The Joses Federal Conference was already drawing to a close on Saturday evening, when an old friend remarkably appeared: Kevin Kunert, the former head of the SPD Youth. His contribution was heralded as a “Tribute” — and yes, after that quarter of an hour on stage in a Frankfurt gym, his message to designated counselor Olaf Schultz and his Traffic Signal Alliance can be summed up. In other words: “Regards, Kevin Kunert.”
Kuhnert quickly gets to the point. It is about the coalition agreement, negotiated by the party deputy at the same time, which describes the government program of the Social Democratic Party, the Free Democratic Party and the Green Party. Now he wants to “talk a little bit about politics”.
You have to know: In the morning fellow party member Olaf Schultz was still at this point and announced a “departure” which he saw as related to the Traffic Lights Alliance. Essentially, many Jusos see the next government like him as an opportunity. Kunert’s successor in Joses, Jessica Rosenthal, immediately assured Schulze that her people would support him.
A few speakers criticized the coalition agreement, for example on refugee and housing policy, including finances. Some expressed anger at the FDP, which had prevented many reforms. But Schultz did not want the alliance to be so pathetic. He said he found it more logical to “deal with the union than with those with whom we now want to go out”. This is “just a little tip from me” to Jusos.
Kuhnert, who had made his way to the Federal Congress in the afternoon, followed what was going on in Frankfurt on the way. Perhaps it was too harmonious for him. In any case, he is not even thinking of sparing the FDP. In its working group, which negotiated the areas of rent and housing, the SPD was not able to implement some of its demands.
With regard to rent law, he said, what he wished for “was not even tentatively fulfilled”. The blame lies with the Freedom and Justice Party for this. All sorts of loopholes that made rentals more expensive remained – “due to the FDP”. There were Kafkaesque attitudes in the working group – because the FDP saw no need for action whatsoever in the tenancy law. When it came to the fact that 100,000 of the 400,000 new homes to be built each year would have to be publicly funded, they first had to explain to the FDP that this was not referring to home ownership.
Schulz wants peace. Bold audacity. Such criticism must be addressed without tearing up the new alliance. “We have to train ourselves for that,” Kuhnert said. It lasted, after all, into that day when “you can give advice here” – a nod to Schulze’s appearance.
Kuhnert believes you shouldn’t be afraid to say you can imagine governing with other parties. Schulz, on the other hand, is working on a very different narrative: The SPD, the Greens and the FDP must compete with a claim to re-election. In the morning, President Juso Rosenthal told Schultz she was looking forward to the next four years. Then Schulze interrupted her: “Four?” “At least four,” she hurriedly continued. Regarding the traffic light, Koehnert has already expressed his doubts.
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