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Schulz calls Merkel to second TV duel

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 | World News

12.09.2017, 23:26 clock
   | Marc L. Merten, dpa, pdi
 Is there a revenge? Martin Schulz writes a letter to Angela Merkel and challenges her to a new duel in front of the TV audience.

Germany's citizens question the chancellor candidate of the SPD: Martin Schulz showed up on Tuesday evening, but came to the question of a student sling. After all, it was also about education. In the end, he let the audience know: he challenges Angela Merkel to another TV duel.

The format
They are called "Townhall Meetings" and come from the USA. Citizens' meetings in which politicians ask the questions that move people. This is also the case on the German TV evening on the ZDF, in the "Klartext" format, which Martin Schulz presented. 150 guests from all the federal states had come, Bettina Schausten and Peter Frey moderated.

The topics
Rent, pension, care, mothers, education, diesel engines, infrastructure, security, anti-Semitism, refugees: Yes, you read correctly, the topic of education was actually discussed on Tuesday. And no, digitization did not take place once more, just as if the 2017 election would take place in 1998. Martin Schulz mentioned the expansion of broadband offers for structurally weak regions. The Chancellor's candidate did not come closer to the subject, however, because Frey, Schausten and ZDF had not taken the list.

The surprising answer
The last question of the evening was actually already put, Schulz once more to the conclusion, when Bettina Schausten actually wanted to strangle the SPD man already. Then Schulz let the cat out of the sack: "I wrote a letter to Mrs. Merkel and asked her to make another TV duel with me." The Chancellor, who had not agreed to a second duel in the election campaign, will probably hardly more grant. But Schulz urged her, under the applause of the audience, to discuss the questions which were not asked in the first and probably the only TV duel – among other things for digitization and education policy.

 As the "Bild" newspaper quotes from the letter from the SPD chancellor candidate to the chancellor, Schulz argues that the topics of digitization, pension and education were too short in the TV duel. "You have also criticized the very limited selection of topics, and I absolutely agree with you that important issues of our country were not raised."

The surprising theme
Education policy. Over the past few months, it has been felt that education plays no role in the election campaign. The citizens took it on the political table on Tuesday evening. Why are school degrees different depending on the state? And why is the Middle Maturity nowadays hardly worth anything – a circumstance under which handicraft suffers? Schulz initially advocated a "national educational alliance" in order to introduce comparable standards which raise school degrees in Germany to a comparable level. However, what should be particularly noticeable to the audience was his emotional outburst on the question of middle maturity. "I have to listen again and again: Can a man without Abitur be a Federal Chancellor?" Schulz said. "I suffer from it myself because my commercial education is less valuable than academic education." The 61-year-old demanded that vocational schools should become "our future workshop", in order not to leave artisan enterprises in the future.

Schulz's weakest moment
The questions on education were high school graduates who had been invited. And so Schulz stumbled on a question of the future. It was about how the SPD candidate wanted to inspire young voters, especially first-time voters, for themselves. Schulz had led discussions on Youtube during the election campaign, but came to stutter when describing this. Whether he really wanted to say "Instagram" or "Internet" at the end, was no longer clear. So his anecdote also lost the joke when he said, "I once asked a teenager if he was with the Jusos. He said: No, just at Instagram. "But the hoped-for presentation as a man of the new media had already completely failed.

Schulz 'strongest moment
Schulz, on the other hand, carried out a word-for-word calculation with the AfD, which should be remembered by many spectators, and will raise the question of how the future federal government will actually deal with this party, which will openly bring racist and anti-semitic ideas into the Bundestag. How Schulz would react to the AfD, he was asked. The 61-year-old raised his voice: "Anti-Semitism is an intolerable but everyday phenomenon," he began, condemning Björn Höcke once again for his speech of disgrace. Then he became clear: "This is no alternative for Germany, but a shame for our country. And what will I do with those in the Bundestag? I throw them out. I have already done this with the people of the European Parliament. These people stand the dignity of the people with their feet. "

The delimitation attempt to Angela Merkel
A central attempt at Schulz was to set the SPD and its own position more clearly than before by Angela Merkel and the Union. The allegation that the TV duel was more a cuddle discussion than a fight, Schulz obviously wanted to disprove. "Mrs. Merkel does not want any tightening of the rent brake," said Schulz and called the rising rents in Germany "unrestrained exploitation". The Federal Chancellor also addressed the issue of how to protect mothers who switch between part-time and full-time in the face of age poverty: "Mrs Merkel sees no need for action. I do not think so. Age poverty is feminine. That is why I want to be able to clarify questions of principle in court without the risk of individuals – including the demands of the VW diesel drivers. Schulz did not let himself be separated from Merkel. A second TV duel would be interesting – alone, it will probably not come.

Conclusion
Schulz's personal appearance was marked by the fact that citizens were able to make their proximity to the people comprehensible. The son of a village policeman, who had grown up on a guard. The man without a high school diploma, who regrets not being "more diligent in school". The "long-standing mayor", who had witnessed the fears of the people in his city. He usually greeted the questioners with a handshake, sat down with them in the seats, was constantly anxious to bridge the distance to the citizens. Whether this performance, however, will have decisively reduced the distance in the surveys to Angela Merkel, that is to be doubted.

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