In the beginning everything looked like harmony.

The three candidates for chancellor met a month before the federal election for a television triall, almost two hours were scheduled.

The moderator from RTL wanted to know from the Green candidate Annalena Baerbock, the social democratic applicant Olaf Scholz and the CDU candidate for Chancellor Armin Laschet, why the others “can't be chancellor”.

As if they had agreed, all three waved them off.

That is bad style, you would rather advertise what you can do yourself.

Eckart Lohse

Head of the parliamentary editorial office in Berlin.

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But when the individual topics were called up, the harmony was quickly over.

When it came to Afghanistan and the dramatic withdrawal of the international community, Laschet took advantage of the fact that, as Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, he is not part of the federal government, and attacked Vice Chancellor Scholz by saying that the coordination between the federal ministries had not worked.

Laschet also accused Scholz of delaying the decision to arm drones.

Scholz countered by saying that the finances for the Bundeswehr had developed particularly poorly under the black and yellow government, but had gone up under him as finance minister. Baerbock took up the sensitive issue of local workers in Afghanistan. She recalled that in June the Union and the SPD had not voted in favor of the Greens' proposal to make it easier for local staff to leave and move into Germany. Baerbock, for her part, attacked because the Greens had only approved an extension of the Bundeswehr mandate for Afghanistan with only a third of the parliamentary group in the Bundestag in March, announced that, as Chancellor, she wanted to ensure that the mandates would be written in such a way that such a situation as would not arise again now in Afghanistan.

Everyone wants climate protection, nobody wants to burden the citizen

The three were comparatively close to each other when dealing with the corona pandemic.

There was a little bickering over the financing and installation of air filters in schools, but the candidate and the two candidates opposed another lockdown with different formulations.

The concern of going into the final phase of the election campaign with the opposite message was probably too great for all three.

Baerbock, Scholz and Laschet have appeared a lot in the election campaign. Even three, for example in the WDR, at the Munich Security Conference and the DGB. But the big three TV appearances at prime time, on Sunday evening at 8:15 p.m., were saved for up to four weeks before the election. In the Union, in which many are now deeply insecure because their candidate for chancellor has fallen so low in the polls and the party is also increasingly sagging, some are relying on the Trielle.

Controversies emerged in the discussion about climate policy. The Green candidate accused the government of funding the expansion of solar power systems too little, Laschet pointed out that the expansion of power lines from north to south had not been sufficiently advanced. Baerbock explained what she would do immediately as Chancellor. This includes stipulating that two percent of the area of ​​Germany is available for the production of wind energy. A requirement for solar systems for new buildings should also be introduced.

At the same time, all three candidates were very careful to avoid the impression that the path to climate neutrality would lead to additional burdens for the citizens. In any case, the additional costs, for example for fuel, would be returned. Even the Green candidate did not dare to make a cracking commitment that climate policy could cost voters money.

In the end, of course, it had to be about the possibility of forming a coalition. The debate centered on whether the SPD and the Greens would rule with the Left Party if the worst came to the worst. Laschet tried to urge Scholz to exclude a coalition with the Left Party. Formally, the Vice Chancellor expressed himself about this clarity, but by commenting on the foreign policy stance of the left, he de facto ruled out a coalition. Baerbock said that as long as the left did not change its position on foreign policy, an alliance was out of the question.