SPD party conference: An ailing chancellor speaks to his party

At the SPD federal party conference today, Chancellor Olaf Scholz will speak to around 600 delegates.

SPD party conference: An ailing chancellor speaks to his party

At the SPD federal party conference today, Chancellor Olaf Scholz will speak to around 600 delegates. It is eagerly awaited what the head of government, who was sworn in almost exactly two years ago, will say about the current budget crisis, the conflict issue of migration and the collapse of the traffic light government of the SPD, FDP and Greens in the surveys. The speech is followed by a debate in which frustration could also arise.

SPD closes ranks at the start of the party conference

At the start of its party conference on Friday, the SPD initially presented itself as fairly united. When electing the party leadership, the delegates refrained from punishing the leadership trio made up of party leaders Lars Klingbeil and Saskia Esken as well as General Secretary Kevin Kühnert. On the contrary: Esken and Kühnert significantly improved their results from the last election two years ago. Klingbeil was celebrated for a combative speech.

Scholz was also greeted with long applause - although without a standing ovation. There was initially no open criticism of his government course. It is now eagerly awaited how he will appear before the delegates on Saturday. After the Federal Constitutional Court's smackdown over the federal government's budget management, the Chancellor is in trouble.

Dissatisfaction with the Chancellor is greater than ever

In a recent YouGov survey, 74 percent said he was doing a very bad or rather bad job. Only 20 percent, on the other hand, mostly think what he does is good. This is the worst result in the monthly survey since he took office two years ago.

In the ARD “Germany Trend” published on Thursday, only one in five people were satisfied with the work of the head of government. According to the broadcaster, this was the worst result for a Federal Chancellor since the survey began in 1997.

Budget negotiations are likely to be left out

In his speech, Scholz will hardly be able to address the ongoing negotiations to close the 17 billion hole in the 2024 federal budget. They are to continue on Sunday with Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) and Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens). The SPD leadership is pushing for the debt brake to be suspended again, is resisting social cuts and is sympathetic to tax increases, which are out of the question for the FDP. It is unlikely that the Chancellor will take a clear position on these demands in the middle of the negotiations.

Migration policy is the second difficult topic for Scholz

Second difficult topic for Scholz: migration policy. In recent weeks, the government's course has caused some dissatisfaction on the left wing of the SPD. It was particularly sparked by a sentence from the Chancellor in a "Spiegel" interview: "We finally have to deport on a large scale those who have no right to stay in Germany." The leadership of the Jusos criticized this as a demand “straight from the vocabulary of the right-wing mob.”

New Juso boss wants to answer Scholz

Philipp Türmer, who has now been elected chairman of the youth association, wrote: "I could vomit at this quote." Turmer will respond to Scholz’s speech. At the Juso federal congress in mid-November he sharply criticized the Chancellor. “If anything still reaches you in your castle, in your Berlin chancellery, if you still remember which party you ran for, change your course,” he demanded.