Not a clear winner after fierce debate between three potential Merkel successors

In an almost two-hour TV debate, the list leaders of the three biggest parties in Germany complied with each other in a TV debate, exactly four weeks before the German election. Armin Laschet (CDU/CSU), Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Annalena Baerbock (Greens) discussed themes such as climate, corona policy, tax and social inequality.

The debate certainly went very much for German concepts. Laschet in particular was more fervor than before. His CDU/CSU – Chancellor Merkel‘s party – is historically bad in the polls and in advance the pressure on him was greatly increased to โ€œturn the tideโ€ with this debate.

Attacks Over and Over

He attacked Green Candidate Baerbock by saying that the Greens โ€œshackles the industryโ€ with their climate regulations and thus chases businesses abroad. โ€œThen you’ll have a nice climate balance right away, but no more jobs,โ€ he said. His great competitor Scholz forced him to take a position on a coalition with the left-wing party that Linke. Laschet: โ€œHow hard can it be: yes or no?โ€

Baerbock, in turn, attacked Laschet and Scholz on their refusal to ban business for the climate. โ€œThat is frankly startling to me and has to do with the fact that something like that doesn‘t come well in election time,โ€ she said. The Greens do not want to reserve new cars with an internal combustion engine, compulsory solar panels on each new build house and 2 percent land for windmills by 2030.

That must be done quickly, says Baerbock, โ€œbecause if the next government fails to focus entirely on climate neutrality, we have a fat problemโ€.

Clear Differences

The debate clarified the differences between the parties in some respects. For example, when it comes to taxes. The CDU wants tax cuts for all income. The Greens and SPD will only have to return higher incomes. Scholz calls the CDU’s planned tax cuts for higher income โ€œimmoralโ€, especially with a towering sovereign debt after the corona crisis.

โ€œSomeone who earns as much as I don‘t need a tax cut,โ€ Scholz said. Laschet insisted that the CDU believes that after the corona crisis, people and businesses should not be affected by tax increases.

In the extensive debate, all the major themes came across: from child poverty to Afghanistan, corona policy and the question of whether โ€œOSSI’s and Wessisโ€ can still be discussed today, as people from former East and West Germany are informally sometimes called.

Attacking Laschet

The analysts were not in agreement with a winner of the debate afterwards. Baerbock did well, most concluded. Especially because she was more comfortable compared to previous interviews and debates. In terms of climate, as well as child poverty, she made personal and substantive strengths.

Laschet was obviously more offensive and much less the nice, jovial Rhinelander he‘s normal. It was clear that he wanted to fight and realize that his party is in a disastrous situation. He hoped to attract voters who are worried about an over-left-wing or green government.

Scholz was clearly the least energetic out of three. โ€œHe went through it,โ€ an analyst described it. But his calm way of talking and the fact that he did not get lure out of the tent by all attacks can seem sovereign and โ€œMerkel-worthyโ€ to some viewers.

Scholz Survey Winner

From an interrogation by Forsa poll among 2,500 respondents, Scholz also won the debate with 36 percent. Baerbock reached 30 percent. Laschet got 25 percent of the vote.

It was also asked who was most sympathetic about. There too, Scholz got the best out of the bus, at 38 percent. 37 percent thought Baerbock was the friendliest thing. In this interrogation, the effect of Laschet’s new style was clearly seen. He ended at the bottom, with 22 percent,