Coalition agreement: Zoff threatens the party base on these points

Future traffic light government
Coalition agreement and staff: With these five points, Zoff threatens the party base

“The traffic light is on”, but the parties still have to agree to the coalition agreement (from left): Christian Lindner (FDP), Olaf Scholz (SPD), Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck (both Die Grünen)

© Michael Kappeler / DPA

The coalition agreement of the three traffic light parties is in place, but a government has not yet been formed. The SPD, Greens and FDP have to have paper and staff approved at party congresses or via member surveys. Despite all the will to power, this harbors Zoff potential.

After the leaders of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP agreed on a coalition agreement to form the first nationwide traffic light coalition, it is now members and delegates who have their turn. The Greens will start a ballot this Thursday. Its 125,000 members are to vote not only on the agreements of the potential government partners, but also on the Greens’ personnel board for the future cabinet. With the SPD and FDP, party congresses are to approve the contract at the beginning of December. The designated Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) assumes that the contract will be approved by all parties. “I am very confident. It is a good result from the point of view of all three parties,” he said on Wednesday evening in an ARD “hot spot”.

Nevertheless, there could be some issues at the grassroots level:

The Greens: Transformation of the Transport Sector

“The transformation in the transport sector (…) is essential for climate protection.” It says so in the coalition agreement; the Greens raise this – unsurprisingly – as one of the “key points” of future government policy on your website emerged. Among other things, it is about e-mobility, expansion of the (charging) infrastructure, expansion of public transport and increasing the frequency of trains – all green core topics. It is all the more astonishing that the Ministry of Transport is not to be occupied by the FDP, Volker Wissing. Since – as before – digitization is also located in this ministry, the green negotiators have even given responsibility for two of the central election campaign issues out of hand.

All of these green projects also cost money, but the Ministry of Finance will also end up with Robert Habeck, head of the FDP, Christian Lindner, instead of, as has long been discussed. Thus the responsibility for primeval green issues as well as for their financing lies with the liberals. The only hope that remains is that Lindner is really serious about his assurances on Wednesday that they have now signed a joint contract. It is perhaps the most sensitive area for the coalition’s success. Reason enough for members of the Greens to put sharp questions to the party leadership.

SPD: Armed drones for the Bundeswehr

Quite a few party members could rub their eyes – and in fact a kind of erosion of the SPD’s attitude can be seen on this issue. As recently as 2013, the SPD refused to procure combat drones for the Bundeswehr, not only but even campaigned for their ostracism under international law. After the 2017 election, the comrades then admitted to reflecting on the topic again after an extensive public dialogue. When the topic was back on the agenda last December, SPD co-leader Norbert Walter-Borjans exposed Groko to quite a burden, because he pulled the rip cord shortly before the final deliberations and offended the coalition partner. There were deep rifts in the SPD parliamentary group, it was said at the time. “The line between defending the life and limb of our soldiers and killing with a joystick is very thin,” Walter-Borjans was quoted as saying at the time.

And now? “Armed drones can help protect soldiers deployed abroad,” says the coalition agreement. “Subject to binding and transparent conditions and taking into account ethical and security-political aspects, we will therefore enable the armed forces of the Bundeswehr to arm drones during this legislative period.” Has the SPD filled in its internal trenches? And how will the Social Democrats behave this time when things get concrete?

FDP: The curse of success

A lot of honor, a lot of danger – this is how the stumbling block for the liberals could be summed up. First of all, there is (almost) nothing to complain about for the FDP. Well, tax breaks and the higher minimum wage, they had to swallow that. But otherwise? You are responsible for finances, you are responsible for the core issues of transformation in transport and digitization and you are responsible for the important education sector. There will be no tax on the wealthy, not even a speed limit of 130 on motorways, the debt brake will apply again from 2023 and the share pension will also come – everything done right from a liberal point of view. It should only become uncomfortable if it doesn’t work, if the coalition does not make progress, if Corona will continue to determine the scope for action in the future. The FDP is likely to be firmly cast as a whipping boy and scapegoat. For the time being, however, the party base will hardly itch. Why also. The curse of success will only overtake Lindner and Co. if they fail.

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SPD: stimulating figure Karl Lauterbach

Whether it was his intention remains to be seen. In any case, SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach put himself in a massive position for the Ministry of Health, not least because of his omnipresence on talk shows and news media during the corona pandemic. Just this Thursday he also publicly announced his ambitions. Even more: Lauterbach now has a crowd of fans who see no alternative to the Rhinelander in filling the department; the hashtag #wirwollenKarl has been trending on Twitter in the past few days. That inevitably builds up pressure. Hardly anyone seriously doubts that the doctor and health economist has the necessary professional competence. But enthusiasm does not arise in the SPD at the thought of a Health Minister Lauterbach.

Lauterbach is polarizing, his opponents accuse him of permanent scare tactics in the pandemic. In his party, too, he tends to have the reputation of being a loner, even an eccentric – with all the recognition of his competence. But do you want to fill a difficult ministry with such a figure, with which you can hardly win a flower pot anyway, but whose work will largely determine the success of the future government in the corona pandemic? It is said of Olaf Scholz that he is not a Lauterbach fan. But will the future Chancellor even get past the 58-year-old? Scholz Kniff could be that he would have to take over the health department because of the promised equal representation of his cabinet. Nonetheless: This persona has Zoff potential – internally and externally.

The Greens: The matter with the Vice-Chancellor

When it became clear after the election that Annalena Baerbock could not lead her party to the Chancellery, it was quickly rumored that it was Robert Habeck’s turn. In spite of the first-class result for green conditions, which, however, fell far short of interim polls and thus justified dreams of power, it was not her but Habeck who would become Vice-Chancellor, reports the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” at the time. That was just as agreed between the two as Baerbock’s candidacy for chancellor, it said. Immediately there was a howl of protest among supporters of the Greens and, above all, female party members. That is unfair, bad style too, misogynist even. The excitement subsided, also because Habeck appeased that the question of vice-chancellorship does not arise until you have a government at all.

And now? As a matter of course, Habeck is run as Vice-Chancellor of the future government in addition to being Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate. The calm on this subject is surprising given the earlier excitement – and could be deceptive. It is unrealistic that the (suppressed) dispute could endanger the party base’s approval of the coalition paper, but unanswered questions have the uncomfortable quality of being asked again and again.

dho / with DPA material

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