about donations from the autocratic oil state of Azerbaijan. CDU federal ministers Jens Spahn and Peter Altmaier also received massive criticism because of the slow start with the corona vaccinations, the mass testing and the disbursement of emergency aid to companies and the self-employed. In addition, there is the unresolved power question of who will be the candidate for chancellor in the federal election in the fall: Laschet, who has only been in office for a few weeks, or CSU boss Markus Söder? Chancellor Angela Merkel, the longest-serving head of government in the EU, had already stated in 2018 that she no longer wanted to be at the helm after four terms.
In Baden-Württemberg, the Greens can count on a lead of seven to ten points over the Union, according to the latest polls. The CDU with its top candidate Susanne Eisenmann must therefore get used to the worst result in the history of the country in its former stronghold. The Christian Democrats hope that the Greens will continue the coalition with them. But Kretschmann could also try a traffic light with the SPD and FDP. So even a two-party alliance with the Liberals is within reach. It would be an entirely new “lime coalition”. Kretschmann is the first and only Green Party head of government in Germany, the 72-year-old has been in power for ten years.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, the SPD, with Dreyer reigning for eight years, has caught up with the CDU in surveys and is now largely at the forefront of the surveys. The CDU, with Christian Baldauf as top candidate, on the other hand, threatens the worst result for the Christian Democrats in the state. Under massive corona restrictions, the 53-year-old struggled to score points against cross-party popular Dreyer during the election campaign. While the SPD also has one of the worst election results in decades, the continuation of the SPD, FDP and Green traffic light coalition that Dreyer is aiming for seems feasible – it is the only such alliance in Germany and, according to Dreyer, a model for the federal government. For thirty years, the Social Democrats have been the government leaders in the country formed by Helmut Kohl and Bernhard Vogel – longer than in any other western state.
A “Jamaican” coalition “black-yellow-green” led by the CDU is unlikely. Initially, it was on the verge of free voters breaking the five percent threshold and moving to Mainz’s state parliament for the first time.
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