aIt’s finally time for Wednesday. Daniel Gunther’s daily rapid corona test showed only one line – the Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein was allowed to leave home isolation again. The nine-day compulsory break granted by infection to the CDU state election candidate has ended in the far north of the state. It didn’t cause him any further harm.
Unlike his colleague in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Fust (CDU), the head of government in Kiel does not have to fight for re-election. If you can believe the steadily increasing survey data of the past few weeks, you’ll be heading to it next Sunday.
The two most recent North CDU surveys showed 38 percent. Then the SPD raises the percentage to 19 percent, slightly more than the Greens, which Invest Dimap sees at 16 percent, and the research group Wahleen at 17 percent. For the foreseeable future, it will not be enough for the Traffic Light Alliance, which the SPD relied on to be able to replace Günther after all.
This is despite the fact that Social Democrats such as the Green Party have nominated experienced and ambitious opponents for prime minister in the form of the former head of the state chancellery, Thomas Los Mueller, and the current finance minister, Monica Heinold. In the past few weeks, both have not succeeded in transcending the role of the professional, but ultimately harmless, partner of the CDU prime minister.
The Greens warned of their coalition partners
Luce Muller, the smart economist who only switched from the Greens to the SPD a year and a half ago, remains unknown to the majority of Schleswig-Holstein voters. At no time was Heinold able to explain what she wanted to do now differently from the previous prime minister.
The Greens also left the open constellation in which they want to make a difference. Instead, they recently warned their constituents against black and yellow, that is, against their coalition partners. Hesitation and a lack of features could cost the party a better election result and perhaps also a renewed participation in the government in Kiel, which in fact was believed to be certain.
Günther himself would relentlessly claim again until 6pm on the evening of the election that his goal was to continue the Jamaica coalition that had been in power in Schleswig-Holstein since 2017. But the prime minister has of course known for a long time that there is a near certainty that this will not happen. After the elections, the CDU will no longer need two, but only one partner to form a government.
If that happens, as in the state elections in Rhineland-Palatinate or Saxony-Anhalt last year, where the parties of very famous prime ministers performed significantly better on election day evening than in previous opinion polls, then Günther will be faced with the question: black-green or black-yellow ? The latter may also be with the help of SSW. The Danish minority party is currently five percent in the opinion polls.
In addition to the greater programmatic closeness between the FDP and the union, the personal continuity that would be associated with this alliance speaks in favor of a black-yellow alliance. With Bernd Buchholz, the FDP’s top candidate and economy minister, Heiner Garg, the FDP’s head of state and health minister, and Christopher Vogt, the leader of the parliamentary group, Günther will have three trusted liberals at his side. Thus, a semi-guarantee for five years of stable black and yellow rule.
On the other hand, in the Greens, personal plate is associated with greater uncertainty. Monica Heinold was left open as to whether she would be available again as a minister after a defeat in the struggle for state chancellery. Even before she was nominated as the best candidate, the 63-year-old was already leaning toward retirement.
Green Environment Minister Jean-Philippe Albrecht says goodbye anyway to the party’s Heinrich Böll Foundation. There are also signs of staff changes and a slight shift to the left in the green parliamentary group. In this regard, it is no wonder that the Northern Confederation is pushing its prime minister in the direction of a black-yellow alliance.
distance from the party
Gunther himself is still hesitating. In recent years, he has had good experiences as head of a government that transcends the old political camps. As prime minister, he breaks with the usual political reactions and praises the decisions of a political opponent that he considers entirely reasonable as well as sharply criticizing what he considers ineffective actions by his people. A clever distance from his party, which Gunther repeatedly drew criticism within the Union, but which also gave him record acceptance rates outside his camp.
According to Infratest Dimap, 74 percent of voters are satisfied with the prime minister’s job five years after the Jamaica coalition. According to Politbarometer, if the prime minister were directly elected, 66 percent would vote for the position of the incumbent. The values that form the basis of non-opposition to the camps that Günther held during this election campaign.
A strategic advantage for him and his party, which must be sacrificed, will be the price of forming a black-yellow coalition. In the end, the interesting question in the Schleswig-Holstein election will be whether Gunther, who has more plans in his political life, will pay him.