In the Union, the motto now applies: Glückauf, the Laschet is coming

Armin Laschet delivered again. The eternally underrated cleared three competitors out of the way at the CDU federal party conference. It was Friedrich Merz, Norbert Röttgen and also Jens Spahn. It was not the first time that the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister showed stamina and kept his nerve, even if many wanted to praise him on the President’s chair. He ran his candidacy and his courage was rewarded.

Now Laschet is at the head of the CDU. This means that the candidate for chancellor is within his grasp. The last two Chancellors Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel consider the Aachen resident to be cut from the right cloth. You trust him to fill the most powerful government office in Germany. With Merkel, however, the main concern was to prevent her intimate enemy Friedrich Merz. Any other candidate was fine with her. Gerhard Schröder justifies his praise for Laschet in terms of content. It is suitable because it can combine the economic and the social.

So far, Friedrich Merz has always been the favorite in business. However, Laschet has shown in North Rhine-Westphalia that he can pursue an active industrial policy. This is part of the standard repertoire of a NRW Prime Minister. What stands out, however, is that, unlike the federal government, he has already created a digital ministry in Düsseldorf. With the FDP politician Pinkwart, he also found the ideal man for it.

Laschet has proclaimed a “decade of modernization”. Important elements here are startup funding and a moratorium on taxes and duties. What is still missing is a tax concept. Laschet says he doesn’t want to talk about it until after a cash drop after the general election. But he cannot avoid this major reform project beforehand if he wants to successfully combat the economic consequences of the pandemic.

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In terms of location competition, Germany has slipped dramatically. This is especially true for corporate taxes. Countries as different as the US and France have already cut taxes. In Germany, companies are longingly waiting for the same to happen in this country. For the service providers, the complete abolition of the solos would also help, which incidentally all medium-sized companies have to pay.

The fight for the candidacy for chancellor is still ahead

Laschet won a mountain stage by winning the CDU chairmanship. But it is not more. The individual time trial against the ambitious Markus Söder is still ahead. The Bavarian Prime Minister has not yet withdrawn his own ambitions for the Union to run for chancellor. In addition, Laschet will face further tests.

For one thing, he has to pacify the party. After all, Friedrich Merz has won almost half of the votes and is still a favorite of the base. When it comes to merging different camps, however, Laschet can play to its strengths, as a look at his state cabinet shows. He has a black sheriff as interior minister and a Sacred Heart Socialist as welfare minister.

Then come the state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. There the CDU has to win against two popular prime ministers. This will show for the first time whether there is a Laschet effect.

But the overriding topic is the fight against the corona pandemic. As party chairman and possible candidate for chancellor, Laschet is now paying even closer attention to every small breakdown and every major mishap in his crisis management. In terms of communication, he’s clearly lagging behind Markus Söder so far. The Franconian cannot show any better figures, but in the surveys he is ahead of Laschet thanks to clever rhetoric and staging.

Laschet’s election was also a directional decision that left its mark on the election campaign. The SPD had secretly hoped for Merz. A Merz-prevent election campaign would have mobilized their electorate to the maximum. That is now completely eliminated. The Greens can live extremely well with Laschet. He belongs to the Pizza Connection and thus one of the banner bearers from the very beginning. The FDP can be happy twice. Laschet has made a clear commitment to his black-yellow coalition. In addition, the FDP does not have to fear that Friedrich Merz will steal bourgeois voters from them.

Laschet caressed the soul of the party in his speech. He successfully solicited trust. He gave the digital goosebumps moment when he remembered his father, who was a miner and showed his badge with the number 813. The Germans love ascension stories and Laschet set this point ingeniously. That is why the old Steiger motto now applies in the Union: Glückauf, the Laschet is coming.

More: This is what the new CDU boss’s economic policy plans look like.

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This is what the team of the new CDU chairman looks like

Armin Laschet

Armin Laschet was elected the new chairman of the CDU with 521 votes.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The new chairman of the CDU, Armin Laschet, will also be supported by five deputies in the future. Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn, who was previously a member of the Presidium, fought with Laschet in the team for his victory and was scheduled to be his vice-president in advance. So Laschet was able to unite the Spahn supporters behind him.

