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Minister of the Interior on call? : Nancy Faeser’s heart for Hessen creates problems for Scholz

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It won’t be long before there will be clarity about Nancy Faeser’s political future. In two months, on February 3, your SPD state association wants to officially announce at a “Hesse summit” who will lead the Social Democrats in the state elections in the fall.

According to the Hessian comrades, the committees should make a decision in mid or late January. There are already increasing signs that the Federal Minister of the Interior feels more committed to her position as state chair and could take office – which embarrasses Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his cabinet just around the coalition’s first birthday.

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Christine Lambrecht, her colleague from the defense department, had already prophesied in the spring that Faeser would become the “first woman prime minister” of her home state. Faeser felt compelled to publicly declare that she did not want to give up her current position. The new personnel debate has now triggered party leader Saskia Esken.

The Hessian comrades are counting on her

Or was it already an application for the successor? “It’s definitely an exciting task,” said SPD leader Saskia Esken this week in the Tagesspiegel newsletter “Background Digitization and Artificial Intelligence” when asked if she would actually like to be Minister of the Interior.

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Shortly before, new facts had become known that make a candidacy of the most prominent Hessian social democrat even more likely. The board of the Hesse SPD has just passed an election campaign concept in which internal security plays the central role. “This is tailored to Nancy Faeser as Minister of the Interior,” said a Social Democrat of the “FAZ”. In Faeser’s national association, it is firmly expected that she will compete, as the daily mirror has confirmed.

Also in the CDU of Prime Minister Boris Rhein, which would take Faeser’s candidacy “very seriously”, they see “at least since the picture with Faeser in front of the ski jump, indications that she is running”. In November, the minister herself announced on site that the federal winter sports base in Willingen would remain under the direction of the Hessian ski association. “My heart is in Hesse,” Faeser said in May

The competition offers the hanging game ammunition. Thorsten Frei (CDU) teased that Faeser had to “get the impression out of the world that her party had specifically promoted her to the federal level in order to have a better starting position for the Hessian election campaign”. The current crises, according to the parliamentary secretary of the Union faction in the Bundestag, require their “full and unrestricted attention”.

The challenges of domestic politics and the security of our country demand the Minister’s full attention.

Thorsten FreiCDU politician

Now the SPD leadership and chancellor’s office have to ask themselves whether Faeser can adequately devote himself to the many refugees from Ukraine, for example, if she stays in office until the election or, in the event of a defeat, even beyond. Scholz, who appreciates Faeser, can well imagine that – he aspired from the finance department to the chancellery.

Eva Högl, the Bundestag’s military commissioner and former domestic politician, is already considered a conceivable successor.
© IMAGO/Chris Emil Janssen

The parliamentary group, on the other hand, has said that the government must not be affected, which is why the announcement of Faeser’s candidacy also includes clarity on cabinet issues – with the immediate resignation of the minister or a fixed date as early as possible.

Norbert Röttgen as a deterrent example

Norbert Röttgen’s unfortunate actions are still widely present. As the CDU’s top candidate for the 2012 North Rhine-Westphalia elections, the Federal Environment Minister at the time did not want to guarantee that he would also come to Düsseldorf as the leader of the opposition. His credibility suffered. Röttgen lost the election, after which Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) also took over the ministerial post.

However, the deterrent example does not mean that Faeser would necessarily act differently. In the polls for Hesse, a change of power is still a long way off, and some Social Democrats also believe that the “black Greens” are not interested in a new coalition partner.

In the event of a resignation in Berlin, a reprieve in the cabinet was long considered likely: Lawyer Lambrecht, who was unsuccessful in the defense department in the opinion of many, could then move to the Ministry of the Interior, who in turn could be replaced by the military expert and defense commissioner Eva Högl (also SPD). It was said for a long time, but it was only this week that Lambrecht “absolutely” ruled out that she would be in charge of the interior department in an interview with the “FAZ”.

This could raise the question of a successor for Faeser in the Ministry of the Interior. Her colleague Boris Pistorius from Lower Saxony is considered capable, but as a man he is given few chances because of the quota.

According to the SPD, the lawyer and former domestic politician Högl would have the opportunity to succeed Faeser rather than Esken. But even members of the Bundestag do not have reliable information. One of them says about the personnel plans of Scholz and the SPD leadership: “They play it very tightly.”

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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