Those were the five big issues at the Triell

Berlin The triall was just underway for five minutes when it really clanked in the TV studio in Berlin-Adlershof. Something had fallen over. “The way it rumbles here in the studio, the federal election will be so exciting,” said Green Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock, who just had the floor.

There was a lot of bang not only in the backdrops, but also in front of the camera. The three top candidates from the Union, SPD and Greens gave each other nothing in their second TV discussion.

In particular, CDU chancellor candidate Armin Laschet and his SPD opponent Olaf Scholz insisted again and again. In the meantime, the Triell therefore seemed more of a duel. But Annalena Baerbock was also able to score points, for example in climate policy.

Right at the beginning, the three candidates were caught off guard by questions about coalition options. The topic was a good opportunity for CDU top candidate Armin Laschet to attack Scholz directly.

“It must be clear to everyone that if there is an arithmetical majority, you will form a coalition with the left,” Laschet said to Scholz. The fact that Scholz had not ruled out such a coalition in his speech earlier “is already a clear statement this evening”.

Scholz countered: All the questions about excluding coalition options were “absurd theater performances”. The FDP has already been asked by the Union to exclude coalitions.

Those who vote for the SPD get Olaf Scholz as Federal Chancellor – and the principles for which he stands, said Scholz. Above all, the citizen has the last word, he must be taken into account in all decisions. Laschet did not want to let that stand: Before the election, the citizens had to “have clarity” about coalitions.

Fight against money laundering

The fight against money laundering was even tougher, a topic that nobody had on the slip a few days ago and that was extremely uncomfortable for Scholz.

The reason: on Thursday there was a raid in the Federal Ministry of Finance. The occasion was an investigation by the Osnabrück public prosecutor’s office against the money laundering unit FIU, which is located at customs and thus at the Federal Ministry of Finance. Apparently, she did not forward money laundering reports in time.

Scholz explained that he had inherited the problems with the money laundering unit and did everything in his tenure to fix these problems and upgrade the unit: more staff, new management, more IT.

But Laschet used the steep template for a frontal attack on his SPD opponent. It is “a miracle how the finance minister can display such whitewashing in the face of this situation”. Scholz is responsible for the authority.

Scholz’s criticism of the judiciary that the raid was exaggerated was also completely “inappropriate,” according to Laschet. Such criticism of the judiciary was otherwise only made by “populists in other countries”. And it was not Scholz’s “first case”, said Laschet, recalling the Wirecard scandal or the cum-ex tax scandal, for which Scholz was also responsible. “If my finance minister worked like this, we would have a serious problem,” said Laschet.

Scholz seemed unusually touched and fought back for him in a rather unfamiliar way. Laschet “twisted things”, he was acting “dishonest”, he had to be reproached for that. The searches were not directed against the Federal Ministry of Finance, but against an authority in Cologne, the public prosecutor obtained information from his finance department.

He also upgraded the money laundering unit and initiated major reforms against “the resistance of all lobbyists” after the Wirecard scandal. Both now interrupted each other. “You have the technical supervision,” says Laschet. “You have now repeated the wrong facts five times,” countered Scholz.

Baerbock did what she was supposed to do often that evening: She let the two men argue and then pointed out that the fight against money laundering was not top of the priority list for both Union and the SPD – and now the nurse for the high one Tax losses caused by money laundering and tax avoidance must arise.

Tax policy

The candidates also worked out the differences in tax policy, albeit in a much more objective manner. Tax policy is the “fundamental difference” between the Union and the other two parties, said Laschet. Unlike the SPD and the Greens, the Union does not want to increase taxes.

Raising taxes is “fundamentally wrong because it stifles the economy,” said the CDU candidate. He found the statement that he wanted to introduce a wealth tax “astonishing, especially for a finance minister,” said Laschet, referring to the plans of the SPD and its candidate for chancellor.

Scholz and Baerbock, on the other hand, defended their plans to raise taxes for top earners and the wealthy. The state incurred 400 billion euros in debt during the crisis and saved the economy with many billions. Big tax cuts are “unaffordable”, said Scholz. But money is needed for education, for example. “Tax gifts for people who earn a lot will not be given with me,” said Scholz. And the economic miracle in the 1950s also succeeded with a wealth tax.

Social policy

The candidates also tried to set themselves apart in social policy. Scholz promised stable pensions and a fixation of the pension level at 48 percent. Contrary to what experts claim, this can also be financed. Earlier horror forecasts from the 90s never came true.

