State election: election campaign final sprint in Lower Saxony

Shortly before the state elections in Lower Saxony, the parties campaigned for votes with plenty of prominent politicians.

State election: election campaign final sprint in Lower Saxony

Shortly before the state elections in Lower Saxony, the parties campaigned for votes with plenty of prominent politicians. CDU top candidate Bernd Althusmann, who wants to replace Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD), received support from party leader Friedrich Merz on Friday. Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner appeared in three cities - according to surveys, his FDP must fear staying in the state parliament. In Hanover, the Greens relied on Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus and party leader Omid Nouripour.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks at the end of the SPD election campaign in Hanover on Saturday. On Sunday, around 6.1 million voters are called upon to elect a new state parliament.

In the polls of the past few weeks, the SPD with incumbent and top candidate Weil was always just ahead of the CDU. He is aiming for a red-green coalition. In his opinion, a continuation of the current grand coalition in Lower Saxony would often lead to a blockade. "If I continue to calculate that over the next few years, I'm afraid we would end up in a situation far too often where we block each other," he said on Friday evening in Braunschweig.

SPD in polls up to 33 percent

With a view to the current coalition partner, the CDU, he said that the stock of commonalities had noticeably decreased and, conversely, the number of controversies had grown noticeably. According to polls, Weil can hope for a red-green majority.

The SPD was in the polls at 31 to 33 percent, the CDU at 27 to 30 percent. The Greens were not quite able to maintain their poll high from the summer with 16 to 19 percent, but are still heading for a record result. Significant gains are also becoming apparent for the AfD. The party lost its faction status in the state parliament in Hanover two years ago due to several exits, but could now achieve a double-digit result with 9 to 11 percent. The whereabouts of the FDP in the state parliament is in the balance with 5 percent. The left would miss their return by 3 to 4 percent.

Since the election campaign was conducted under the strong impression of the energy crisis, the election is also being closely observed from a federal political point of view. The CDU in particular sees the state elections as a vote on the crisis policy of the traffic light coalition around Chancellor Scholz.

The CDU was combative in trying to catch up with the SPD. CDU leader Merz said in Hanover on Friday that the mood for the party was better than in the polls. In addition, many people are still undecided about who to vote for.

CDU criticizes traffic light coalition in Berlin

Merz and CDU top candidate Althusmann once again criticized the traffic light coalition in Berlin. One of the main points of criticism was the attitude towards nuclear energy. "Everyone around Europe is just shaking their heads at these crazy Germans who are serious about shutting down three nuclear power plants right now?" said Merz. The Emsland nuclear power plant in Lingen, Lower Saxony, is scheduled to go offline at the end of the year.

The Greens said on Friday that Althusmann had already come to terms with the opposition role. He no longer expects to be prime minister and has no ideas of his own for the state, said Greens top candidate Julia Willie Hamburg.

Green criticism of Prime Minister Weil

The Greens have not yet ruled out a coalition with the CDU, but a red-green alliance is more likely. Nevertheless, Hamburg also criticized Prime Minister Weil. With a view to his announcement that if he were re-elected he would launch a 970 million euro relief program in the energy crisis, she said: "An aid package is not an election promise, it is now an imperative."

The AfD reaffirmed its goal of at least ten percent of the votes and violently attacked the politics of the federal government. "Clearly: We want to be in double digits," said party leader Frank Rinck on Friday evening. Rinck criticized "a failed policy, which is not for the benefit but to the detriment of the population", especially with regard to energy, economic and health issues. It is important to take people's concerns more seriously.