The race for SPD president has been around for a long time. This was already provided by the large number of applicants and the amount of joint appearances. But a key cause of the tragedy was Olaf Holtz: Stoich smiled at the Vice-Chancellor, who had been Clara Gavitz's favorite from the start, at regional conferences all striking out. His strategy seemed to consist mainly of dodging and hugging.
That changed on Tuesday night. In the second ballot of candidates on the ballot, Scholz was suddenly attacked. The man, still hanging from his Secretary General's nickname, "Holzomat", attacked opposing candidates Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans, interrupted them, contradicted them and appeared severely resentful several times. His key message: Only if the SPD seems reasonable does it have a chance of an election.
The Willie-Brandt-House discussion, this time without an audience, lasted only a few minutes when Scholz first sank. The Challenger: Critique of Esken and Walter-Borjans Grundrent Compromise. The former finance minister of the North Rhine-Westphalia criticized the blockade of the SPD Union "preventing it from making it truly worthy of all". Folz's response: "If the SPD only achieved enormous success, it makes no sense to undermine it."
He wanted a "militant SPD" who could believe in himself and was proud of what he had achieved, Holtz said. Walter-Borjans seemed surprised: Without a doubt, the land lease was a "milestone", he boasted. Which prompted Gavitz to reiterate what "tremendous bargaining power" was to miss the union over the basic lease more than it had in the coalition agreement. Negotiated – among others – Olaf Holtz.
During the duel, Holt seemed to be amused by the unusual offensive spirit. When Esken described the coalition's climate solutions as "climate packages", Scholz countered that these were almost unanimously accepted by the SPD faction, so they couldn't be bad. As "completely wrong" he dismissed claims that the climate package is not social justice.
John Gallup / Getty Images
SPD candidates Olaf Holtz, Clara Gavitz, Norbert Walter Borjans, Saskia Esken: Clear alternative
Also, Esken didn't give up and seemed to have fun with the split, she developed a real exchange of punches. The confrontation showed that SPD members have a choice between two clear alternatives.
Holz and Gavitz are clearly in favor of extending Groko. Walter Borjans and Essen believe the SPD cannot continue despite the disaster up to 13 to 15 percent as before. In Grokko's question, they do not make a clear exit. However, Essen has requested to negotiate a coalition agreement with the Union.
Holz has the most to lose
Many in the party are waiting for polarization. But so far Scholz has not played, even in the Spiegel debate, the first meeting of the teams in the second round of the election, he was more prepared. What has changed?
One thing is certain: as the only one of the four candidates, Scholz really has nothing to lose. Voltaire-Borjans' political career seemed over, before he ran for office with a book about his fight against tax evaders across the country. Esken as a lawmaker and Gavitz as a former member of parliament win their bid for any profile case. Scholz, on the other hand, is a deputy chancellor, intending to run for chancellor in the next general election.
For this he must first become president of the party. This is not an independent matter, the first round of the membership decision showed. Holtz and Gavitz have just landed in the first place, with many voters from the four losing teams able to settle on the ballot to vote for Walter-Borjans and Esken, the party said.
Holz and Gavitz should now try to reach non-voters: only about 53% of SPD members participated in the first round. Polarization is needed to mobilize sufficient support from the remaining 47 percent. Former party leader Martin Schulz recently said in a double interview to SPIEGEL that he wants Scholz to leave "the vice chancellor in the vice chancellor's office" – that is, to play less state-sponsored.
Scholz fulfilled this request Tuesday night.
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