However, Spahn only received 589 of the 965 votes. Internally it was said that the supporters of the defeated Friedrich Merz had refused his vote. Others said that Spahn had received the receipt for not behaving fairly on election day: After the candidates’ speeches, he had spoken in the question and answer session and not asked a question, but promoted Laschet and himself.

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New CDU chief: Armin Laschet’s economic policy plans

New CDU boss Armin Laschet

Laschet does not want to break with Angela Merkel’s era. What is needed is the “continuity of success,” he said in his application speech.

(Photo: Reuters)

Berlin Armin Laschet looks exhausted, worn out between the government work in the corona crisis and the internal party election campaign for the CDU chairmanship. It is Wednesday evening, the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister rushed into his office from the cabinet meeting, he is late.

An interview with Handelsblatt awaits him by video conference, the last one before the all-important party congress. It will “bring about a turning point,” Laschet quips tortured after the conversation, as if he didn’t really believe it himself. Then he has to go to the next appointment.

The effort in the past few months has paid off. Laschet, who was long considered a procrastinator in the CDU, put everything on one card with his candidacy for the CDU chairmanship – and won. In the runoff election he won with 521 votes, his rival Friedrich Merz got 466 votes. Foreign politician Norbert Röttgen was eliminated in the first ballot.

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Armin Laschet elected as the new CDU boss – How he won the race

Berlin The CDU has a new chairman: Armin Laschet was elected the new party leader with 521 votes. The North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister prevailed against the former Union parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz, who received 466 votes, at the corona-related, purely digital federal party congress. Norbert Röttgen had previously been eliminated in the first ballot.

Laschet called on the party to unite in his acceptance speech. They will “go through this year together”. Merz wished Laschet all the best “success in these extremely stressful times”. Röttgen said that there was no longer any competition in the CDU and that Laschet could now fully rely on him.

The decision has an impact far beyond the party: with the election of the new CDU leader, Laschet also has a good chance of becoming the Union’s candidate for chancellor and thus succeeding Angela Merkel (CDU). Thus, the election is not only associated with a directional decision for the CDU, but possibly also for the whole country.

As significant as the result is, the circumstances under which it came about were just as unusual. For the first time, a chairman was appointed at a purely digital party conference. Because of the corona pandemic, only the closest leadership circle around the previous CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Secretary General Paul Ziemiak, the three candidates and technicians were present in the party conference studio on the Berlin exhibition grounds on Friday and Saturday.

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The 1001 delegates watched the speeches of the three candidates in front of the computer or television and were then able to vote online. In order to make the election legally secure, a postal vote follows. The result is to be announced on January 22nd.

Armin Laschet promotes middle-class politics

In each of the 15-minute speeches, the three candidates had once again advertised themselves. Armin Laschet gave a strong speech in which he presented himself as a middle-class man who could be trusted.

Laschet began his performance with a story about his father, a miner. He had taught him that underground it doesn’t matter where a colleague comes from, what religion he has or what he looks like, but only whether you can rely on him.

Digital CDU federal party conference

Norbert Röttgen, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Paul Ziemiak and Friedrich Merz are on site in the studio.

(Photo: dpa)

Cohesion in society and also in the party – that was Laschet’s message. That’s why one shouldn’t polarize, said Laschet. A differentiation to competitor Merz.

The demarcation to Merz also existed in relation to the chancellor. Many people would like Angela Merkel first, then the CDU. That is why “continuity of success” is needed. This is not a “business as usual”, which the Merz warehouse has always rejected.

Laschet promised the delegates that he would take everyone with him – the Christian-social supporters as well as the liberal and conservative ones. And he highlighted his experience in government, recalling nightly rounds of negotiations in the Chancellery on the coal compromise. “We have to master the tools of the trade of a middle-class politics.”

Laschet did not dwell long on content-related details. He and his competitors agree on many issues. In his speech, Laschet was primarily concerned with convincing the delegates that they can rely on him, that they can trust him.

And so Laschet closed his speech with a reference to his father, with whom he had started the speech. Laschet showed the identification tags that all mountaineers carried with them. His father gave it to him as a lucky charm. And Laschet put forward a quote that was also the key phrase of the speech: “Tell people they can trust you.”

