The Hessian SPD has appointed Interior Minister Nancy Faeser as its top candidate for the state election campaign. The party committees at the SPD Hesse summit in Friedewald in East Hesse unanimously voted in favor of this on Friday, as Faeser said. "I'm very glad about that".
She had already made her intention public in Berlin the day before that she wanted to become the first woman prime minister in her home state. At the planned party conference of the Hessian SPD on June 17 in Hanau, only the state list has to be drawn up. A new state parliament in Hesse is to be elected on October 8th.
Faeser moved from state politics to the cabinet of the traffic light coalition in Berlin as Federal Minister of the Interior at the end of 2021. The 52-year-old is the first woman in the history of the Federal Republic to head the authority. She would like to keep the position for the time being.
Faeser: "For me, Hessen is a matter close to my heart"
The social democrat emphasized that she was deeply rooted in Hesse, had been involved in local politics for 30 years and was a member of the Hessian state parliament for 18 years. "For me, Hessen is a matter close to my heart." The country is her home, this is where she has her roots. Her goal is to make the federal state more modern, stronger and more social. "That's why I'm competing."
After 25 years of CDU government, Hesse needs a breath of fresh air. "Just as I am the first woman to hold the position of Federal Minister of the Interior, I would like to be the first woman to head the Hessian state government. I am running to win," explained the 52-year-old. You don't do politics from your desk, but go where the people are.
Before the trained lawyer switched to the federal government, Faeser led the SPD parliamentary group in the Hessian state parliament. The married mother of a son has been SPD state chairman in Hesse since 2019.
The Social Democrats have been in opposition in the Hessian state parliament since 1999. The last SPD prime minister in Hesse was Hans Eichel. His red-green government was replaced in 1999 by a CDU/FDP coalition led by Prime Minister Roland Koch (CDU).
Hesse's Prime Minister Boris Rhein has already announced that he wants to campaign as the CDU's top candidate. Economics Minister Tarek Al-Wazir made his ambitions for the top candidate public for the Greens. The CDU and the Greens, which have formed a government coalition in Hesse since 2014, are the SPD's main competitors in the political contest for a place in the state chancellery.
praise and criticism
As expected, the fact that Faeser wants to remain Minister of the Interior despite the top candidate met with a mixed response. While Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) was certain that his minister's work would not be affected, politicians from other parties criticized Faeser's new dual role.
Faeser said on Friday in Friedewald that it was a democratic matter of course to run for office. You have Scholz's full backing for this. In addition, now is not the time for election campaigns in Hesse, so in the coming weeks and months she will concentrate fully on the office of Federal Minister of the Interior.
But the state will always take precedence, emphasized the Hessian SPD top candidate. She will always be there if something happens, if people are injured in events. She will not duck away, but will take responsibility. "The Hessians know that they can rely on me one hundred percent. What I do, I do with passion."
The Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer and her Saarland counterpart Anke Rehlinger (both SPD) were guests at the Hesse summit of the SPD. Dreyer praised Faeser as a consistent and "incredibly clear woman". "She has a clear compass," said Dreyer about the now nominated top candidate. Prime Minister Rehlinger called Faeser an extremely competent and warm-hearted top politician.
Dreyer and Rehlinger strictly rejected criticism from other parties of the future dual role. They both left offices for the election campaign, Dreyer as the incumbent Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate and Rehlinger as Economics Minister in Saarland.
There was also an AfD event in Friedewald in the evening with around 100 participants, according to the police. Among the speakers was the Thuringian AfD boss Björn Höcke.