Which chancellor candidate can win Germany's heart after Angela Merkel? Olaf Scholz, Annalena Baerbock and Armin Laschet are wooing away, and to DW's Cristina Burack, their match profiles seem ready for swiping.
It's never easy when a 16-year relationship comes to an end. Especially when it is a rather one-sided breakup. One partner wants to stay, the other wants to call it quits. So yes, Germany, we understand how hard it is to watch Angela Merkel walk away while 80% of your voters think she has done a good job.
You also seem quite unsure about what you're looking for in your next match. And yet to an outsider like myself, your three potential chancellor interests seem to present themselves quite clearly. They even performed in a televised debate for you last night, pointing out one another's unsavory qualities and telling you what they think you want to hear in an attempt to win over your heart — er, I mean vote — on September 26.
It's time, Germany, to pick a new partner for the years ahead! Your potential matches are there — and their profiles are here, understandable and digestible, insofar as matters of the heart can be to the person outside the relationship looking in.
Armin Laschet, Christian Democratic Union
Favorite color: Black
Likes: Giving the free market free reign; fewer government solutions; chatting about climate change with my friends in heavy industry; talking with my hands.
Dislikes: A leftist coalition government; bureaucracy; tax burdens on businesses and wealthy individuals; government prescriptions of any type.
I may have seemed like the second man in my conservative club for a long time, but I'm really top dog material. Really! I lead Germany's most populous state, and we've done some things there … so I can do some things for you, too! Many of them will end up keeping money in the pockets of the well-off, but it will trickle down to the average John Doe. Promise!
And speaking of average, I'm definitely the kind of guy who you can laugh with over a beer or two. I love to laugh! I even look like I'm chuckling when I'm serious! (Just swipe away from that flood photo to the next one, please.) Did I mention I can be serious? And passionate! I gesticulate with my hands — a lot! But don't get the wrong idea: I've actually got a very hands-off approach to the role of government. Except when it comes to migrating to club Germany. I want to keep that pretty exclusive. If you're in and interested, swipe for me 🤙
Olaf Scholz, Social Democratic Party
Favorite color: Red (the color of love! And my party's color!).
Likes: Balanced budgets; gradualism; social housing; the current pension system; stoicism.
Dislikes: Untaxed wealth; raising my voice; people poking their noses into my financial affairs.
I'm the strong and silent type — well, more like stability-obsessed and evenly spoken. I don't like to be pinned down on many of my plans, but that doesn't mean I won't go into technocratic detail given half a chance. Often non-committal, sometimes highly specific: I'm a paradox. What better way to spice up a relationship — but don't worry, I keep things to the German level of spice tolerance.
I'm moderate, very moderate. I don't want too much change, but some things do need to change fast. (Paradox.) I know that as the finance minister, I'm supposed to be the cool-as-a-cucumber numbers guy, but I've still got feelings, and I can be touchy about past financial slip-ups that happened under my watch: Cum-ex, Wirecard, the recent raid in the finance ministry … changing the subject, I might remind you a little bit of your ex of 16 years. Maybe it's that one photo where I'm doing that rhombus thing with my hands…
I might even be open to a threesome coalition that includes The Left party (red! red! and, er, green). But I definitely won't say for sure. Still, like I said on TV last night, "Whoever knows me knows what they're getting." Swipe to get it 😉
Annalena Baerbock, the Greens
Favorite color: Green. (Duh.)
Likes: Bicycle commuting, electric cars and taking the train; focusing on climate change; taxing high earners; focusing on climate change; talking about kids; the word "future" mostly in the context of climate change.
Dislikes: Domestic flights; fossil fuels; private health insurance; procrastination.
You may not be as taken with me like you were back in May, but I know you're still eyeing me. I've got fighting spirit, and I'm not afraid to stand out! I can lay out my plans to you in a snappy, itemized style. And yes, I know I sometimes come off a little rehearsed. It's only because I'm trying to turn my ideals into a winning pick-up line.
But here's the deal: I'm the kind of person who will make you live up to your values and help you bridge the gap between the outcome you want and the process it takes to get there. I know what's most important to you right now: Climate change and energy policy. I'll make you drive slower, exercise more with all that subsidized freight bike commuting, and I'll close those coal plants faster. I'm willing to spend money now and hope for results later, much later.
Don't worry, it will all be worth it in the future! Not gonna lie, there will be new rules, and being with me will cost you substantially. But isn't it convenient that I intend to clean up tax evasion to the tune of €50 billion ($59 billion) and invest €50 billion in climate infrastructure? Ready for something new? Just swipe 💚
Admittedly, the selection is not exactly lush, but perhaps this overview has helped you to decide who has won your vote, if not your heart.