The stumbling block of the Union election campaign | free press

Berlin (dpa) – It could have been the symbolic photo of the day: Armin Laschet steps into the ring more than seven weeks before the general election. So scheduled for this Thursday.

The CDU president and chancellor of the Union wanted to go on a trip to Germany that day, his first campaign tour. It should start with a visit to the Gallus boxing camp in Frankfurt am Main. Surprisingly, the CDU cancels the appointment less than 24 hours in advance. Laschet, as the reasoning can be summed up, is indispensable as prime minister in flood-ravaged North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Union election campaign will finally begin to stumble in place of a strong service. Because the official kick-off on August 21 will not go on as long as planned. This was actually supposed to be a big event at the Rust amusement park – but was then moved to Berlin. The details are still open. The background in both cases: the recent flood disaster. Photos of the party leaders of the CDU and CSU in the amusement park, while in the Ahr Valley people desperately try to save their belongings – that was clearly too dangerous for the union leadership.

Laschet’s election campaign tour looked much the same, with items on the program such as a walk through Heidelberg’s Old Town, a visit to a winery in Leimen or a walk along the Black Forest treetop trail. All images that do not fit with the disaster situation in their own state. “Addressing the flood disaster is the top priority for Armin Laschet, he will continue to give it his full attention,” said a message from the federal CDU about the cancellation of the three-day tour, which read as if it were written in the State Chancellery in Düsseldorf. .

Candidate banned

Laschet is stuck. On the one hand, as the father of the country, he must show presence and drive. It wasn’t until Monday that he met a visit to the disaster area, the disappointment of some people who feel left alone in their need. Immediately after the flood, they were promised prompt and unbureaucratic help. But they seem to have missed that so far. On the other hand, the Union candidate for chancellor should finally start the election campaign. After all, there are only seven weeks until Election Day. And the polls are falling again.

In any case, the political competitors have long given up. Potsdam, Teltow and Beelitz were targeted by SPD Chancellor Olaf Scholz last week. The FDP chairman Christian Lindner toured the Baltic Sea, including Ahlbeck, Binz and Warnemünde. And the Greens chairman Robert Habeck also brought his messages to the people on the coast in Travemünde, Lübeck and Eckernförde.

The turnout at these events was manageable at times – right now the republic is more on vacation than in election campaign mode. But even such data ensures presence in the media. And that is important, because you can vote from mid-August. Voting by letter, which will probably be used much more heavily this year than in the past because of the corona.

Dissatisfaction with the CSU

But it is certainly not just about political competition. Sister party CSU barely hides its displeasure with the election campaign, which so far has only been rippling. “We are entering a new era. If you want to shape the new era, you have to shape the election campaign now,” CSU state group leader Alexander Dobrindt wrote in a guest post for “Welt” on Tuesday. That cannot be the case until now.

CSU boss Markus Söder will likely feel confirmed in his view that he should be the “driver” in the election campaign. “We just need more speed and power,” said the loser in the chancellor’s free choice last Sunday in the ZDF summer interview. He agreed with Laschet, he assured me. What could be taken as an invitation to Laschet to finally do just that: more speed and power.

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