Two more weeks, and then 60 million eligible Germans will be allowed to go to the polls to elect a new parliament. And keeping everything old is not in it: after 16 years, the current Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is no longer participating.
At the moment, two parties are in the race to become the biggest and thus deliver the new Chancellor: the Christian Democratic CDU/CSU of Armin Laschet and Olaf Scholzs Social Democratic SPD. Its the voter who decides who wins, but what does that voter really want? We asked five.
“For me, freedom is very important when deciding my vote, not everything has to be imposed by politics from above. The climate problem, for example. What if it is stipulated that there should be a wind farm in a place where tourism creates jobs, do we just give up? Im having trouble doing that. I also want to be able to determine how fast I drive on the Autobahn, and whether or not I use gender neutral language.
Sometimes I feel like I cant just say what I think. If I say that I dont like everything about migration, it doesnt mean I want all the people who cross the Mediterranean to drown. Im sorry that conversations, especially on social media, are polarizing so easily at the moment.”
“Germanys digital connections tend to be so bad that its painful. At school we had far too slow internet to be able to teach online when the schools were closed. I always had to drive to a place with a good connection and then work from the car. That was awful. Thats why I moved.
Some of the school students have fallen behind during the pandemic due to the lack of facilities. Some families didnt have a computer at all at home, and the government didnt get a laptop much too late. We could only call those kids to stay in touch first, or I went to see them. I think its very important that everyone is connected to the internet, otherwise you get a two-tier company.
All parties have had this problem on the agenda for a long time. And the results have been bad so far. We have experienced that in particular in the pandemic. I dont expect quick or major improvements when it comes to digitization.”
“Two themes are leading me in the forthcoming elections, and these are the climate and the approach to right-wing radicalism.
In terms of climate, much more needs to be done than has been the case so far. Thats why Im participating in Fridays for Future, the big and young climate movement in Germany. Because look at the latest IPCC report: we cant wait any longer. For example, why is it a lot cheaper to get to Paris by plane than by train? And why dont we close the last lignite mines directly, instead of not until 2038 at the latest?
In addition, people like me, who are committed to the climate movement, face threats from right-wing youth here in eastern Germany. I want the new government to act hard against that. And in any case, I think more needs to be done to tackle legal radicalism, for example with more anti-racism projects.”
“Ive been active in the AfD for a few years now. Among other things, their views against open borders and climate thysteria, and before the traditional family crossed me to join.
A new government must ensure that the least possible new debt is incurred, and that the country will never be locked again due to corona. Anyone who got sick of it in my area didnt get more than a flu, but corona did have my final year of graduation with that homeschooling.
Migration also plays a role in my choice on September 26th, some experts say a new migration crisis is coming. I read somewhere that only 3% of the people evacuated from Afghanistan in recent weeks have actually done something for Germany. Among the rest would be thugs who have been evicted earlier. Were not allowed to bring back such people.”
“I wish pensions were no longer taxed. After 48 years of work I get a net of 1250 euros pension. I can just pay the rent of that. Poverty among older people is a major problem. Especially for women, because they have worked for the family in their younger years and have not accrued retirement.
The climate plans need to take greater account of older people. The Greens are full of cycling, but they dont wonder how older people of 80 do that. We can drive better than bicycles, and dont just step on the electric scooter. We are being reproved that our generation has ruined the environment. But we were still running groceries with a net, and put everything in paper bags instead of plastic.
Of the new governmentI would also like to get the right to die. Our history (under the heading euthanasia, Nazi doctors in World War II killed psychiatric patients, physically handicapped persons and those with hereditary abnormalities, ed.) should now no longer stand in the way of mortal ity counseling. There are politicians who say its nice to go to a care home. No, thats not good: I want to live at home until the end of my life.”