“The answer is not serious,” countered Laschet. You can’t just tell career starters that everything will stay as it is. Laschet also criticized the plans of the SPD and the Greens to want to introduce citizens’ insurance into health policy.

The care in other countries that have such a uniform insurance is worse than in Germany. At the same time, however, the rich would be able to get good supplies. Baerbock, on the other hand, said that “two-tier medicine” was “unsocial” and did not lead to uniform care. While private patients would come to doctor’s appointments immediately, those with statutory health insurance would have to wait months for an appointment with their family doctor.

Climate policy

In climate policy, the discussion centered on the issue of electricity consumption. Scholz said the Union had “missed a major modernization project” because it had ignored for far too long how much electricity the economy actually needs if Germany is to be climate-neutral by 2050. Laschet did not want to let that go and resisted the “creation of legends”. Scientific institutes had recalculated the electricity demand, and the CDU-led Federal Ministry of Economics followed.

In contrast, the SPD was always the party that “blocked” everything in energy policy, both in his state of North Rhine-Westphalia and in the coalition negotiations in the federal government in 2017, according to Laschet. Baerbock said that Scholz and Laschet’s “coming to terms with the past” shows why the country has not made enough progress in climate policy. “They were not oriented towards solutions, but rather blame each other,” said Baerbock and called for an earlier coal phase-out, which is currently planned by 2038. Then one of the few tips pushed against Scholz: “We don’t need any analyzes in climate policy, Mr. Scholz.”

Dispute also about dealing with measurements

There was also a small exchange of blows because of CDU politician Hans-Georg Maaßen. The former President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is running for the Bundestag in Thuringia, but is highly controversial because of his comments on foreigners, the AfD and public broadcasting.

Laschet did not want to answer whether he would choose Maaßen. Maaßen is a member of the CDU and he disagrees with Maaßen on many points, but Maaßen is not running in his constituency, according to Laschet. Baerbock used this for an attack: The Union had to “pull the firewall clear to the right”. Apparently that’s what differentiates them. When the Green Mayor Boris Palmer attracted attention with racist statements, she ensured that a party expulsion procedure against him was examined, so Baerbock.

On the other hand, the lessons from Corona and the topic of digitization, which, unlike in the first triall, were addressed this time, were not controversial. Everyone agreed on this: Politicians must finally push digitalization more strongly.

And there was a very fair moment too. Annalena Baerbock pointed out on her own initiative that the clock that recorded Olaf Scholz’s speaking time continued to run even though it was not he who spoke, but the moderators. The timing should ensure that all candidates have about the same amount of speech.

In their final statements, however, the three candidates again showed their differences. Laschet promised that he would be a chancellor who would “not lead people, but let them do”.

Baerbock said that people had the choice between “setting off or persisting in the way things are going.” Scholz emphasized the solidarity with which the country had come through the Corona crisis well and with which he will ensure stable pensions in the future or fight climate change.

The survey after the Triell then showed a mixed picture: the respondents found Olaf Scholz most convincing. He came to 41 percent, Armin Laschet to 27 and Annalena Baerbock to 25. However, according to the survey, Baerbock was the most energetic, she came to 41 percent on this question, Scholz to 28 and Laschet to 25. Nevertheless, Laschet, whose union is in Polls is only 20 percent and has therefore fallen behind the SPD, not necessarily the loser of the evening.

But Laschet and Baerbock are making up ground

Because the ARD survey after the Triell showed that too: In the direct election of the Chancellor candidate, he and Baerbock were able to make up ground against Scholz. While 19 percent of those surveyed said they would prefer Laschet as Chancellor among the three candidates before the Triell, it was 24 percent after the Triell. Baerbock also increased from 13 to 19 percent, Scholz came to 43 percent after the TV discussion, as before.

After the discussion, Laschet said, “That it was a successful triell. The differences have become clear, what makes red green. There is more clarity. ”The parties naturally saw their own candidate ahead. SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil said: “Olaf Scholz has shown that he has the format of a chancellor. Laschet went on attack. I think that is unworthy of someone who ultimately wants to hold a country together as Chancellor. “

CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak said Laschet since the candidate with chancellor format. “Olaf Scholz made an effort. Tried to divert attention from his misconduct, had few new ideas and mainly relied on tax increases and more bureaucracy and more burdens for the people. ”In the end, the voters will decide on September 26th. Three days before the federal election there will be a third and final triall.

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