Praise from the Chancellor, criticism from the opposition: the reactions to the announcement by Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser that she wants to stand as the SPD's top candidate in the state elections in Hesse have been mixed.
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. Today the politician will explain herself publicly at a meeting of the state party in Friedewald in East Hesse.
"Yes, I am running"
Faeser announced her top candidacy yesterday. "Yes, I am running," she wrote in a letter to her staff at the ministry. The 52-year-old declared that she wanted to keep her position as Federal Minister of the Interior for the time being. Even in the event of an election defeat in Hesse, she wants to remain in the federal cabinet.
Scholz said at a question and answer session with citizens in Marburg: "I can say about Nancy Faeser, who I know is a very, very conscientious woman: she will do everything every day for the task she has." Faeser is "a highly professional, great minister who does a great job."
SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert was optimistic about their chances in the election. "With the mixture of local down-to-earthness and federal political experience, she has the best chance of giving Hessen new impetus as Prime Minister," he told the RTL/ntv broadcasters. Faeser is by far Hesse's best-known face and her candidacy is therefore logical.
Faeser: democratic matter of course
Faeser emphasized when announcing her decision that it is a democratic matter of course that incumbents stand in elections. "I handle it just like Olaf Scholz and Armin Laschet in the federal election campaign, like Angela Merkel in many previous election campaigns and like all prime ministers who are running for elections this year," said Faeser.
The Association of German Criminal Investigators reported no objections to the candidacy. "I think Ms. Faeser is a very capable interior minister," said Dirk Peglow, chairman of the editorial network Germany (RND). "And there have already been other constellations in which politicians have stood for elections without giving up their office." He couldn't understand the excitement.
Opposition to "part-time minister"
Criticism, on the other hand, rained down from the political competition. The domestic spokesman for the Union faction in the Bundestag, Alexander Throm (CDU), accused Faeser of breaking her oath of office. "Nancy Faeser does not live up to the oath that she swore to the German people as Minister of the Interior. From now on there is an election campaign," he told the Bayern media group. The office does not tolerate a "part-time minister".
The North Rhine-Westphalian Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) said that a state election campaign costs a lot of energy and time that Faeser cannot muster in her office. "At the same time, the Federal Ministry of the Interior must not become a PR machine for Nancy Faeser's political ambitions in Hesse."
The Parliamentary Secretary of the Greens parliamentary group, Irene Mihalic, was also skeptical. "The Federal Ministry of the Interior is one of the largest houses in the federal government and needs our full attention," she told RND.
At today's Hessen summit, a public statement by the party on the top candidate is planned. The Prime Ministers of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, Malu Dreyer and Anke Rehlinger (both SPD), are also expected as guests at the meeting on Friday. On the following day, the Hessian Social Democrats want to discuss their priorities for the state election campaign behind closed doors.