Laschet attributes CDU results to German government response to pandemic

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Armin Laschet, head of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, blamed the party’s dismal performance in two regional elections on Sunday to the government’s mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic, saying he “must do better” .

The provisional results gave the CDU 24 percent of the vote in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, far behind the victorious Greens, and 28 percent in the western region of Rhineland-Palatinate, where they lost to the social democratic left-of-center.

The results could undermine Laschet’s ambitions to run as the center-right candidate for chancellor in the September Bundestag elections. Many conservatives would prefer Markus Söder, leader of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the CSU, to run instead.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Laschet said the coronavirus crisis was “straining everyone in this country, and that is why there have been debates over the [government’s] management of [the pandemic]”. “We have to do better here,” he added.

He also blamed the party’s poor performance on the “personal fault” of a CDU MP who left the Bundestag last week after it emerged he had earned huge commissions on deals for the purchase of face masks.

Laschet insisted that the CDU leadership had acted decisively against MP Nikolas Löbel, saying he was forced to step down from his seat within 48 hours of the case being revealed. “Anyone who abuses trust in a situation like this must feel the consequences,” he said.

The CDU entered Sunday’s election with the public increasingly disappointed with Angela Merkel’s CDU-led government and, in particular, the performance of two CDU cabinet members: the Minister of Health Jens Spahn, blamed for the slowness of the vaccination campaign in Germany and the botched deployment of Covid-19 rapid tests, and the Minister of the Economy Peter Altmaier, blamed for the delays in the payment of financial aid to companies affected by the locking.

Laschet said he expected the government to do “a good job – that goes for all ministers, whether it’s vaccinations, tests or aid payments.”

Results in the two western states do not bode well for the CDU ahead of four more regional polls this year and the national elections in September, when Merkel relinquishes power after 16 years as chancellor of the country’s most powerful economy. ‘Europe.

But it was good news for the Greens. According to provisional results, the party won elections in Baden-Württemberg, the only state in Germany it rules, with 33% of the vote, its highest regional score on record.

Sunday’s results suggest that his “green-black” coalition, with the CDU as a junior partner, was granted a term for another five-year term.

But the Greens now also have the option of forming a “traffic light” coalition with the SPD and pro-business Free Democrats – a combination that would be nicer for many party members than a renewed rapprochement with the Conservatives.

The results from Rhineland-Palatinate indicate that the SPD-led and currently ruling SPD traffic light coalition can also remain in office for five years. Many SPD members are now hoping that the three-way alliance could prove to be a model for a future national coalition government.

“We have shown in Rhineland-Palatinate that the traffic light worked very well, and voters underlined it with this result,” said Malu Dreyer, SPD state governor. “And why shouldn’t federal politicians take a look at it?” ”

The CDU faced two hugely popular prime ministers who appeal to voters from all political backgrounds: Baden-Württemberg’s Green leader Winfried Kretschmann and SPD’s Dreyer in Rhineland-Palatinate.

In both states, the CDU’s campaigns have been led by nondescript candidates who have been forced by the pandemic to avoid major campaign events and have failed to reach large voters.


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