Ann Weil: Spahn hands out traffic lights after NRW election disaster

“Ann Will”
Spahn shares after election disaster against traffic lights – while SPD exercises denial

Ann Weil discussion round: Jens Spahn scrambled to secure the unwanted role of the fifth wheel in the set of traffic lights

© NDR / Wolfgang Borrs

In North Rhine-Westphalia, the Social Democratic Party and the Free Democratic Party have historically poor results. But who is responsible for this? Former Federal Health Minister Spahn hands too much to Ann Weil, and SPD leader Klingbeil falters.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s state elections shake up the traffic light alliance: while the CDU and the Greens are seen as winners, the SPD and the SPD are historically poor results. The fact that the two ruling parties have performed poorly in “small federal elections” in the most populous federal state also raises questions about the federal government. SPD representative Lars Klingbeil in particular is finding it difficult to defend himself against Anne Weil.

On Sunday, right after the NRW election, Ann Weil will discuss the following on the ARD talk show:

  • Jens Spahn (CDU), former Federal Minister of Health

  • Lars Klingbeil, SPD Leader

  • Ricarda Lange, Federal Chair of the Green Party

  • Christian Dorre, head of the parliamentary faction of the Free Democratic Party

  • Mary Lau, journalist (“Die Zeit”)

The CDU wins around Prime Minister Hendrik Fust, the Greens score a historic high, the Social Democrats a historic defeat, and the former coalition partner FDP barely misses an exit from the state parliament. This is the balance of Sunday’s New South Wales state election.

SPD representative Lars Klingbeil in particular, whose party has predicted a “social democratic decade” by the end of 2021, is on hard ground with Weil. But he clearly doesn’t want to admit it to himself: “We would have liked to have had more,” Klingbeil admits. However, he is sticking to the possible government involvement of the SPD in North Rhine-Westphalia and a ministerial position for top candidate Thomas Koshati. “Mr. West has to see if he can get a majority,” Klingbeil said. In fact, the NRW Traffic Lights Alliance can also be formed.

The Free Democratic Party admits its “bitter defeat in the elections”.

Christian Dorr, on the other hand, is more accurate: “For the FDP, this is a bitter electoral defeat,” he said. He is particularly upset that the party is doing so poorly among older voters. But: “As a liberal, you have nerves of steel,” Dorr notes. After the defeat in the Schleswig-Holstein election last Sunday (minus 5.1 percentage points), he speaks from his experience.

Biggest Argument: Span vs. Klingbeil

But who is responsible for the repeated defeat of the SPD and the FDP? Jens Spahn quickly secures the unwanted role of the impressive fifth wheel on Will’s set of traffic lights. He hands out tips, especially in the direction of his former GroKo colleague from the SPD.

He is amazed by the government’s hopes for the SPD in North Rhine-Westphalia. After the union’s historic worst result in the 2021 federal election, parties took time to derive and learn something from the results. “I’d also like to get this from the SPD,” Spahn says with a smile.

The CDU politician also shoots at SPD adviser Olaf Schulz: he has seen election posters with the chancellor’s image everywhere in North Rhine-Westphalia, but he hasn’t said anything about topics relevant to election polls, such as price hikes. “I haven’t even heard anything from the finance minister about how we deal with inflation,” Spahn says. Even Will must agree.

Klingbeil doesn’t seem to impress his former GroKo colleague: “You could tell Mr Spahn has come into the opposition role and he’s clearly enjoying it,” he says.

Is Chancellor Schultz to blame for the NRW disaster?

Indeed, the chancellor’s excessive activity and apparent simultaneous inactivity at the federal level got the SPD politician Klingbeil into trouble several times. Klingbeil has no definitive answer to Maryam Lau’s accusation that the chancellor’s communications were opaque and sometimes arrogant.

“Politicians are different in their communications,” he said. “If at the end of the war it is said that the chancellor has not communicated sufficiently for a week or two, that is great for me.” One cannot help but wonder whether some SPD voters are turning their backs on their party because of this attitude.

On the other hand, he is helped by his teammates Christian Doer and Ricarda Lang at the traffic light in Klingbeil. Lang, in particular, does not see the NRW disaster as damage to the federal chancellor — nor to traffic lights. A stable federal government is more important than competition among each other. Dor also wants to prioritize national projects. “The previous government left a lot behind,” he says, and vociferous opponent Spann has put in his place.

Spahn teases: Ampel has only loneliness when it comes to cannabis

As the show progresses, it becomes increasingly unclear whether it is about analyzing the outcome of the NRW election or the CDU’s belated revenge campaign. In any case, Spahn launches a final attack: the traffic light doesn’t agree to an excessive number of points and wastes voters’ time with explanations rather than actions. “The only thing that was quickly agreed upon was legalizing cannabis,” he says.

The rest shake their heads wearily. “Obviously, there is not always complete agreement,” says Lang. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t have joined different parties.” The two relief packages with the flat rate energy price, the 9 euro ticket and the children’s bonus demonstrated the ability of the traffic light to work.

But is this practical explanation sufficient for the actual failures of the Young Alliance? After all, social organizations criticized that retirees were forgotten in the two packages. In addition, short-term measures do not replace long-term change in terms of climate neutrality and social justice, nor its financing. Topics announced by traffic light parties in the election campaign.

Whether and how its implementation is included in the NRW election results cannot be answered until the end of the program – and perhaps not after that either. On the other hand, the summary prepared by Green politician Lang aptly reflects the current general situation: “We face different challenges than we imagined in the coalition negotiations.” At least for their coalition partners of the FDP and SPD, another election result should have been added after that.

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