The Green candidate is dressed in a futuristic way this afternoon, or is that deceptive? Monika Heinold wears a black dress and a green scarf. “Pretty black and green,” says Karin Prien from the CDU, who is standing on the stage to her right. Since 2017, Jamaica has ruled in Schleswig-Holstein, i.e. black-green-yellow. But according to polls, the Union and the Greens have a clear majority before the state elections in Schleswig-Holstein on May 8th. For the CDU and FDP, however, it could also be enough.
The North German Entrepreneurs’ Day in Rendsburg, a factory building on the Kiel Canal. Outside, freighters pass by a stone’s throw away. Next door is the Nobiskrug shipyard, which has since been sold and, among other things, built the toys of a now-sanctioned oligarch from Russia. “German Superyachts for the 22nd century” is written on the facade.
Inside at Hansewerk AG, the focus is on the future state government in the 21st century. The top candidates of the five parliamentary groups stand on the podium in front of 400 business people; the AfD does not have its own group. Education Minister Prien represents the CDU in this debate, Prime Minister Daniel Günther has overtaken Corona in the middle of the election campaign. To the left of the Green Party, Monika Heinold, who has been finance minister for ten years, is Bernd Buchholz of the FDP, the economics minister. Who will soon continue with the CDU? The green? The FDP?
A traffic light like in the federal government is unlikely
The two are particularly important in the election in northern Germany. The popular Prime Minister Günther is expected to win clearly, Infratest dimap expects 38 percent for the CDU. They are followed by the SPD with Thomas Losse-Müller (19 percent) and Heinold’s Greens (16 percent). In fourth place is Buchholz’ FDP (9 percent). It looks as if Günther will soon no longer need a trio, as if a duo would suffice. Mathematically, a traffic light coalition would only be possible together with the SSW (5 percent) and is very unlikely. Green and yellow are likely to be crucial for a black-led government.
The partners are now also opponents. Green Heinold, 63, gets straight to the point, the former teacher is an energetic woman. She takes on the election slogan of Günther’s CDU: “Stay the course”. In these times that is “clearly not enough, we need more speed”. The situation shows “that sticking to fossils was wrong”. The climate goals are now also security policy goals, so more dynamism is needed, more courage.
“More dynamism,” says the equally lively FDP man Buchholz, formerly a publishing manager, “is exactly my text, Monika.” Why hasn’t progress been made on the A 20 (the extension of that autobahn to the west coast), why is it only now making progress at the LNG terminal (in Brunsbüttel). Heinold’s head of state called the A 20 a “dinosaur project” and the Greens rejected the LNG terminal at their state party conference.
“Where is the terminal, Bernd?”
Buchholz gets loud, he gesticulates, his slightly smaller neighbor Heinold takes cover. But she counters quickly. LNG is in the coalition agreement, she says, “we as Greens haven’t blocked it in five years, I gave you 50 million euros. Where’s the terminal, Bernd?”
“Dear Monika,” says Bernd Buchholz, referring to Robert Habeck, the Federal Economics Minister from the Greens. Monika Heinold interrupts: “He’s been in office for five months, Bernd, you’ve been in office for five years!” Buchholz continues, Habeck drove private investors to flee, and the Greens put the brakes on LNG ships. Heinold counters: “I wonder where you’ve been for the last five years, we haven’t put any brakes on it. It’s in the coalition agreement, you have money, you’re responsible. What’s going on here?”
The two are not a bad replacement for the alpha animals Robert Habeck and Wolfgang Kubicki who have migrated to Berlin. It’s a kind of stand-up cabaret, accompanied by laughter and applause from the suits. The Liberal Buchholz has a home game with business representatives, but the Green Heinold also enjoys respect because the state budget was reorganized under their aegis.
The harmony ends at the speed limit
On environmental issues, the Greens had to be slowed down by the CDU and FDP, and the number of wind turbines did not grow either. There is now also a dispute about a speed limit, which the Greens are demanding as well as the SPD. That’s where harmony in Jamaica reaches its limits. But in principle, the CDU, Greens and FDP have understood each other quite well, despite everything, which can also be observed in this round of talks.
You tease each other, you appreciate each other. “Despite all the competition, things are quieter in cabinet meetings,” Buchholz assured the audience. “We are humanely weighed”, everyone is allowed to make their point. The Jamaicans in Kiel have been emphasizing this for years: that they negotiated more secretively than the failed Jamaicans in Berlin and that they treat each other to success. “Why does that work?” asks Monika Heinold. “Because we talk rationally to each other.”
The Greens feel almost more comfortable in Jamaica than before in the so-called coastal coalition with the SPD and the South Schleswig Voters’ Association (SSW). But in view of the presumed voting ratios, the trio is likely to be inherited by a black-green or even black-yellow duet. Whereby Monika Heinold would like to become the first Green Prime Minister between the seas, which would only be possible with a green traffic light. She is currently CDU Günther’s deputy, not Buchholz, as the moderator briefly reminds in Rendsburg. You just concentrate on those “who can do it,” says Deputy Prime Minister Heinold of the Greens. “Indeed,” says economics minister Buchholz from the FDP, “she’s a great finance minister.”