State elections in Schleswig-Holstein 2022: The election day at a glance

Who are the top candidates?

Matthias Wysuwa

Political correspondent for northern Germany and Scandinavia based in Hamburg.

The currently most popular prime minister in Germany is up against an ex-Greens with an SPD party membership and a teacher with many years of cabinet experience: the CDU politician Daniel Gunther will face the voters for the second time in the state elections in Schleswig-Holstein this Sunday. He can count on a win against his competitors Thomas Losse-Müller (SPD) and Monika Heinold (Greens) hope. Günther is 48 years old and has been at the head of a Jamaica coalition with the Greens and FDP since 2017. Most recently, 74 percent of Schleswig-Holsteiners were satisfied or very satisfied with him and his work – a top value in the Federal Republic.

Günther has worked with Heinold, 63, in the cabinet for the past five years. She has been Minister of Finance since 2012, the first five years in a so-called coastal coalition led by Torsten Albig (SPD) with the Greens and the party of the Danish minority, the South Schleswig Voters’ Association (SSW). At that time, she brought Losse-Müller, who at the time was still a member of the Greens, into her ministry as State Secretary. In 2020 he switched to the Social Democrats, who surprisingly made him their top candidate in August. He justified his move to the SPD by saying that Brexit and the Trump election shocked him and that he wanted to work in a party that was still anchored in all parts of society and could organize social cohesion.

the FDP joins the current Economics and Transport Minister, 60-year-old Bernd Buchholz, after many years as the face of the party in the North, Wolfgang Kubicki. The AfD set up Jörg Nobiswho first led the AfD parliamentary group and then, after losing the parliamentary group status, the group of the remaining three AfD representatives in the state parliament.

What result can be expected?

More than 2.3 million eligible voters are called on Sunday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to cast their vote. The polls said Günthers CDU most recently 38 percent ahead, followed by the SPD (around 18 percent in the polls) and the Greens (around 16-18 percent in the polls) at a greater distance. The Greens caught up a bit in the last phase of the election campaign and could ultimately challenge the Social Democrats for second place. The FDP was in the polls at eight to nine percent, the AfD at six. You should be able to jump over the five percent hurdle. An exception to this is the SSW, a minority party that was at six percent in the polls shortly before the election.

The top candidates: Daniel Günther (CDU), Bernd Buchholz (FDP), Monika Heinold (Greens) and Thomas Losse-Müller (SPD) are together in the boxing ring at the end of April after the

The top candidates: Daniel Günther (CDU), Bernd Buchholz (FDP), Monika Heinold (Greens) and Thomas Losse-Müller (SPD) are together in the boxing ring at the end of April after the “political boxing” in the Nordmarkhalle.

Image: dpa

What issues dominated the election campaign?

The election campaign was overshadowed by the war in Ukraine and its consequences, for example for consumer prices. Another topic was the energy transition and the recently decided LNG terminal in Brunsbüttel. The Greens had clearly rejected it again at a party conference in February, and shortly before the election it accelerated Jamaica coalition anyway the approval process. Greens top candidate Heinold justified the decision by showing that one is taking responsibility in view of the changed situation caused by the war in Ukraine. During the election campaign, however, improvements in childcare and education, the rent cap that Jamaica has abolished and new concepts for better local public transport were also discussed. Schleswig-Holstein is known as the land of long distances, with diesel locomotives still running on many train routes.

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