Allegations of the Union: is the SPD hiding Esken and Kühnert?

Status: 13.09.2021 2:13 p.m.

Chancellor candidate Laschet and CDU Vice Spahn accuse the SPD of hiding party leader Esken and party vice Kühnert. Laschet sought the image of the gagged troubadix. A rejection by Esken triggered new discussions Anne Will the end.

By Patrick Gensing,

Politicians from the CDU and CSU have repeatedly claimed that the SPD is hiding party leader Saskia Esken and party vice-vice president Kevin Kühnert during the election campaign. Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet said at the end of August:

It seems like this with Kevin Kühnert – I don’t know if you still know it: In the past, the Asterix magazines always ended up being the Troubadix. That was a person who sang terribly. They always tied him to the tree and put a cloth in his mouth so he wouldn’t open his mouth. That’s how it seems to me at the moment with Kevin Kühnert (…).

At the beginning of September CSU boss Markus Söder followed suit and said: “Olaf Scholz is hiding his left team: Saskia Esken and Kevin Kühnert stand for expropriations and more taxes and bureaucracy!”

Speculation about cancellation by Anne Will

After the triumph, it was Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) who was on the show Anne Will in the direction of Malu Dreyer from the SPD claimed:

All those in your party who would like to form a coalition with the Left Party are somehow hidden – now for the last two or three weeks, they are no longer allowed to appear.

The trigger for the speculation was Esken’s cancellation Anne Will. According to the journalist Robin Alexander, who was also present, the SPD party leader was not far away. He just “met her at the chip shop”, only “300 meters away, she is there”. Hostess Will said Esken canceled herself.

Clearly tailored to Scholz

Overall, the SPD’s campaign is undoubtedly clearly tailored to Olaf Scholz. The Vice Chancellor is the central motif on posters and in commercials. Other prominent social democrats such as Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil or Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze hardly play a role.

The supposedly “hidden” Esken and Kühnert have been speaking out in public for weeks. For example, shortly before the Triell, Kühnert told the news portal “t-online”: “All-round exclusion has been the life insurance of the CDU and CSU for years because it is hardly possible for governments to be formed against them.”

Discussion about Laschet’s statement

Kühnert Laschet also criticized Laschet at the weekend in the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. The background was a statement by Laschet at the CSU party congress. There he said that the SPD had always been on the wrong side in the most important decisions in post-war history. Laschet threw decency overboard and denigrated the political competition in an honorable way, so Kühnert.

The Union rejected the criticism; Laschet only related this criticism to the economic decisions. Indeed, the context of the speech shows that Laschet was talking about economics, taxes and debt.

Esken is campaigning

Party leader Esken is also active in the election campaign. On Thursday, for example, she and Matthias Katsch, the spokesman for the initiative “Eckiger Tisch”, presented an action plan in the fight against abuse and sexual violence against children. Katsch is applying for a member of the Bundestag for the SPD in the Offenburg constituency.

The day before, Esken had appeared at an election campaign event in Stuttgart and gave an interview to the dpa news agency, among other things. On Monday she gives a press conference in Berlin.

Last week, Scholz had also declared that Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans should remain as party leaders. “I do not believe in the rules according to which the chancellor must also be the party chairman,” he told the editorial network in Germany. When asked whether Esken and Walter-Borjans should remain chairmen in the event of an election victory, Scholz says: “I think so. Our solidarity is very good – the cooperation works great.” It will remain so even in the event of an election victory.

Rejection remains unclear

The SPD’s election campaign is fully tailored to the top candidates. The fact that Kühnert is compared to a gagged bard from a comic is exaggerated and misleading. Both Kühnert and Esken regularly and continuously speak out in public during the election campaign and appear in the media – such as Kühnert at the end of August Anne Will, where he had an exchange of blows with CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak.

Why not Esken after the Triell? Anne Will occurred is unclear. So far, the SPD has not responded to a last-minute request as to why it had canceled participation.

Ziemiak used the current discussion about Esken’s rejection for a new joke: “It’s a shame that Saskia Esken didn’t have time last night,” he wrote on Twitter. “Hopefully at least the fries were tasty!”

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