These days, the fate of Horst Seehofer decides. Should he say goodbye as CSU chief, he would have to reinvent himself as interior minister. It is not excluded.
It sounded like a matter of course: If everything is newly regulated in Bavaria and the government stands, if Manfred Weber, the European among the Christian socials, is named the new EVP top candidate, then it will be time for Horst Seehofer to say goodbye ,
This concerns the CSU chairmanship – after the worst election result for the party in Bavaria for seventy years. And it applied to the post of Federal Interior Minister, after Seehofer's work in Berlin in recent months for coalition and society was experienced as particularly divisive and conflictual.
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From the state parliament of Ingrid Fuchs
And yet nothing is sealed. Anyone who has noticed Seehofer's strict denial when the weekly Die Zeit speculated that he would soon resign, could feel how much his resistance forces are still working.
So what happens if the 69-year-old does not want to stop? Should he cling to the CSU chairmanship, he faces the overthrow of a special party convention – or a disappearance in installments, powerless in the committees, increasingly lonely at the party congresses. And if the party next year then determines a new boss, the once successful Prime Minister will not have a say.
But in Berlin, where the Federal Ministry of the Interior is concerned, things are different. There Seehofer could try to stay in office to do everything differently in the future. Any other way would be doomed to failure. If Seehofer wants to get a last chance, he has to start over.
For him, of all things, confrontation should become cooperation, exclusion integration and aggression empathy. That sounds crazy to impossible – and is not completely excluded.
Cooperation instead of confrontation
He would have to remember his first words. When the coalition agreement was concluded, Seehofer declared with the tone of the chest that he was proud to be a member of this coalition. Namely, he will make sure that this coalition will become a grand coalition for the little people. It was not a bad message after this election result.
Seehofer returned for a moment to the role that he used especially at the beginning of his career: the politician, who came from a small scale, wanted to be a helper for those who do not have it easy, do not immediately come to the best school Living in low-income regions, feeling rather detached from many young dynamic people.
It was a good approach. And if, on the second day of his term of office, Seehofer had begun to understand himself as minister for improving the country's internal constitution, who knows where he would have arrived today?
Especially since this was the central message that should be expressed in the "we-understood-understood" of the government. They wanted to take care of each other, together. That would not be an impossible undertaking. But it would have required to show outwardly empathy for the people and to talk well about each other inside.
Integration instead of exclusion
Which would be the most construction site for Seehofer. A wise interior minister would have to tackle the undeniable problems of receiving and integrating immigrants and refugees in a centralized way: he should not talk about exclusion like the AfD, but should have an integrating effect.
The true problems are not between Muslims and non-Muslims; they are also not between ethnic Germans and migrants. They are between those who commit crimes and use violence – and all others who reject it. This gap, the disgust, the horror of it all feel the most. And they do not want to get stuck in a drawer with the perpetrators.
This does not mean that nothing is done against asylum-seeking repeat offenders; and it certainly does not mean releasing violent criminals among asylum seekers without punishment. It only means that it will not turn it into a debate between residents and foreigners, between Germans and war refugees, between Christians, Jews and Muslims. Even if others secretly strive for exactly these dividing lines.
Sharp laws against intensive offenders – this is not a battle against Muslims or foreigners, but a defense of liberality and fundamental rights against those who trample on this liberality. Positioning yourself as Minister of the Interior in this way is not impossible, but sorely needed. In case of doubt, it also demands that you prevail against the hardliners in your own ministry.
Empathy instead of aggression
Seehofer could have been a strong minister right from the start, committed to harmonizing living conditions and traveling across the country from day one to see, hear and feel how people are. What the Federal President has been doing for weeks should have made the Office of the Interior Minister even better.
Statistics alone will never tell him how the people in Palatinate or Lusatia feel. It was only listening, seeing, and letting oneself be directly told that Seehofer would have given the impression he needed in order to fight the AfD wisely and not to endorse right, aggressive words.
Seehofer gives the impression that he is shying away from this encounter. As if beyond the Bavarian borders he had grasped a distance to the people one would not have thought possible with him earlier.
If he really wants to stay in office in Berlin, if he wants to do something positive in this office from now on, he has to reinvent himself. He could look for the old Horst Seehofer and find it. No one can say if he can do it. Probably not even himself.
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