Minister for Family Affairs: Search for a successor for Anne Spiegel: “First endurance test of the new Greens chairmen”
Berlin The search for a successor to the resigned Federal Minister for Family Affairs will be the first test for the new Greens leadership. The party will announce a successor before Easter, said party leader Omid Nouripour on Tuesday on the sidelines of the federal executive board’s retreat in Husum.
“We know that things have to be done quickly.” This alone requires the ministry to be responsible for the women and children who have fled Ukraine. “We have a lot of conversations – in the board meeting, in the stairwell, wherever we get to it,” Nouripour said.
In fact, the personality is not easy to solve. Possible candidates are rare – a successor cannot be determined that quickly. “The decision must be made quickly, as it is the first stress test for the new Green Party chairmen,” Mannheim political scientist Constantin Wurthmann told the Handelsblatt. “The Greens now need a personality that they can safely assume will last until 2025.”
A vacancy that was too long would be harmful – not only with regard to the flight movement from Ukraine, but also in view of the pandemic. Because the Greens are again looking for a female minister, this further restricts the group of candidates.
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>> Also read here: SPD expects quick decision on Spiegel successor
“It will be a woman,” said Green Party leader Ricarda Lang in Husum. “So far we have had equal representation in the cabinet and that will remain the case,” she said. Already in the morning she had emphasized that the Greens had many female politicians of all ages who brought experience and expertise with them. “We’re going to look at that now. And then we, as the national board, will make a joint proposal.” In the end, there could also be a surprise cast.
Ex-group leader Anton Hofreiter does not seem to get a chance again. He already had to give up a ministerial post in December. Like Spiegel, he belongs to the left wing of the party, but – in this case – he is of the wrong gender. Because not only the Greens need a woman for internal party proportional representation purposes – Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has also promised to fill his cabinet equally. But that’s only possible if Spiegel’s successor is female again.
Political scientist: Only “limited staff supply”
Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt, who was previously intended for the post, is a woman – but belongs to the Realo wing of the Greens. And he already has three of the five green cabinet members with Annalena Baerbock, Robert Habeck and Cem Özdemir. With Göring-Eckardt, the balance of power would finally no longer be balanced according to wings – the party left would lose out.
When asked whether the Spiegel successor had to be filled from the left wing, Green leader Lang answered evasively. The prerequisite will be competence, she said in Husum.
As an alternative, Katharina Dröge is traded, who leads the parliamentary group together with Britta Haßelmann, but has no experience in comparable positions. Before moving to the top of the parliamentary group in December 2021, the 37-year-old was economic policy spokeswoman for the Greens in the Bundestag.
Dröge belongs to the party left, but is respected across all wings. Most recently, she played a key role in the coalition negotiations to form the traffic light government. She was the green chief negotiator in the labor working group and was a member of the negotiating team in the business working group.
>> Also read here: The mirror resignation is the next embarrassment for Scholz and the traffic light
The political scientist Heinrich Oberreuter spoke of a “limited supply of personnel”. In this situation, the Greens would be well advised to disregard party proportional representation and put the question of quotas and camps on the back burner. “We need factions and parties that are capable of acting – and characteristics of identity do not justify official responsibility, but above all competence,” he said.
According to Oberreuter, the Greens have a “momentum” that is mainly due to the popularity of the ministers Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck. In fact, they lead the list of the most popular politicians in Germany according to the current opinion trend of the survey institute Insa for the “Bild”.
The political scientist and former Green Party politician Hubert Kleinert also considers the wing issues to be of secondary importance. “In the current situation, it would be strange if there was a long wrangling over internal disputes,” said Kleinert.
“The Greens are currently saying goodbye to many principles – and party proportional representation is also outdated.” A few weeks ago, no one would have thought it possible that a Green Foreign Minister would one day want to send tanks to Ukraine.
Spiegel receives a transitional allowance
Spiegel resigned as family minister on Monday afternoon. In a statement, she said she wanted to avert “damage from office” with the step. She was accused of a four-week family vacation shortly after the flood disaster in the Ahr Valley in 2021. At that time, as Rhineland-Palatinate’s Environment Minister, she was also responsible for civil protection.
According to the taxpayers’ association, Spiegel is now entitled to a transitional allowance of 75,600 euros. This was “totally oversized,” said the deputy chairman of the taxpayers’ association, Michael Jäger, of the “image”.
According to the Federal Ministers Act, the transitional allowance is paid for the same number of months that a retired minister has received official emoluments, “but for at least six months and a maximum of two years”. For the first three months there is therefore the full official salary and “for the rest of the reference period half of this salary”. Spiegel took over the ministry on December 9 and has been in office for four months since then.
Former Federal Family Minister Kristina Schröder (CDU) has defended the amount of the transitional allowance for Anne Spiegel. “She gets her full salary for three months and half her salary for three months. It’s really not oversized,” Schröder wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “You need some time to look for a new job. And the family of six has to live on something,” she added.
More: Green Minister Spiegel resigns