New Defense Minister Pistorius: SPD is silent on tilted parity


With Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, the gender balance in the Federal Cabinet is passé. The SPD deputies can’t think of much.

SPD parliamentary group

The SPD parliamentary group after the federal elections in September 2021 Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa/picture alliance

BERLIN taz | How do you react when you break your campaign promise to fill at least half of the federal government with women? printing At least the SPD has opted for this option.

With the Appointment of Boris Pistorius as Defense Minister and successor to Christine Lambrecht parity in government is passé, it is now ten (men) to seven (women). Olaf Scholz, who once promised otherwise, has not yet commented on this collateral damage to Pistorius’ personality and, according to participants, did not address the topic in the parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday afternoon either.

The Berlin comrade Annika Klose was the only one of the 206 elected SPD deputies to speak at the meeting on this item on the agenda. “Parity in the cabinet must be restored at the earliest opportunity,” Klose told the taz. This is not a criticism of Pistorius’ person, but a fundamental requirement. She also received clear applause for this in the parliamentary group.

Her criticism would probably have been sharper if it hadn’t been said from faction circles that at least one woman had been asked for the post of defense minister. But this has been cancelled.

SPD women suddenly subdued

But Klose was not told who that was. It could have been the military commissioner Eva Högl, who was considered a possible favorite to succeed Lambrecht. Her spokeswoman declined to comment. Högl himself also remained tight-lipped on the subject. Commenting on parity is not her job as a military commissioner, she told ZDF. She is happy about the decision for Pistorius, he is suitable for the office. Gender does not play the decisive role.

When asked on Wednesday, the parliamentary director of the SPD parliamentary group, Katja Mast, emphasized that “parity remains a central issue for the SPD and will always play a role in personnel issues.” But how central is the equal representation of women in the government actually when the principle thrown overboard at the first opportunity? And critical voices hardly ever get loud?

For example, Juso chairwoman Jessica Rosenthal did not want to comment on the subject when asked by the ARD morning magazine. The chairwoman of the working group of social democratic women, Maria Noichl, did not respond to a request from the taz on Tuesday and also rejected further media inquiries on Wednesday.

The SPD women had recently leaned out of the window: “Fifty-fifty must continue to apply. That’s what the SPD stands for,” Noichl had demanded a few hours before the new defense minister was announced. She later wrote on Twitter that she respected Pistorius’ decision. And, like Klose, demands that there should be a parity government again at the next opportunity.

Kubicki rejoices

But such an opportunity is a long way off. To do this, Scholz would have to dismiss one of the male SPD ministers – Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil, Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach, or Minister of the Chancellery Wolfgang Schmidt. All extremely unlikely.

Mast defends the SPD’s evasive strategy. Parity is an important, but only one aspect of equality, stressed the Parliamentary Secretary on Wednesday. And refers to social democratic successes – from the introduction of women’s suffrage to the reduction of poverty in old age by means of basic pensions.

However, Mast and Klose also see the coalition partners as having an obligation to fill posts equally, specifically the FDP, which has filled three out of four ministerial posts with men. “Parity is not just a task for the SPD,” says Klose.

But whether it will be possible to convince the FDP of this goal is questionable. The deputy FDP chairman, Wolfgang Kubicki, has already exulted: “Thank God the SPD has said goodbye to the nonsense of filling positions by gender or regional proportional representation rather than by competence.”

Criticism, on the other hand, comes from the Greens, from the Left Party and, of all people, from CSU boss Markus Söder. On the sidelines of the CSU retreat, he praised the military commissioner Högl as an experienced connoisseur of the troops and said: “It is clear that the topic of parity is ticked off for the traffic light.” For Söder, the topic has been ticked off for a long time, in his government there are now four ( women ministers) to ten (ministers).

The SPD parliamentary group had more controversial things to discuss on Tuesday. The electoral reform. A bill of traffic lights looks first the downsizing of the Bundestag Before. In a second step, equal representation of lists could then also be debated. Mast spoke out in favor of quoted election lists. “In the long term, we should also consider how we can achieve parity for direct mandates.” But such a proposal would probably meet with bitter resistance from the CDU and CSU.



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