Merz made clear the CDU’s claim to leadership

Merz swore the CDU to win the next federal election and reaffirmed the party’s leadership role. “As German Christian Democrats, we are determined to lead this next federal government again,” said the Sauerland.

Merz warned against looking fearfully at the next few weeks in view of the pandemic. “We can also instill courage and confidence and tell people: We’re getting out of there!” He shouted to the 1001 delegates who were watching the digital party convention at home. He does not want to adopt the doom scenarios of others, said Merz. “The world will not end tomorrow.”

Merz is primarily relying on technological progress, and the CDU will also set standards, for example in the area of ​​digitization. Merz was convinced that climate change could be solved “with the system, with the social market economy”.

It is an important challenge to maintain consensus and compromise, measure and center, said Merz. That is why there must be a struggle in a democracy. In times of populism, he is committed to bringing the dispute back to the political center. The Greens, the SPD and the FDP are competitors who have to be argued with, said Merz.

Most recently, the Sauerlander assured that there would be no cooperation with the AfD with him. In no state parliament, no Bundestag and also not in the European Parliament.

Röttgen presented itself as a modernizer

Röttgen, the surprise candidate, was the last of the three candidates to come to the lectern, on which the slogan “#wegenmorgen” was emblazoned. Röttgen’s message: He wanted to stand for what was new in the party, for renewal. “I invite you to set out on the road together today,” said the youngest candidate at 55 years of age.

The CDU should become the party of “future competence”. To do this, it must start with itself in order to remain a people’s party. “We’ll only stay that way if we change. The direction comes from society. ”The CDU must become more feminine, younger, more digital. It is about new topics and new voters.

“I want the CDU to become the party of sustainability,” he said. The CDU is the only party that unites climate protection and the social market economy. “Climate protection is only possible with the economy,” he said.

The state must set the framework for economic growth, for example pushing ahead with the expansion of the broadband network and the connection of schools. “We have to invest in growth,” he demanded. First prosperity must be worked out, then it can be distributed. Therefore, he rejected a property levy, as requested by the SPD and the Left.

A curious election campaign

With the decision in favor of Laschet, the CDU ended an almost one-year stalemate. The candidates had recently tried to advertise themselves primarily via social and classic media and in countless telephone calls. While Merz used social media particularly intensively and most recently triggered a debate on the SPD’s planned property levy under #nidsteuer, Laschet criticized his competitors, for example the announcement of a tax reform by Röttgen. This caused a debate, since he ruled out a coalition with the FDP in the event of an election victory after the federal election.

Armin Laschet prevails in the runoff election for CDU chairmanship

Kramp-Karrenbauer announced her retirement in mid-February after just over a year as CDU leader. A special party conference originally planned for the end of April and a party conference in December had been postponed due to the pandemic.

The internal party election campaign was repeatedly interrupted and overlaid by the corona crisis. Only at the very end did the three applicants try to distance themselves from each other again. The mood within the party remained unclear until the decision was made.

Wishes of the economy

Business, however, had a favorite. According to a Forsa survey for the Handelsblatt, shortly before the CDU federal party congress, 39 percent of executives spoke out in favor of the former Union parliamentary group leader as party leader. 27 percent were for Röttgen, 18 percent voted for Laschet.

After the election of the party leader, the question of the candidate for chancellor arises. The new CDU chairman wants to clarify this with CSU boss Markus Söder. However, it will take some time until then. A decision is not expected until after the state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, which will take place in mid-March. The last time mentioned was shortly after Easter.

In his first speech as CDU chairman, Laschet asks for backing

In surveys it has always become clear that Söder is more popular than the three applicants for the CDU chairmanship. In the business world, too, the mood has been clear so far: 40 percent of managers want the Bavarian Prime Minister to be the Union’s candidate for chancellor. According to the Forsa survey, Merz came in second place with 23 percent. 11 percent were in favor of Röttgen, 8 percent for Laschet.

Call for unity

It is now eagerly awaited how the losers will behave and whether they and their supporters will support the new party leader. Even before the party congress, leading CDU politicians had called for unity in view of the approaching federal elections.

