Scholz is celebrating his two-year anniversary as Chancellor with his popularity on the podium

The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) opened its regular federal party conference in Berlin this Friday, at the same time as the eVThe second anniversary of the signing of the coalition agreement with the Greens and FDP Liberals and with the publication of a survey on public television ARD that plunges the Chancellor to an all-time low in trust. Only 17% of Germans are satisfied with the work of the cabinet And what’s even worse: Only just under 20 percent support Olaf Scholz’s work, which is the worst figure for a chancellor since this survey began in 1997.

With these figures, the Chancellor faces a congress full of doubts and with the only certainty that the budget plans for 2024, which are being hotly debated within the coalition, can no longer be passed by Parliament before the end of the year. A new setback for the Social Democratic leader, which does not bode well for the party leadership, but has given wings to the opposition led by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to put pressure on the Chancellor and even demand that he raise a vote of confidence from the Bundestag . “We need honesty now, because this country cannot afford to continue like this for two years,” said CDU General Secretary Carsten Linnemannin an interview with ZDF.

In the same program, the General Secretary of the SPD said: Kevin Kuhnert, assured that Scholz enjoyed the trust of all parts of the coalition government and that new elections would only bring more uncertainty to the country. “Scholz is trying as best he can and with great commitment to hold this government together and to continually reach compromises,” said Kühnert before the start of the congress.

The Chancellor will have to take note of what happened this weekend. For now and as planned Lars Klingbeil and Saskia Esken You were re-elected as chairwoman of the SPD for two more years. After the election, both politicians called for a reform of the debt brake in order to be able to make the necessary investments. “We cannot finance large generational tasks with the budget,” said Esken. With a view to the demands of the Union and FDP, Klingbeil opposed “putting an ax to the welfare state”.

The debt brake has become a risk to prosperity, said Klingbeil. “While others are pushing the turbo into the future, we in Germany are putting on the handbrake,” he added, referring to the billion-dollar investments from the USA, China, India and South Korea. “Our country is an economic giant, but we are shackling ourselves,” he said. Both top politicians also addressed a few words to opposition leader Friedrich Merz. The CDU leader embodies a neoliberal “economic policy of the 90s,” said Klingbeil. Esken criticized the CDU as “the most populist opposition of all time” and “in line with the AfD” against the coalition government.

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The SPD is at a low point in the polls. If elections were held now, they would only achieve something 14% of the vote, compared to 25.7% in 2021. Data that will become even more dramatic with European elections, three state elections in East Germany and several local elections due next year, the unrest in the party is palpable. While the dual leadership of the SPD saw their task in the first two years of their term in office as supporting the first female chancellor in 16 years in the difficult three-way alliance with the Greens and the FDP, the signs now point to a higher profile. The crushing election defeats in Hesse and Bavaria, dissatisfaction with immigration policy and, most recently, the budget crisis are causing a lot of quarrels in the party.

Meanwhile, the crisis in which the coalition government finds itself can be seen in the background. As the news program “Tagesschau” on German public television says, there is no better fact that can better summarize the difficulties of this alliance than the absence of the Federal Minister of Economics and environmentalist Robert Habeck at the important world climate conference. in Dubai because he is needed as Vice Chancellor in small groups in Berlin.

The three-way alliance between him, Olaf Scholz and the finance minister met in the German capital, Christian LindnerHe has to laboriously agree on the budget for 2024 in regular rounds. If he doesn’t succeed, things will be difficult for the German government coalition, and in some places it is even assured that this could be the breaking point. “It is difficult, but doable,” say government circles.

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