Election in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Schwesig has nothing to give away in the TV duel

Manuela Schwesig says she doesn’t have any votes to give away, and that’s how she performs. In the television duel on Tuesday evening with her CDU competitor Michael Sack, there are hardly any topics, hardly any questions that she does not use as a template to praise the successes of her government: the packages that have already been put together and the course that has been set have. For an hour she ran over so Sack and also the moderator, who at some point said to her “You are running away from me again in terms of time” and Mr. Sack can no longer follow. In the end, at least the speaking shares are almost balanced again. But that was it too.

Matthias Wyssuwa

Political correspondent for Northern Germany and Scandinavia based in Hamburg.

On September 26th, not only a new Bundestag, but also a new Landtag will be elected in the northeast and all polls indicate with thick, glancing arrows that the Social Democrats can certainly celebrate at least one victory on this Sunday: that of Manuela Schwesig in Schwerin. She has been Prime Minister since 2017 and should stay that way. So this question seemed to have been resolved before the duel. The only exciting thing is who Schwesig continues to rule with. And how deep the CDU still falls in the country.

Schwesig does not want to give a clear answer to the first question in the TV duel on NDR. Her SPD has led the government in Schwerin since 1998. The Left Party was allowed to participate in the first few years, and the CDU has been the junior partner since 2006. Schwesig is now keeping an open mind about who will continue with it. Her party ruled reliably with the Left Party, as did the CDU. Sack, on the other hand, tries to warn against “experiments on the edge”, which are, however, only of limited use as a deterrent in the northeast, because they are no longer that experimental. Sack wants to continue to govern with his party, that is the goal. That evening nobody says that he can hardly be Prime Minister. But in the last survey, the SPD came to 39 percent, the CDU to 14 – still behind the AfD at 17. In a direct election of the Prime Minister, 65 percent would choose Schwesig, eleven percent for Sack, the NDR says at the beginning. What else can I say?

Bad relationship between Schwesig and Sack

Michael Sack can hardly be blamed for the difficult situation of his party, neither in general nor on this television evening. In general, a year ago he only and completely surprisingly slipped into the role of state chairman and top candidate because the big favorite for these tasks on the slippery lobbying floor had previously slipped: Philipp Amthor. Instead of the nationwide known bearer of hope, the barely nationwide known district administrator from Vorpommern-Greifswald had to act, about whom one usually hears nice things, but little. What a brutal contrast, especially to the Prime Minister, who is always present in the media. In the TV duel he then tries again and again calmly to list the problems that he can experience up close as a district administrator. He comes across as credible, he knows the problems on site. The relationship only works wrong when Schwesig then quickly enumerates what she has already initiated as the mother of the country in order to solve these problems. Because the CDU also co-governs, Sack’s attacks hardly get caught.

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An hour goes by with questions about education, dead spots and the problems of the infrastructure in such a sparsely populated country, with the economy, energy, jobs and the corona policy of the state government, which Sack supports as well as the Nord Stream 2 project . Everything calm, everything very clear. Schwesig only lets Sack run violently once. Since it is about the financing of the non-contributory daycare in the state, there is a lawsuit from the district of Sack. It’s about how the municipalities and the state share the costs. Sack complains that there were no discussions to clarify the matter beforehand. As the state chairman of the CDU, he could have come to the budget consultations to talk about it before complaining, Schwesig pointedly rebukes him. But unfortunately he didn’t come. Schwesig has no votes to give away, and that’s how she performs.

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