Steffi Lemke did not have to return to Berlin early.

The Federal Environment Minister with a green party card attended the Stockholm+50 international conference on Friday, while the Bundestag in Berlin was voting on the 100 billion euro special fund for the Bundeswehr.

The Chancellor got along well without the voice of his Environment Minister.

Eckhart Lohse

Head of the parliamentary editorial office in Berlin.

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If Olaf Scholz (SPD) thinks the presence of one of his cabinet members in the Bundestag is very important, he makes that clear.

Such was the case in early April.

The obligation to vaccinate against the corona virus wanted by the Chancellor threatened to fail in Parliament.

Scholz had ordered Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, a friend of Lemke's party, back to Berlin early from a NATO meeting.

In vain, the vaccination failed.

Since the traffic light brought the Union on board this time for the necessary amendment to the Basic Law, Scholz did not have to rely on every vote.

This led to a correspondingly relaxed atmosphere in the traffic light parties.

If you look through the results of the roll-call votes, you will find quite a few surprises.

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner from the FDP did not even cast his vote in the vote on the amendment to the Basic Law.

Since Lindner, as Minister of Finance, needs the amendment to the Basic Law directly in order to be able to implement the special fund, and had also campaigned for it, it could not be a question of rejection.

Lindner told the FAZ that, as a minister who was in charge of three laws, he had to "politely" listen to speeches, which is why it was too close for the vote.

It is also surprising that Anton Hofreiter (Greens) did not cast his vote, neither for the amendment of the Basic Law nor for the establishment of the special fund.

The chairman of the Europe Committee has been drumming for weeks for Germany to take a more robust stance in the Ukraine war and is receiving considerable public attention,

by accusing the Scholz government of hesitant behavior.

So he was absent on Friday because appointments in Riga were more important to him than being in the Bundestag.

After all, the majority there was “more than secure,” he told the FAZ

In the debate on how to bring about a decision on the Bundeswehr billions in the Bundestag, the CDU chairman and opposition leader Friedrich Merz initially threatened to show the traffic light by saying that only as many MPs from the CDU and CSU would vote as SPD, Greens and FDP needed to achieve a two-thirds majority.

The traffic light then accused him of dubious democratic behavior.

Since Merz had refrained from the project, the pressure in the traffic light to close the rows as closely as possible had automatically dropped.

The traffic light was missing 34 votes for the special fund

Scholz could still be satisfied with the outcome of the votes on Friday.

Without the Union, his coalition got more than half of the votes of all members of the Bundestag, the Union generously filled the rest, so that in the end the votes on the amendment to the Basic Law and the establishment of the special fund were achieved with a two-thirds majority.

Almost the entire board of the SPD parliamentary group agreed, only the deputy chairwoman Verena Hubertz noted that she had not cast her vote.

Chairman Rolf Mützenich, who shortly before had said all sorts of critical things about the path taken, also took part.

However, the traffic light lacked 34 of its own votes for the special fund and 30 for the amendment to the Basic Law.

Of the 205 Social Democrats, nine and eight voted no, with the Greens there were four and five rejections.

On the other hand, the smallest coalition partner, the FDP, did not vote against.

In the Union there was only one no in both ballots.

However, more than twenty votes from the CDU and CSU were missing.

Even the most far-reaching decision for defense policy in a long time teaches us that large majorities are bad for discipline.