The Social Democratic candidate for the German Chancellery, Olaf Scholz, managed to prevail this Sunday in a television debate ahead of the September 26 elections against the conservative Armin Laschet, who sought to make a difference through controversy, and the green Annalena Baerbock.
The polls carried out regarding various aspects after the duel give Laschet an advantage, with the exception of the assessment of the sympathy in which he is surpassed by Baerbock.
Precisely in terms of sympathy, Laschet had a low rating, which has been attributed in part to the attacks on Scholz, who is part of a coalition chaired by his party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), as finance minister.
Laschet had come into the debate under pressure after a steep drop in voting intention polls by the conservative alliance made up of the CDU, Angela Merkel’s party, and its Bavarian sister party the Christian-Social Union (CSU).
Social Democrats win in polls
Currently, the SPD has in the polls of the various polling stations between 25 and 26 percent of support, the CDU / CSU between 21 and 22 percent and Los Verdes between 16 and 17 percent.
Behind them are the Liberal Party (FDP), with 11 and 12 percent, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), with the same percentages, and The Left, with between 6 and 7 percent.
Laschet launched attacks on Scholz from various flanks. On the one hand, it tried to take advantage of alleged irregularities that have occurred in a body subordinate to the Ministry of Finance and other matters related to problems in the fight against tax evasion.
On the other hand, Laschet once again bet on a strategy that his party has used in recent days, that of putting on the horizon, as a kind of threat, the possibility of a tripartite alliance of the SPD with Los Verdes and La Izquierda.
“You have not ruled out that coalition and I am sure that if you have a majority to form it, even if you do not get first place, you will form it,” Laschet said during the debate.
In this regard, both Scholz and Baerbock pointed out the differences with the Left in foreign and security policy, but also stressed that it is important that all democratic parties are willing to seek agreements with each other if necessary.
The issue of possible coalitions is key ahead of the September 26 elections since it is clear that no party will have a majority to govern alone and it is unlikely that a two-party coalition will reach it.
However, Scholz avoided talking about a coalition and said that the time had not yet come to talk about government negotiations, but to make an offer to the voters.
“I want a strong mandate for the SPD. The one who governs in Germany has to clearly bet on the transatlantic alliance and on the EU. But we are not yet in government negotiations. The first thing is that the voters make their decision,” he said.
Laschet, for his part, affirmed that his party will not form a coalition not with the Left or with the AfD and added that with the latter party they will not speak or cooperate in any way.
The pandemic and climate change, star issues of the debate
That statement earned Laschet the reproach of Scholz and Baerbock of equating The Left with the AfD.
Other key topics in the debate were the lessons of the pandemic, digitization and the fight against climate change.
Laschet said that the main lesson of the pandemic is that a European “autarky” must be achieved in strategic sectors. Scholz and Baerbock noted that modernization of the healthcare sector and improved staff compensation were key.
Regarding climate change, Laschet bet on a cooperation with the industry while he accused Los Verdes and the Social Democrats of wanting to resort to tax increases and prohibitions, which, according to him, is doomed to failure