Ralph Brinkhaus taps the desk so hard with his right index finger that it can be heard from the top of the stand. The man has anger in his stomach, the group leader of the Union takes on someone he sees on the wrong track, who could have ruled but did not want to.
“Unworthy, your predecessors would have been ashamed,” Brinkhaus shouts in the direction of FDP chairman Christian Lindner. It is a day in the Bundestag that gives a taste of an uncomfortable autumn.
Lindner had previously painted the picture of a disfigured democracy, a chancellor who, together with the prime minister, took very far-reaching decisions on his own, bypassed parliament and took corona measures that were completely disproportionate. No one knows how this experiment will end, what economic damage it will cause – and whether support for Merkel’s path is as strong as it was at the start of the pandemic. In any case, the dispute over the path is intensifying, and many state chancellors are also receiving letters of protest from the affected pubs, artists and restaurateurs.
“The German Bundestag can only take note of the decision retroactively,” Lindner criticizes the federal state’s decision for a “breakwater” starting next Monday. Chancellor, you say that debate strengthens democracy. For this, the debate must take place here before the decision is made. “
The restrictions are largely unnecessary and unfair for the people affected, especially for restaurateurs who have invested heavily in hygiene concepts. People wanted to work, the state could not permanently fund the “standstill”. That was actionist crisis management, what came next, house searches so that fewer people could become infected in private? “That must be the final closing.”
AfD faction leader Alexander Gauland claims: The “number of infection bombings” is intended to promote fear. “Fear is bad … Photo: Tobias Schwarz / AFP
Lindner gets a lot of applause from his own people, and from another faction: the AfD. The day in the German Bundestag after the Corona resolutions shows: the gap is widening between the supporters of a new partial lockdown and the doubters.
‘The Lindner is looking for his subject’, etched one from the North Rhine-Westphalian government apparatus. Because there, as part of the state government, the FDP backed the resolutions of the federal corona summit in a morning phone call even before Chancellor Angela Merkel’s (CDU) government statement.
By telephone, because Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) is in Berlin, he sits with the Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) at the Bundesratsbank for the plenum. It is a signal: we decided together and unanimously yesterday that there is no “Corona dictatorship”, as AfD group chairman Alexander Gauland put it.
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He thinks Germany has achieved its freedom with too much difficulty “to hand it over to the wardrobe of an emergency cupboard”. He makes a somewhat unusual comparison: “There is a simple solution to reduce the number of road deaths to zero: you do away with street worship.”
You must accept deaths, including from Corona. The “number of infection bombings” should promote fear. “Fear is a bad advisor.” In the refugee crisis, however, it was exactly the other way around: the AfD fueled the fear of migrants and refugees.
Gauland cites controversial constitutional lawyer Carl Schmitt, who wrote: “Whoever decides the state of emergency is sovereign.” Gauland zu Merkel: “May I remind you that the sovereign is the German people, represented by the German Bundestag.”
He and Lindner are reminded time and again that the resolutions are mainly implemented at the state level, by cabinets and parliaments. In Schleswig-Holstein, Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, the liberals sit at the government table.
“I am proud of this country and I am proud of what is being done here,” said Union party leader Brinkhaus. “We are fighting this pandemic.” Together he points to Laschet, who is actually okay with Lindner. A lot is expected from the people, but it also yields billions in aid, according to Brinkhaus. In addition, there is a separation of powers in this country, the implementation of many resolutions is up to the countries, this has been arranged so far. “I can’t say, Dear Covid-19, take a break, we need to fine-tune our relations between the federal state first.”
And CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt later peppers something very unpleasant for Lindner: because the mayor of Landshut (Bavaria), Alexander Putz, announced his departure from the FDP on Wednesday: he will continue as a non-party mayor – because of Lindner. His course is incompatible with his beliefs and his actions on the ground.
Christian Lindner, party leader and party leader of the FDP, speaks with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) Photo: Kay Nietfeld / dpa
According to him, the current line of the FDP “reinforces the divisions in the population, which are currently increasing,” he told the “Passauer Neue Presse”. The attempt to make political capital out of doubts about the Corona measures is not responsible political action for him in this historic crisis. “My claim to ‘my FDP’ is and always has been different.”
It’s a no less difficult day for Angela Merkel than it is for Lindner. At first, she doesn’t take off her FFP2 mask from her seat on the government bench. Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) and Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD) do.
On that day, Scholz reads files almost exclusively. While it affected financial support for the self-employed and industries affected by the recent lockdown, the details were long negotiated. In addition, the help of up to 75 percent of the previous year’s sales must be offset by allowances for short-time work and other assistance. People’s livelihoods must not be endangered, Prime Minister Dreyer warns in the Bundestag of Rhineland-Palatinate, also to her party friend Scholz. She assumes that “everyone keeps their word and we have this help immediately. We need solidarity from everyone. “
[„Wir befinden uns nicht im Ausnahmezustand“, sagt der Verfassungsrechtler Oliver Lepsius. Lesen Sie hier ein Gespräch über die Rechtmäßigkeit der deutschen Corona-Politik.]
Merkel’s government statement, on the other hand, is primarily intended to defend the resolutions, evoke a “dramatic situation” and a tremendous dynamic in the number of infections and intensive care patients. The virus affects everyone without exception. “We have done everything we can to keep nurseries and schools open.”
That gives a lot of applause. She also understands the frustration, the despair in the rooms that will be closed for four weeks, but the hygiene concepts are not free and will be needed even more after that.
Soothing wishful thinking and populist trivialization would not only be unrealistic. It would be irresponsible, ” she told the AfD. “Lies and disinformation, conspiracies and hatred are not only harming the democratic debate, but also the fight against the virus.” The measures taking effect on Monday are “appropriate, necessary and proportionate. If we, dear colleagues, were to wait until the intensive care units were full, it would be too late. ‘
But almost from the start, there were troubling screams from the ranks of the AfD. Merkel takes breaks over and over, ignores the hostility and shouts like “We are parliament”. Someone from the SPD faction shouts: “Shut up.”
After a five-minute government statement, the president of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) becomes too colorful. “Wait a minute”, he takes the floor. The country and all of Europe are in an extremely difficult situation. Schäuble also received loud comments from AfD MPs. “If you interrupt the president, you immediately get phone calls to order, that’s dangerous.” Then there is a little more rest.
Merkel has had a harder time getting through with her calls, which is why she uses a special trick at the very end of her government statement. To help people understand why these measures should be taken, she quotes science journalist Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim from a television interview that she, Merkel, could never express so clearly, while “describing my deep conviction.”
That’s why she wanted to include it here now, it was about the virus invasion, if it could think, and so Merkel quotes, “I’ve got the perfect host here. These people, who live all over the planet, who are connected worldwide, are social beings who cannot live without social contact. They are hedonistic, like to go out to party, so it couldn’t be better ”.
And she went on to say, “Not a virus, have you not learned at all from human evolution? We’ve shown several times that we’re damn good at adapting to difficult situations. We will show you that you chose the wrong host. “
Merkel emphasizes that this is exactly what it’s all about, people have already overcome many major crises. Everyone can now actively help survive this phase – and ultimately save lives. “Actively contributing: in this case that means without any contact that is not absolutely necessary.”