how the flood can affect the balance of power in the elections in Germany – RT in Russian

The successor of Angela Merkel in the CDU party and candidate for chancellor, Armin Laschet, visited two of the most flood-affected communities in North Rhine-Westphalia – Hagen and Altenu. Experts note that in the context of the election campaign now underway in Germany, the candidates’ reaction to the tragedy can seriously affect their political future. Analysts recalled the events of 2002, when the flood in Germany “helped” Gerhard Schroeder to be re-elected to the post of chancellor – the politician was directly involved in the operations to eliminate the consequences of the disaster. At the same time, in the German segment of Twitter, a video is gaining popularity in which Laschet laughs, standing behind the President of Germany, at the moment when he talks about the consequences of the disaster.

According to media reports, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, July 18, plans to visit the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which was badly damaged by floods. This is reported by the German edition of Bild am Sonntag, citing sources. It is noted that the policy will be accompanied by the Prime Minister of the Malu Dreyer region. According to the newspaper, the head of government will visit the Schuld commune, where she will be informed about the current situation and the extent of the damage.

Earlier, a similar trip, but to a different region, was undertaken by Merkel’s successor in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and candidate for chancellor Armin Lashet. He visited the two most affected settlements – Hagen and Altenu – in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, of which he is prime minister.

Destructive downpours

Heavy rains in Germany overflowed the tributaries of the Rhine, Ahr and Moselle, as well as the Sauer, Kiel, Nims, Prüm and Erft rivers. The flooding mainly affected the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. More than 20 cities and districts were struck by the elements. According to the latest data, more than 150 people became victims of the flood, and about 1.3 thousand are still missing.

Showers and thunderstorms, provoking the overflow of rivers from the banks, have been in the west and southwest of Germany since Monday, July 12. As a result, streams of water destroyed bridges, flooded roads and railways, cut off power lines and damaged the water supply system. In connection with the grave consequences of the disaster, the Ministry of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany introduced a military catastrophe regime in the west of the country.

In connection with the tragic consequences of the cyclone, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent condolences to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Historical parallels

Experts note that the current catastrophe in Germany occurred at the height of the election campaign, and the consequences of the disaster could seriously affect the political balance of power, as happened in 2002. Then, the flood caused by the flooding of the Elbe and the Danube was comparable in terms of damage. By coincidence, the tragedy also occurred during the election campaign in Germany. With political benefit for himself, this situation was able to use the then Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who represented the SPD and fought for re-election. Direct participation in the elimination of the consequences of the flood allowed Schroeder to gain more votes and get ahead of the candidate from the CDU / CSU bloc Edmund Steuber – the inhabitants of Germany again handed over the mandate of confidence to the chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. About Schroeder then they said that “he won the election in rubber boots.”

“Of course, this is a reason for the German authorities, as in 2002, to demonstrate their readiness to introduce appropriate measures. The decisive actions of the authorities are designed not only to help directly the victims, but also to demonstrate the effectiveness of the management of the current ruling coalition, “Alexander Kamkin, a leading researcher at the Center for German Studies at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained to RT.

According to experts, the current candidates for chancellor will also try to use the situation to gain political points. Thus, SPD candidate Olaf Scholz, who holds the post of Minister of Finance and Deputy Chancellor, canceled his vacation to go to the affected region of Rhineland-Palatinate, where he promised that he would do everything to ensure that the federal government provided the necessary financial assistance to the victims.

“People who find themselves in the disaster zone are in need, the damage is enormous. The federal government must provide assistance. I will do my best to provide financial assistance at the federal level, ”the German Ministry of Finance quotes him on Twitter.

At the same time, not all candidates for the post of chancellor were in the same advantageous position as Armin Laschet and Olaf Scholz. Thus, the candidate from the Green Party, Annalene Berbock, who also visited settlements in Rhineland-Palatinate, but which does not have executive powers, had to confine herself to general statements.

“In this devastating situation now … the highest priority remains urgent emergency assistance to rescue people from a dangerous situation and support those who have lost everything,” Berbock wrote on her Twitter page.

However, analysts believe that candidates have approximately equal chances to use the current situation to their advantage.

“Most likely, the victory will be won by the candidate who can demonstrate unity, will be able to unite all political forces,” Vladimir Schweitzer, head of the department of social and political research at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained to RT.

Balance of power

As shown by recent polls, the conservative bloc in the Christian Democratic and Christian Social Unions (CDU / CSU) is now confidently leading in the ranking of parties in Germany. This is evidenced by the results of a study published at the end of June, conducted by the sociological service Forsa, commissioned by RTL and N-TV.

According to the poll, the CDU / CSU bloc is ten percentage points ahead of the Green Party. Thus, according to the poll, 30% were ready to vote for the CDU / CSU, 20% for the “greens”, and the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the Free Democratic Party would receive 14% and 12% of the votes, respectively. Only 7% of respondents supported the Alternative for Germany party.

The strong position of the CDU / CSU was also noted by Vladimir Schweitzer. In his opinion, the recent local elections in Saxony-Anhalt, where the Christian Democrats confidently won, gaining 37.1% of the vote, can be considered indicative.

“The last local elections in Saxony-Anhalt have shown that the position of the CDU / CSU is invulnerable, so it is unlikely that the Social Democratic Party or the Greens, which are quite active, can expect to win,” Schweitzer said.

However, the event on Saturday evening, June 17, is likely to negatively affect the bloc’s rating. By the end of the day, a video appeared on Twitter in which CDU candidate Armin Laschet jokes with colleagues and laughs at something, standing behind the President of Germany, at the moment when Frank-Walter Steinmeier comments on the topic of flooding and support for the victims. Social network users were outraged that Laschet behaved so frivolously during the mournful events.

“This is Laschet, the fun-loving dude who could be the next Chancellor of Germany. I don’t think I will vote for him, ”wrote a user under the nickname Clannad99.

“I can’t imagine Merkel laughing amid such a traumatic situation in which, before the eyes of innocent people, their homes, shops and livelihoods were washed away,” says another user under the nickname Paul Naisbitt.

“Here he is laughing. I don’t know for sure if it was after or before he lied about climate change. Be that as it may, he never seemed to me a suitable candidate for the post of Chancellor of Germany, “- said the user Roxy.

Such behavior of Lashet, believes Alexander Kamkin, will now hit not only himself, but also the party.

“The fact that the candidate for the post of German Chancellor from the CDU laughs when the federal president delivers condolences is ugly. This testifies to his professional unpreparedness for this position. If this video is shown on all German federal channels, it will hit not only Lashet, but the CDU as a whole. The Germans react quite sensitively to such scandals, ”the RT expert explained.

As an example, he cited the situation with the Minister of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany Karl-Theodor zu Gutenberg, who had to resign in 2011 due to charges of plagiarism while writing his Ph.D. thesis.

“I do not exclude that in this case Lashet could have been told an anecdote that was distracted from the topic, but the main thing for a politician is to save face. On the part of Lashet, this was an imprudent stupidity, which ideological competitors can now use for their political purposes, “Kamkin summed up.


Source: RT на русском by russian.rt.com.

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