It’s claustrophobic in Potsdam outside Berlin, where two of the top three candidates in the election – Social Democrat Olaf Schultz and the Green Party Annalina Barbock – have their own constituency.
Hundreds of people flock to an unimportant suburban plaza, where Schulze recruits votes in the shadows of two tall buildings. A man sticks his head out of his window on the fifth floor, shouts something inaudible and raises his fist clenched. Schulz waves happily.
Police and journalists
Had it not been for the police and one or two international television teams, one would have thought it was a local politician and not the German Finance Minister and perhaps the next chancellor to speak.
Schulz’s SPD has been leading in opinion polls since August, and many have counted the main opponent, Armin Laschet, of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, who have so far failed to win over voters.
However, it is moving – a recent poll by the Allensbach opinion institute shows that only one percentage point now distinguishes between the two political giants. About four in ten Germans voted early this year, but there was still plenty of time to attract unsafe voters.
Health care is a matter of the heart
Anne, who does not want her last name in the newspaper, has not decided what she will vote for, but she hopes the SPD will be the bigger party.
– So that the next chancellor does not become a Christian Democrat, she said.
Its heart issues are climate, justice and healthcare issues, as SPD wants a system with joint health insurance rather than the many different health funds where some are private and some are public.
Ann, who herself works for a health insurance fund, agrees.
Even if it means I’m getting rid of the job, she said.
Russian Jana, a student at the University of Potsdam, thinks the message was good. This is the second time she’s seen Schultz during the election campaign.
– I would certainly have voted for him if I had been German, she says.
“Nice to see”
Her company Fritz, who does not want to be in the picture, believes that most of the people who have already come here already sympathize with Schulze, but they want to strengthen their convictions.
– He says it’s fun to see him.
Polling stations open at 8 am on Sunday.
Fact: Olaf Schultz
Olaf Schulz is Minister of Finance and Deputy Chancellor of the Government of Angela Merkel and the candidate of chancellor for the Social Democratic Party in the federal elections.
Born 1958 in Osnabrück.
Lawyer since 1985.
In 1998, Schulz was elected to the Bundestag, serving until 2001 and then again from 2002 to 2011, with a short break to serve as Minister of the Interior on the Hamburg grounds. During his time in the Bundestag, he was, among other things, a whip in the SPD group (2005-2007) and deputy group leader (2009-2011).
Between 2007 and 2009, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs.
Between 2009 and 2018, Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic Party.
Since 2011 mayor of Hamburg, a position that Schulz held until 2018.
Since March 2018, the German Finance Minister.
Source: German Ministry of Finance
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