Faeser is also to remain Federal Minister of the Interior as the SPD’s top candidate in Hesse

This Friday, the Hessian SPD chairwoman wants to explain her plans at the so-called Hessen summit, the traditional closed meeting of her state association. It is considered certain that she will declare her top candidate for the state elections in Hesse on October 8th.

A spokesman for the Hessian SPD spoke of “speculation” with regard to a possible double function of Faeser. On Friday, however, “a wise decision” will be made. A spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior declined to comment on the report.

Faeser is the undisputed number one in the Hesse SPD. That’s why hardly anyone doubts that she’s going into the race as a top candidate.

Faeser left it open for a long time that this would happen. The minister repeatedly dismissed questions about her political future. She always gave similar-sounding answers. She carries out her ministry with “great strength and passion”, she assured and stressed that nothing would change that quickly.

In the SPD, the matter is clear. It is expected across wings that Faeser would have to vacate her position as Minister of the Interior immediately if she were to run in view of the domestic political challenges – also in order to have a chance in Hesse at all, the Handelsblatt learned from faction groups. In addition, Faeser must make it clear that he will switch to Hesse even in the event of a defeat.

The SZ claims to have learned that in the event of an election defeat, Faeser would remain in Berlin and not be the leader of the opposition in Hesse. It is expected in the party that she would only move to Wiesbaden as prime minister, writes the paper.

Political scientist: “Popular top candidates can win elections”

In Berlin, Faeser knew the 1970 in Bad sods born Hardly anyone became when she was entrusted by Chancellor Scholz with the management of the Federal Ministry of the Interior in December 2021 – as the first woman in this office. At the time, some government officials used the search engine to get an idea of ​​the new boss.

Since then, the rumor has persisted that the married mother of a seven-year-old son was only in Berlin temporarily in order to then run in the elections in Hesse against Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU) and State Economics Minister Tarek Al-Wazir from his Green coalition partner.

>> Read also: Young, pragmatic, conservative: like Boris Rhein and his colleagues change the CDU

There were already solid indications in the spring of last year. Faeser, who will be 53 in July, was re-elected state party leader at a state party conference in Marburg in May with 94.3 percent. “My heart is in Hesse,” she explained at the time. To many, that sounded like a promise. The hope germinated that with Faeser as the front woman, it would finally be possible to replace the CDU after 24 years in government.

The comrades in Hesse do not see the fact that Faeser is under heavy pressure in the federal government as a disadvantage. Rather, they see the advantages of their presence as Minister of the Interior, such as the fact that the law graduate is constantly appearing in this function throughout Germany and is therefore well known.

The political scientist Uwe Jun from the University of Trier is convinced: “Popular top candidates can win elections.” Especially since, as he says, state issues are often less decisive than personalities in state elections.

Criticized because of Schönbohm’s dismissal

At Faeser, the government office in the federal government initially played hardly any role for its external impact. As Minister of the Interior, she started colorless. However, she quickly turned into a doer. Not only because she duped Fifa boss Gianni Infantino at the World Cup in Qatar by wearing the forbidden “One Love” captain’s armband.

Soccer World Cup in Qatar

Nancy Faeser in December 2022 with the controversial “One Love” armband in conversation with FIFA boss Gianni Infantino.

(Photo: Reuters)

She also set domestic political accents, for example in civil protection or in the immigration of skilled workers. Their plans to naturalize migrants more quickly caused a stir. She also faced criticism for her crackdown on the head of Germany’s cybersecurity agency, whom she ousted over alleged ties with Russia amid a growing cyber threat.

Faeser presents himself as a hands-on caretaker. She describes her political style as close to the people. “I want to make politics out of life,” she recently explained in an interview with the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. For a long time she was a city councilor in Schwalbach am Taunus, she says. That shaped her because it was so immediate.

“You don’t make decisions based on the files, but go out to the people.” That’s why, as interior minister, she often meets police and rescue workers, goes to offices, to refugee accommodation or to border crossings.

Faeser’s way of doing politics seems to go down well with the population. At least that’s what the ZDF political barometer suggests, which also regularly assesses the sympathy and performance of politicians. After that, Faeser made it into the top ten most important politicians for the first time in January.

However, it is far from clear whether these would be good prerequisites for increasing the electoral chances of the Hesse SPD. The state is currently governed by a coalition of Christian Democrats and Greens. Recent polls see the CDU as the strongest force.

The SPD could break the blocking power of the Union in the Bundesrat if they win the elections in Hesse

For the Social Democrats, this does not rule out the possibility that Faeser will still become prime minister if he runs for office. However, the Greens and FDP would have to be ready for a traffic light coalition led by Faeser.

This is no easy task. Months ago, the Hessian Greens declared a “three-way battle” for the state chancellery in Wiesbaden. Economics Minister Al-Wazir, as the top candidate, is aiming for the office of prime minister for the first time.

>> Read also: The states want to have a say in the federal government via the Bundesrat

For the SPD, however, a traffic light alliance would have a special appeal that could also play a role in the considerations of the Greens and the FDP. With such a government alliance, the blocking power of the Union in the Bundesrat would be obsolete. The CDU and CSU would then no longer be able to slow down certain laws, as was the case recently with citizen income.

The fact that Faeser, as the top candidate, could remain Federal Minister of the Interior at the same time suits one person in particular: Chancellor Scholz. After the resignation of Christine Lambrecht (SPD) as defense minister, he would not be forced to reshuffle his cabinet again.

However, there are still completely different topics on Faeser’s agenda. The list of tasks that the minister has set herself for this year is long. In addition to various security policy projects, a topic that is particularly relevant to the economy is about to be implemented.

The federal government wants to attract more skilled workers from abroad with simpler rules and new offers. The corresponding Skilled Immigration Act is to be passed by the federal cabinet at the beginning of March.

More: First Lambrecht, then Faeser? Union demands clarity about the future of the interior minister

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