“After Saturday comes Sunday. Then we will all gather behind the newly elected chairman and support him as the newly elected chairman, possible candidate for chancellor and possible future chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany to the best of our ability – in solidarity and unreservedly, “said CDU vice-president Thomas Strobl. “The competition for the party chairmanship will then be over.” In the super election year, the CDU should not “longer than absolutely necessary” deal with itself.

More: The hour of decision in the CDU: The last German people’s party is fighting for Merkel’s legacy.

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Reactions to the election of Armin Laschet as CDU chief

Saskia Esken

The SPD chairwoman still sees the future course of the CDU not yet clear.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin After his election as the new CDU leader, Armin Laschet thanked his party for the great confidence they had shown. “I am aware of the responsibility associated with this office,” said the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister on Saturday at the CDU’s digital party conference. Now it is a matter of the CDU passing the upcoming state elections in “a few weeks”. In addition, he wanted to ensure that “the Union has the next Chancellor” in the federal election.

The outgoing CDU chairwoman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer thanked all candidates “for the fair competition”. On Twitter she warns: “And now all together for our Union and our country.”

Competitors Merz and Röttgen congratulated Laschet on his election success and wished him every success in the election year. It was an “enormously exhausting time for all of us to survive,” said Merz. How he wanted to get involved after his defeat in the CDU, Merz said nothing. He did not run as a candidate for a post in the CDU presidium.

Röttgen, on the other hand, decided to run and was elected to the presidium. He emphasized that he stood by his word and will now support Laschet with all his might. “You can count on me. We have to form a team now, ”he said.

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Federal Finance Minister and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz and CSU boss Markus Söder also congratulated Laschet on the victory. SPD politician Scholz wishes Laschet a lucky hand for the “big task”. “This year is tough and will be a challenge for all of us. We say goodbye to it – all the best! ”Tweeted Scholz. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Söder said he was looking forward to working with Laschet. “Together we will continue the success story of the Union,” he wrote on Twitter.

The SPD leader Saskia Esken still sees the future course of the CDU not yet clarified. “How the identity crisis in which the CDU is recognizable is resolving is not yet clear even after this party congress,” Esken told the “Saarbrücker Zeitung”, referring to the open question of the Union’s candidacy for chancellor. “We urgently need a stable partner in the coalition over the next few months and not a partner who is busy with himself,” added Esken.

Left faction leader Dietmar Barsch indirectly congratulated Laschet on winning the runoff election and at the same time gave the CDU a swipe. He congratulated Armin Laschet on his new post, but pointed out the “dilution of the party”: “It is good that a dilution according to the law has not prevailed in the Union. The Union has been leading the federal government for 15 years and is thus largely responsible for the deep division in our society “, writes perch on the short message service Twitter.

The FDP chairman Christian Lindner congratulated the new CDU chairman on the election victory on Saturday. “To such good cooperation and such sporty competition as federal chairman as we both had earlier as NRW state chairman,” writes Lindner, who also comes from North Rhine-Westphalia, on Twitter.

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier also congratulates Armin Laschet on being elected CDU chairman and pays his respects to the defeated candidates Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen. According to him, it was a fair election campaign. This has sent a clear signal for the Union’s will to shape and govern, Altmaier wrote on Twitter.

The leader of the Left Party, Katja Kipping, emphasized the tight result for Laschet: “521 – that’s only 20 votes on thirst,” writes Kipping on Twitter. “That means that Laschet too will have to give the right wing CDU so much sugar in the coming months that the Greens will have to think three times about whether they really want to give themselves to the Union for better or for worse.”

She also emphasizes in another post on Twitter, that the CDU has a new party chairman in Laschet, but is still far from being a candidate for chancellor. “No matter who wins the race for the CDU candidate for chancellor, the CDU will not be ready to set the course so that we can come out of the crisis fairly.”

The CDU Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther, calls on Armin Laschet to involve all parts of the party and to give hope to the members. Laschet gave an impressive speech and exudes a lot of important optimism, says Günther in the Phoenix interview.

