“Laschet was very satisfied”: The winner of the election Haseloff does not want to be influenced

“Laschet was very satisfied”
Election winner Haseloff does not want to be talked into

Reiner Haseloff actually wanted to retire after two terms in office. But now the man, whom his wife describes as a “thoroughbred politician, always electrified”, is hanging on for another five years. Haseloff made a clear statement to the federal CDU. She is still enthusiastic.

The evening’s commentators agreed on one thing, regardless of which party they came from: the clear winner is Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff of the CDU. His North Rhine-Westphalian counterpart, CDU boss Armin Laschet, also won a little. Because the state elections in Saxony-Anhalt show: The fact that Laschet prevailed as the Union’s candidate for chancellor may not have been of use to the Union on the Elbe and Saale. But it did not prevent the election victory either.

Laschet should have been correspondingly happy. He had already congratulated “and was very satisfied,” said Haseloff shortly after the polling stations closed on ntv.

The 67-year-old actually wanted to resign after his second term in office. But in the fall of last year he decided to run again. Haseloff, who always seemed a bit staid, is now being celebrated by his party. “Sensationally good” was the election result, said CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak. Haseloff’s friend Friedrich Merz said on ntv that he was delighted. “I wouldn’t have dared hope that it would turn out so well.”

In the dispute over the candidacy for chancellor, Haseloff – unlike Merz – did not support Laschet, but the CSU chairman Markus Söder. “It’s not about personal sympathy, trust or character traits,” he told “Spiegel” in April. “It doesn’t help if, according to the general opinion, someone is absolutely capable of being chancellor, but does not achieve this office because the voters won’t let him.” Söder returned the favor on the evening of the election with a congratulation in which he wrote that this was “a very personal success for Reiner Haseloff”.

Sharp criticism of the federal emergency brake

Laschet or the general election did not mention Söder. The Union could not have wished for a better submission for the last mood test before the election in September. Haseloff’s message to Laschet and Söder that evening was clear. “If the Union stands together, it will win, and then we can also appoint a Chancellor in the future,” he said at ntv.

Despite his rather inconspicuous manner, Haseloff is well received in Saxony-Anhalt. In the Corona crisis, the doctor of physics presented himself as a doer with his own “Saxony-Anhalt way”. In the Forsa ranking of the most popular prime ministers in March, it only reached 12th place, but it increased by 23 percentage points compared to the last Forsa ranking in July 2019 – only Söder achieved this value, with all others the increase was lower.

Haseloff’s criticism of the federal emergency brake, which he described as the “low point in the federal culture of the Federal Republic of Germany”, was sharp. A week before the election he told “Welt am Sonntag” that this law had “unintentionally played into the hands of right-wing extremists”. Conversely, the success of the AfD in at least some surveys may also have contributed to the CDU’s account: the SPD, the Greens and the Left justified their performance with the fact that many voters wanted to prevent the AfD from becoming the strongest force.

Haseloff has been at the head of the state government since 2011, initially in a coalition with the SPD, and since 2016 in the “Kenya” triad of the CDU, SPD and the Greens. Like Merkel, he has a doctorate in physics. Even if he doesn’t seem like that: his wife describes him as a “thoroughbred politician, always energized”. In autumn Haseloff took over the presidency of the Federal Council, which he clearly enjoys, and in January rose to the CDU Federal Presidium for the first time.

At 72, it should finally be over

He himself has visibly had fewer difficulties with the Greens than large parts of his party in the past five years. Haseloff worked in environmental research during the GDR era. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the father of two and grandfather of several times started his political career at the municipal level. Until 2002 he was director of the employment office in Wittenberg before he moved to Magdeburg as State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Four years later, the Catholic moved to the top of the ministry and in 2011 to the State Chancellery.

Haseloff did not reveal on the evening of the election who he wants to continue to rule with. He has the choice between the SPD of top candidate Katja Pähle, the FDP of Lydia Hüsken and the Greens of Cornelia Lüddemann. One of the three will have to go into opposition. Haseloff made it clear on election evening that he does not want the federal CDU to influence this decision. “What will not happen is that we allow ourselves to be instrumentalized in the constellation by federal policy guidelines,” he said in the ARD.

For the federal CDU it should be bearable, for them another signal is more important anyway. “It is the CDU’s biggest win since the CDU’s great election victory in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2017,” said CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak. Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus, an East Westphalian, said almost word for word: “That is the biggest increase that we have had since the NRW election in 2017.” The message should be: With Laschet, the CDU wins elections. “It shows that the CDU’s decision to nominate him as the CDU / CSU’s candidate for chancellor for the federal elections was the right one,” emphasized Merz.

When selecting the coalition partner, Haseloff would rather be of secondary importance with whom there are the most points of intersection: Haseloff largely kept to himself during the election campaign what content he argues for. His only declared electoral goal was to continue to rule stably from the center. In the upcoming talks, the power politician Haseloff is likely to be looking primarily for the constellation that is most likely to last the full five years of the legislative period. Then, at the age of 72, it really should be over.