Scholz endures Laschet barbecue in German election debate

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German political update

Olaf Scholz, the leader of the German election campaign, was slammed during the second televised candidate debate The raid on the Ministry of Finance last week In Berlin, his conservative rival Armin Laschet accused him of gross negligence in financial supervision.

The center-right CDU/CSU candidate Rashet said: “Even in this case, the prosecutor comes to your department and conducts a search there, you can try to cover up the whole thing. This is a miracle. ”

The often grumpy 90-minute discussion between Raschelt and Schultz of the center-left Social Democratic Party and Annalena Belbok of the Green Party was held two weeks before the election. The election will determine who succeeds Angela. Merkel served as Chancellor of Germany.

The debate was broadcast on the two major public broadcasters in Germany, ARD and ZDF, on Sunday night. It was a moment of success or failure for Raschelt. He was under tremendous pressure. Stop his party’s ruthless decline in the polls And to prevent the steady rise of German Finance Minister and Deputy Chancellor Schultz.

Public opinion polls on Sunday showed that Scholz’s Social Democrats’ support rate was 26%, while the CDU/CSU’s support rate was 21%. The Green Party accounted for 16%, and the pro-business Liberal Democrats accounted for 12%.

But early signs indicate that Raschelt’s combative performance may not be enough to reverse the balance and prevent the decline of conservatives. According to a quick poll conducted by ZDF, 32% of people think Scholz is the best performer in the debate, 26% support Baerbock, and only 20% support Laschet.

German prosecutors raided the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice last week as part of an investigation into the alleged obstruction of justice by the financial intelligence agency of Germany’s main anti-money laundering agency.

Schultz said the investigation has nothing to do with his department, they are just seeking information to help them conduct the investigation. He said that during his tenure, the Financial Intelligence Unit has undergone reforms and its capabilities have been greatly enhanced.

But Laschet said that because Scholz is responsible for overseeing the FIU, he is ultimately responsible for the agency’s problems. “You have supervision over money laundering,” he said. He added that Scholz criticized last week’s raid as “inappropriate”, saying that “populists in other countries did just that.”

Raschelt also attacked the Minister of Finance over fraud by digital payment companies Line card, The German financial regulator BaFin failed to discover this.

“Your actions have caused financial supervision to fail,” he said. “If my finance minister did the kind of work you did, we would have serious problems.”

In frequently irritable exchanges, Schultz accused Raschelt of being “dishonest”, saying that he “deliberately created a false impression” that the prosecutor’s ongoing investigation was directed at his Treasury Department, not the financial intelligence agency.

He also insisted that he drew the correct conclusion from the Wirecard incident and strengthened Germany’s financial supervision system, forcing the company to change auditors more frequently and separating auditing from consulting services.

The three candidates were asked about their position on compulsory vaccination and whether employees should be forced to undergo regular coronavirus tests.

They were also asked what were the main lessons of the pandemic. Raschelt said that Europe must be able to produce its own masks and other personal protective equipment, instead of relying on imports from other parts of the world; Balbok called for the establishment of a “crisis committee” in the prime minister’s office to deal with public health emergencies; Schultz Call for improvement of national health services.

All three agreed that Germany needs to be carbon neutral by at least 2045, although they are divided on how to achieve this goal. Belbok went further and insisted that Germany stop using coal for power generation before the 2038 deadline agreed by the Merkel government and phase out gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Although they are often different, there is a clear confluence between Scholz and Baerbock. Both parties hope to raise the minimum wage, end the two-tier medical insurance system, ensure a stable pension and levy a wealth tax.

Raschelt cited the “fundamental difference” between him and others-he strongly opposed tax increases. He said that the past few years have shown that “even if we do not increase taxes, the country will get more revenue.”

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