Future of Federal Minister of the Interior Faeser: heart in Hesse, office in Berlin

The interior minister has a lot to do in the federal government. Hardly anyone in Hesse expects the SPD state leader to stand in the 2023 state elections.

Portrait of Nancy Faeser

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser Photo: Janine Schmitz/photothek/imago

WIESBADEN taz | The pressure on Nancy Faeser is currently coming from all sides. In the federal government, the interior minister and social democrat with her initiative to controversial data retention the traffic light partners of the Greens and FDP upset. And in Hesse, her party is waiting with growing impatience to see if and when the 52-year-old will declare herself the SPD's top candidate for the Hessian state elections.

This became tangible on Monday evening in the Wiesbaden City Palace. President of the Landtag Astrid Wallmann and Prime Minister Boris Rhein both CDU, invited to the parliamentary evening. After a long forced Corona break, the lightness made the rounds with the cool autumn air in the courtyard. An unusually large number of representatives from politics, business and the media attended. The need for discussion is great.

And a striking number of contributions revolved around the Federal Minister of the Interior in distant Berlin that evening. On the eve of the important ECJ decision, she had not come to Wiesbaden and skipped this mandatory appointment for the first time. Faeser is head of the Hesse SPD. Before she was promoted to Berlin, she was also the leader of the SPD state parliamentary group here and was considered a top candidate for next year's state elections.

“Will she come back or will she stay in Berlin?” was the question asked in many conversations that evening. And to anticipate the result of: In view of the many construction sites in Berlin, she will hardly be able to throw herself into the Hessian state election campaign with full force in the spring. "If I were her personal advisor, I would strongly advise her against it," says the taz, an old driver.

All power for the Ministry of the Interior?

In Berlin, she would at best still be Minister of the Interior on call, says another. How long would she be able to reconcile the Berlin office with the application in Hesse? ask state politicians from other political camps as well. She had fueled this herself when she called out to her jubilant comrades at a party conference in May: "My heart beats in Hesse!"

After almost 25 years of opposition, the SPD base celebrated this sentence as a hopeful announcement of a top candidate with a chance of victory. Since then, Faeser has been trying to dampen expectations. As acting sports minister, she is looking forward to the European Championships in 2024, she says. The final will kick off on July 14, almost a year after the Hessian state elections.

She recently reacted tight-lipped in Hanover on the sidelines of the conference of interior ministers and dismissed the question of whether she had decided on a possible candidacy in Hesse with a "No!". An acting Federal Minister of the Interior has already tried it once in Hesse. In 1995, Manfred Kanther ran for the CDU in the state elections. Things went wrong. The CDU got a good result, but the SPD and the Greens triumphed and saved their majority. Kanther remained Federal Minister of the Interior in Bonn, but only until the CDU/FDP federal government was voted out of office three years later.

A year before the next election in Hesse, five of the six state parliament parties have made their personnel decisions. For the CDU the new Prime Minister Boris Rhein takes office, the Greens send their deputy, Economics Minister Tarek Al-Wazir, into the race for the first time with the party's claim to lead the next government.

New favourite: Günter Rudolph

“Günter wants!” – given the political competition and the speculating comrades, the favorite for the SPD top candidate in Hesse that evening is Günter Rudolph, who as Faeser’s successor is already the leader of the state parliament. "That would be good for the ambitions of the Greens and bad for us," commented a CDU man from the front row.

"Many who might have voted for Nancy Faeser could then vote for the Greens," he fears the loss of power. "The self-respect of the CDU prohibits us from electing a green prime minister as a junior partner." And Nancy Faeser would be the wrong candidate for a green-red or traffic light government. Self-respect also prohibits you from playing as a junior partner of the Greens.

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