Congratulations from Chancellor Sebastian Kurz from Austria. He wishes the new CDU leader Armin Laschet “all the best for the tasks ahead”. Kurz tweeted: “It is important for us that Germany continues to develop well. The @CDU as the decisive political force in the middle is the best guarantee for this. “

In the opinion of the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union, with the election of Armin Laschet, the CDU is positioning itself in the middle and in the tradition of Christian social teaching. “It is important for the unions that the currently strongest party positions itself in the crisis like this,” tweeted IG-BCE boss Michael Vassiliadis.

According to the words of the Green bosses Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, Laschet also faces major tasks. He now has to redefine the CDU after the era of Chancellor Angela Merkel and clarify what the party actually stands for in terms of content. “Germany has big tasks to cope with, especially now the corona pandemic.” In addition, the course must be set for consistent climate protection and the ecological modernization of the economy.

Business reactions

The BDI President Siegfried Russwurm is already making initial demands on the new CDU chief to “immediately commit to necessary investments and setting the course”. The current crisis management and the beginning of the election campaign should not obstruct the view of dynamism and future viability, otherwise a lost year for trend-setting decisions threatens. The grand coalition leaves “a wide infrastructure and investment gap”.

The President of the Federal Association of German Startups, Christian Miele, also has clear expectations of Armin Laschet. He must put the political focus on the topic of digitization.

Daniel Hager, family entrepreneur and head of the Hager Group, thinks Laschet is a good listener who takes the time to form an opinion. He had the ability to bring different camps together. “I was impressed that at the beginning of the first corona wave he was one of the few government representatives who credibly looked for proportionality and alternatives to a lockdown. For our economy it is necessary right now to have such an open listener that people trust. ”

The prominent technology investor Frank Thelen demands: “As difficult as it is in the current situation, we now have to boldly invest in our future. We need a new 2030 Agenda with a focus on technologies such as AI, hyperloops, biotech, 3D printing ”. Thelen also says: “Germany has to wake up now!”

One of his greatest challenges for Laschet, however, is to take his own party with him on this path: “Many people still miss their fax machine,” says Thelen. “How will he get you excited about the opportunities offered by new technologies?”

The founder of the globally active Berlin travel activities start-up Getyourguide, Johannes Reck, says: “The CDU consistently explains to us why things are not moving forward, but we now have to set ambitious goals and finally implement them.”

The CDU economic politician Carsten Linnemann shows disappointment with Laschet’s election victory. He asked Friedrich Merz to be elected to the CDU presidium. He was disappointed that Merz was not elected head of the CDU, says the chairman of the MIT SME association on the Phoenix broadcaster. It is important to merge the camps in the CDU now. “That doesn’t happen overnight,” emphasizes Linnemann. To Merz he says: “I would like him to appear in the presidium. I think it’s damn important that he stays on board. ”Merz was a candidate for“ the base ”.

The former EU member of the CDU, Elmar Brok, is also demanding a top position for Friedrich Merz after the next federal election. On “BILD Live” Brok said that Merz should become a member of the next federal government. “I couldn’t think of anyone better than Merz as Federal Finance Minister,” said Brok.

At the purely digital CDU party conference, Laschet had clearly prevailed against ex-Union faction leader Friedrich Merz in a runoff election. Foreign politician Norbert Röttgen was eliminated in the first round of elections.

“Let Friedrich Merz take part in a prominent position”

Arndt G. Kirchhoff, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Kirchhoff Group and President of the State Association of Business Associations in North Rhine-Westphalia, is satisfied with Armin Laschet.
“Armin Laschet can do that. He is reliable and prudent. He has improved the general economic sentiment in North Rhine-Westphalia, why shouldn’t he succeed in this nationwide? ”He says. “The economic profile of the party should be sharpened – in the spirit of Friedrich Merz. I would very much appreciate it if Armin Laschet let Friedrich Merz take part in a prominent position. “

When asked what Kirchhoff’s demands on Laschet and what is important now, he said: “We absolutely have to increase Germany’s international competitiveness, especially when it comes to taxes, energy costs and social costs. Employees and employers bear the costs of the pandemic. “

On the subject of the candidate for chancellor, Kirchhoff says: “That is a completely different question. Given the weight of the CDU, the CDU should provide someone. “

More: Read here how Armin Laschet won the race.

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Greens see differences to the Union in the debt brake

Debt brake

A debt clock shows the national debt of Germany on October 17th, 2013 at the Bund der Steuerpayers (BdSt) in Düsseldorf (North Rhine-Westphalia).

