Schwesig’s SPD and the CDU: A farewell with small tips

AOn Wednesday evening the secrecy in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania was over. Since the SPD had clearly won the state elections at the end of September with 39.6 percent, there has been a quiet sounding out – at first, so it was heard, not even all those invited seemed to have been immediately clear about when and where exactly it should start.

Matthias Wyssuwa

Political correspondent for Northern Germany and Scandinavia based in Hamburg.

Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig and her SPD had a choice of a traffic light alliance with the FDP and the Greens, who, after years of extra-parliamentary insignificance, had managed to jump over the five percent threshold. However, because of the manageable experience of both parties, this did not seem to be the most likely option.

So what remained was a coalition with one of the two big losers in the elections: the Left Party or the CDU, the previous coalition partner. On Wednesday evening Schwesig announced that the Left Party would be offered coalition talks. You should start this week.

A farewell to the CDU

From Schwesig’s perspective, the decision should have been obvious – if only because the Left Party knows who it will be dealing with in the coming weeks. Or as Schwesig put it: The Left Party has made it clear that it is well prepared and that it guarantees personal stability. At the CDU, that could be seen as a small farewell greeting.

Schwesig appeared before the press after a meeting between the party leadership and parliamentary group in Güstrow. “We see in the Left Party a partner with whom we can advance our country together,” she said. “We are concerned with a departure in 2030, with more economy, better wages, social justice and ecological responsibility.” The plan is said to have been unanimously adopted in the committees. “There was approval for such a coalition in all verbal contributions,” said Schwesig. Together with the Left Party, your party has 43 of the 79 seats in Schwerin Castle.

For the CDU, with Schwesig’s decision, the defeat of the election evening is now complete. After 15 years as a junior partner of the SPD, the move into the opposition is imminent. When it became clear in the weeks before the election that top candidate Michael Sack had no prospects of winning the election, the goal was at least to remain in government and to prevent Red-Red.

On the evening of the election, the party achieved the worst result in the country with 13.3 percent. Shortly afterwards, Sack gave up the state chairmanship and announced that he would be giving up his state parliament mandate. The group leader also gave up. While the top of the parliamentary group has already been filled, it is not yet clear who will lead the party in the future.

There were warnings against going into the opposition, and the long-time interior minister Harry Glawe expressed himself accordingly. But there were also reports from the party that there was a tendency at the grassroots level to give up after many years as a junior partner. So it will come now.

Female duo for Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Prime Minister Schwesig (r.) And the top candidate of the left, Simone Oldenburg

Female duo for Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Prime Minister Schwesig (r.) And the top candidate of the left, Simone Oldenburg

Image: dpa

Nevertheless, the CDU, under the leadership of the acting chairman Eckhardt Rehberg, went into the explorations and was at least somewhat disappointed after Schwesig’s decision. “The results of the probing are not really surprising,” said Rehberg. “Even before the election it was clear that the SPD had little interest in continuing the coalition.” In his view, there were no “irreconcilable differences” between the SPD and the CDU.

“Right opposition will do the country good”

The CDU reported that there was a great deal of agreement, but the party is said to have insisted on three ministries. The left was apparently politically and personally significantly cheaper than the CDU, said Rehberg. He also emphasized that each coalition partner decides on his own personnel. This principle seems to have been new to the SPD. Also a small farewell greeting. At the beginning of the year, the CDU wants to elect a new leadership. “A real opposition will also do the country good,” Rehberg told the FAZ

Schwesig’s decision was welcomed in the Left Party. Red-Red had already ruled Schwerin from 1998 to 2006, at that time it had attracted nationwide attention. In day-to-day government, it was precisely this coalition that had to reorganize the budget with painful cuts.

Even if the left also got its worst result ever with 9.9 percent in the state elections at the end of September, it was at least superficially calm – and all politicians in their posts. Now it is speculated that the left could actually only get two ministries – and the SPD with one more.

The previous parliamentary group leader of the Left, Simone Oldenburg, should be appointed minister. She spoke of the fact that the SPD had decided on “a social swing” in the country. Schwesig had previously stated that there was already agreement on many important points. For example, tariff compliance is to be anchored in the state procurement law. In addition, they want to create a thousand jobs for teachers. The list of wishes is long. Schwesig also agreed to set up future budgets without new debts and to adhere to the debt brake. How this will work is still open.

The timetable for the negotiations is tightly set by the state constitution: the constituent session of the state parliament is planned for October 26th, and Schwesig must be confirmed as prime minister again four weeks later at the latest. The Left Party wants to vote on the coalition agreement at a party congress in mid-November.

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