Vladislav Belov evaluates chances of Merkel's successors to lead Germany: "You can't write off His Majesty Marketing"
Less than a month is left before the elections to the German parliament. German Chancellor Angela Merkel ends her 16-year rule. What are the chances of her CDU / CSU bloc to win the elections on September 26 and why the Social Democrats took the lead. Vladislav Belov, head of the Center for German Studies at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, answered these and other questions to Vestnik Kavkaza.
- According to recent polls, Angela Merkel's bloc is showing the worst result since 1984 (since this year, Forsa has been conducting polls). CDU / CSU gained 22%. The Social Democratic Party of Germany - 23%, that is, for the first time in 15 years, ahead of the CDU / CSU. 18% of the respondents are ready to vote for the Soyuz-90 / Greens party. What is the reason for the drop in the CDU's rating?
- Candidates for the post of federal chancellor from three parties (the CDU / CSU union, Union 90 / Greens and the SPD) announced that they are claiming victory and the formation of a coalition government. Now there is a unique situation when in the ratings preference is given not to the party, but to its candidate for chancellor. This is not a forecast, but the current mood of the voters. In this regard, Olaf Scholz (the Social Democratic candidate) is the most preferred candidate at the end of August, whose party is in fact in deep crisis. If they had voted without Scholz, the rating would have been significantly lower.
Armin Laschet from the CDU / CSU has not yet shown himself in any way, and Annalena Berbock (“greens”) is a weak candidate who has jumped from the first league to the Bundesliga. Two weak candidates with relatively strong parties. Now only the lazy one does not criticize Lashet, and Berbock is criticized a little less. There is no compromising material on Olaf Scholz, although they are trying to attribute to him the riots in Hamburg - then he was mayor - during the G20, but this is incomparable with the constant smiles and laughter of Laschet during President Steinmeier's speech and with Berbock's plagiarism. Scholz is liked by the citizens of Germany, and no one reads political programs especially.
- Why doesn't the CDU / CSU union nominate another candidate, for example, the leader of the sister party, Markus Seder?
- Zeder himself renounced the chancellorship in favor of Lashet. The CDU board will not allow a charismatic candidate from Bavaria into its stable. Nobody likes Bavaria except the Bavarians. Admitting a younger sister party to the head of government would be a disaster for the CDU.
- It turns out that in any case, it will be impossible for the two parties to form a government. What kind of coalitions can there be?
- Any. According to the existing colors of the parties, it can be the "Jamaican" coalition (green-CDU / CSU-FDP), "Kenyan" (CDU / CSU SPD, green), "traffic light" (SPD, FDP, greens), "Germany" (CDU / CSU, SPD, FDP). Today, even the red-red-green (SPD, Left, Green) coalition has a chance. The only thing that has been ruled out is joining the “Alternative for Germany” coalition, since no one wants to be blocked with it, even if the AfD gains the majority of votes.
And I will add that theoretically there is the possibility of forming a bipartisan government - this can be options among the parties that have nominated candidates for chancellor. Unlikely, but nonetheless.
- Are there any chances for Laschet to get ahead?
- In the coming weeks, he will try to strengthen his rating through performances. His Majesty Marketing has not been canceled. Plus, he knows English well, understands foreign policy, now this is relevant. Further, the CDU / CSU rating will grow. Burbock hasn’t learned to play the big leagues, although I take my hats off to all three candidates, given how wide-ranging they are on many issues. (On Sunday, August 29, the first television triel of candidates took place, where Laschet and Berbock unexpectedly proved themselves worthy political competitors, equalizing the chances with Scholz - ed.).
- Do the events in Afghanistan affect the election campaign?
- All three candidates criticize the policy of the current government. Afghanistan has made the foreign policy agenda of the elections relevant. Previously, foreign policy was in second and third places. Not Ukraine or Russia, but Afghanistan became the leading issue in the debate, and not because of the Taliban (a movement banned in the Russian Federation), but because of the refugees. Germany, like the collective West, is confused and has no idea how to deal with the Taliban.
- Then the Afghan agenda is not entirely in favor of the successor of Merkel...
- Not in favor of the current government and Merkel, but in favor of Laschette and Berbock, who actively criticize the current policy of the FRG. Moreover, Laschet is an expert on migration, he wrote a book about this in 2009, long before Merkel's famous phrase, said at the end of August 2015, "Wir schaffen das" ("We will deal with this"). Therefore, Lashet will gain points, Zeder will support him. For all the weakness of Laschet, who is inferior to both Zeder and Scholz, his rating may be much higher in three weeks, although now there is an image of an uninteresting, unconstructive and short-sighted politician.
- Which coalition is more profitable for Russia?
- In the programs of all parties - namely, the parties, not the chancellors, form the agenda of the future coalition agreement - criticism of Russia and the "red lines" are in the first place: Crimea, Donbass, human rights, NGOs and the law on foreign agents. But then, separated by commas, everyone says that without Russia it is impossible to ensure security and you need to cooperate with it. The Greens have the most negative program, then the Free Democrats, then the CDU / CSU and the SPD are about the same. We still have no friends "except for the army and the navy." Everyone puts criticism first. Although Scholz and Laschet have a constructive and critical policy, while the Greens and the FDP have a critical and constructive one. For the former, Russia is a partner, for the latter, a rival.
- Are there any differences in approaches to Nord Stream 2?
- “Greens” are against the project and are in favor of its closure. All other candidates say that they are against its use by Russia as a political weapon (primarily against Ukraine). If it is used, "Nord Stream-2" is ready to block even Scholz and Lashet.