‘Scholz Effect’ Takes Germany by Surprise

Published on 15 September 2021 at 09:34

Since the end of July Germany’s social democrats, the SPD, have been gaining in the polls. At the end of August, they overtook the CDU/CSU bloc and are now leading in every single poll. Partially, this is due to their candidate Olaf Scholz who has been serving as Vice-Chancellor & Minister of Finance in Merkel’s cabinet.


In the eyes of German voters, he is seen as a more credible, competent, and likable candidate when compared to Laschet the CDU/CSU’s candidate for Chancellor whose campaign crashed when he was caught laughing in the background of Germany’s President's press conference in a town which was severely devastated by flooding. 


In his own party Olaf Scholz, a lawyer in labor and employment law, is seen as a moderate. His views aren’t as far to the left as those of the co-leaders of the party. His experience is what attracts German voters to him, from 2007 until 2009 he served as Minister for Labour and Social Affairs (also in Merkel’s cabinet).


From 2011 until 2018 he served as the First Mayor of Hamburg, within a few years he managed to solve the city’s housing problems by steering Hamburg’s construction boom. 


According to the polls, Scholz was the winner of the two debates which took place in the last two weeks, he was seen as the most competent during them. Laschet came in third in both while the Greens candidate Annalena Barebock came second.


At this stage, even the conservative newspaper Bild stated that Laschet will need some sort of a miracle to occur in order for him to become Chancellor. 


Scholz’s main campaigning points are to introduce a €12 and hr minimum wage, build 400,000 homes a year and ensure financial stability for pensioners, tax cuts for low and middle-income earners, more support for parents and those caring for the elderly, the introduction of a tax on financial transactions, reinstating the wealth tax, increasing financial support for students and youth welfare up to the age of 27, climate neutrality by 2045 and aligning policy with UN’s Sustainability Goals. 


The most important key point from Scholz’s campaign so far is that it is united, he has the entire party behind him and nobody is questioning his competencies to become Chancellor within the party. That is something Laschet’s campaign is missing, the CDU and CSU are dis-united politicians from both parties publicly criticizing Laschet and his campaign. Top CSU politician just a few days ago stated that the Union would have been better off if it chose Markus Söder, the state Premier of Bavaria and leader of CSU as its candidate for Chancellor.


According to recent polls social inequality, climate, and housing are the three key main issues that German voters want to see improve. Scholz’s experience in dealing with inequality when he was the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and then dealing with housing as First Mayor of Hamburg makes the German voters believe that he could do the same as Chancellor of their country. 


It is clear that if German voters could elect their Chancellor directly then Olaf Scholz would have easily won such elections, he is the preferred candidate in every single poll which has been published in the last few weeks.  



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