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Merkel against Schulz – TV duel 2017: Einigkeit und Recht and weiter so

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017 | World News

Chancellor Merkel and her challenger Martin Schulz celebrate the Grand Coalition on the so-called TV duel. Interesting? Yes. Controversial? No.

A comment by Florian Harms

No, this was not a bad TV debate. The moderators asked wise questions without pushing themselves to the fore; the two opponents argued objectively, comprehensibly and competently. The pre-controversial rigid procedure of the debate did well. Yes, it was an interesting political television, which asked the question: Why is there not so much more than all the confusion and the slogans in many talkshows?

But has this debate also fulfilled its purpose, sharpened the profile of the two top candidates, demonstrated clear opposites? Barely. Angela Merkel (CDU) and Martin Schulz (SPD) demonstrated in the well-nigh-bourgeois discussion over long distances, above all: unity.

The Chancellor complimented the "ardent coalition partner" SPD before running camera compliments and began sentences like "Mr. Schulz rightly pointed out …" He again flushed back "Here we agree" and actually said the sentence: "Mrs. Merkel, I do not think about a political opponent, which one replaces in the chancellor's office or whose entry into the latter is absolutely to be prevented. This is how one talks about a partner with whom one would like to continue to rule after the election. It seemed as if a Chancellor and her future Foreign Minister were standing there.

 Already in the beginning it was the former EU-Strippenzieher Schulz to see how uncomfortable he feels in the role of the attacking challenger. While the chancellor was able to instruct migration calmly, politically, sovereignly, and a bit boredom, Schulz often fell into the middle of the flow of speech, lost himself in details, and also responded miserably when Maybrit Illner asked him not to be constantly on the questions of the moderators to thank. Significantly, the challenger did not manage to score points on this issue, which has threatened Chancellor Merkel like no other. The round went clear to her.

And even though Merkel does not have a long-term concept for migration policy. The population of Africa grows by three percent every year, and by 2050 it has doubled to more than two billion. As climate change is likely to destroy the livelihoods in many regions, 100 million people are on the way to Europe according to the Development Auxiliary Ministry. On the other hand, the "refugee crisis" will be a breeze in 2015, and Merkel's "Marshall Plan for Africa" ​​is hardly more than PR. But Schulz did not take advantage of this open flank of the "refugee chancellor".

It actually took half an hour (half a TV show), until he finally showed a clear edge: he would break the EU accession negotiations with the EU, because this Erdogan understands only clear announcements. Nevertheless, Merkel was able to score points when she explained her tactics in the dealings with the autocrat: In order to help the 12 Germans imprisoned in Turkey, diplomacy was needed.

That was how it went, and so it went, Merkel gave the imperturbable world leader, Schulz struggled, but when the issue of social justice was finally called, the audience was already so lulled that the positions and opinions seemed almost too blurred. This may be a problem in a TV debate, the problem would not be deeper: the two largest political parties in the country have obviously decided to plan their policies in the short term. This impression was felt by Merkel and Schulz, and the election programs of the Union and the SPD also radiate this spirit. The SPD wants quite a bit at once: a new education system, a new health care system and a great future. Between countless demands, the party seems to have lost the sense of sentiment in the country and thus also a clear focus on one, two core messages that any voters could remember.

Merkel's Union, on the other hand, has a core message, and therefore she will be able to cheer on September 24th. Everyone who listens to the chancellor for five minutes or takes the trouble to read the electoral program will understand this message: continue as before. A few thousand policemen more here, a little less tax there, but otherwise, the chancellor's party insists on the proven hypnosis concept: lull, as best to fight as little as possible, and deny the opponent the attack area.

On Sunday evening this worked very well. Good for the Chancellor, a pity for the country.

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