Brussels (Brussels Morning) With Germany’s three strongest political parties all decided on their respective candidates to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel, the accusations and attacks have started flying around signifying that the election campaign is underway and is heating up, Reuters reports.
Germany’s vice-chancellor and Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz, head of the centre-left Social Democracts (SPD), hit out at the Greens’ chancellor-candidate Annalena Baerbock on Sunday, citing the 40-year old politician’s lack of government experience.
Scholz, the SPD’s chancellor candidate, insisted he is the one with the requisite experience and knowledge for the task. Despite polls showing them a distant third, Scholz believes the socialists still have a shot at the chancellorship. Their support has been evaporating after years of being overshadowed by the centre-right Christian-Democratic Union in the ruling coalition. Once the second strongest party, the SPD’s support has dropped to around 13% in recent polls, barely ahead of the far-right AfD or the liberal FDP.
The CDU faces different problems, mostly from within. Even though Bavarian sister-party Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Markus Söder has bowed out from the race to be the two parties’ joint candidate, he hasn’t stopped criticising the nominee, CDU leader and chancellor-candidate Armin Laschet.
During the weekend, Söder accused Laschet of representing “old school” policies, and of lacking the strength of will to modernise the country. Laschet brushed the remarks aside, claiming they made him laugh, saying Söder’s CSU had repeatedly criticised Merkel for her centrist policies, as well.
Even though Laschet is seen by the conservative bloc as representing a continuation of Merkel’s policies, the departing Chancellor has yet to openly back her successor, which has added to his growing problems. After decades of topping the polls, the CDU has now fallen behind the Greens in two consecutive polls, making it increasingly likely that Laschet could find himself negotiating a junior position in a future ruling coalition.