(Photo: dpa)

Frankfurt (Oder). The Greens see a major hurdle in the debt brake for possible negotiations with the Union after the federal election. “The Union and the finance minister (Olaf Scholz, SPD) hold fast to the dogma of the rigid debt brake,” said Federal Managing Director Michael Kellner of the “Märkische Oderzeitung” (Saturday). “We now have to take money into our hands to fight the effects of the climate crisis or to ensure well-equipped schools, sports fields and libraries.”

However, he was basically open to possible coalition negotiations with the Union after the election in autumn. “We have never made a secret of the fact that the SPD is closer to us in terms of content than the Union,” said the federal manager. “But of course we have to be able to talk to all democratic parties. The last year with the government drama in Thuringia showed that. ”Kellner is campaign manager. He is running for the Bundestag in the constituency of Uckermark / Barnim I in Brandenburg.

CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak announced tough negotiations on Friday in the event of talks with the Greens. “It may be that we have to negotiate with the Greens after the election,” wrote Ziemiak on Twitter. “But I promise you one thing: the Greens will swallow more toads in the coalition negotiations than some of them have carried across the street.”

To finance the burdens of the corona pandemic, the debt brake anchored in the Basic Law was overridden for last year and this year. According to the will of the grand coalition, it should apply again from 2022.

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More: Support for the debt brake is decreasing – state politicians for infrastructure investments

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Fear of Correa (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

Andrés Arauz, Unes presidential candidate, in Quito on Wednesday

On Wednesday, the National Electoral Council of Ecuador (CNE) banned the broadcast of a TV commercial by the left-wing alliance Union for Hope (Unes) for the presidential elections on February 7 in the province of Pichincha, in which the capital Quito is located. The reason for the measure is that the former President Rafael Correa appears in the video promoting the election of the left alliance and its candidates for the presidency, Andrés Arauz and Carlos Rabascall.

In September 2020, the ex-president was sentenced to eight years imprisonment in absentia for corruption in what was considered by many to be politically motivated. Originally, Correa himself was supposed to be part of the progressive nomination as a candidate for the office of Vice President. Due to the conviction, however, he is prohibited from holding public office for up to 25 years. Regardless of this, the left-wing politician is still very popular among the population.

Reason enough for the CNE to step in. In a statement, the electoral authority justified its decision with a reference to the Ecuadorian constitution. Accordingly, the suspension of political rights for legally convicted persons is permissible. The authority had already taken action against Unes in the past and only approved the presidential candidates of the alliance after long hesitation and a decision by the national electoral court.

On Wednesday, Arauz condemned the decision as a violation of freedom of expression and an attempt at censorship. “As a political movement, we must have the right to advertise our political identity,” the presidential candidate told press representatives. He also announced that he would appeal the decision to the CNE and appeal to the National Electoral Court. Arauz also did not rule out going to international courts.

Meanwhile, the polls show a duel for the presidency between Arauz and the multimillionaire and former finance minister Guillermo Lasso. The incumbent President Lenín Moreno, who recently only had single-digit approval ratings, will not run again. There is a total of 16 pairs of candidates to choose from.

In view of the large number of participants, it is unclear whether there will be a winner in the first round of voting. To do this, a candidate would have to win over 50 percent of the votes at the beginning or be ahead by more than ten points. Otherwise there will be a runoff between the two candidates with the most votes.

Regardless of who will rule the country for the next four years, it is already clear that difficult times are ahead for the Ecuadorian people. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) assumes that the Andean nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) will have decreased by 9.5 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year. In addition, the country is suffering from the still low oil price, 60 percent of exports are made up of crude oil. For 2021, the World Bank and IMF are forecasting GDP growth of 3.5 percent. Even that would be too small to make up for the losses of the past year.

In addition, there is the corona pandemic, which Ecuador is particularly badly affected by compared to South America. Other states in the region have already started vaccinating their populations. Unlike Argentina, for example, which began administering the Sputnik V vaccine developed in Russia in December, Ecuador relies on the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer. In a video address on Wednesday, President Moreno said the first doses of vaccine should reach the country in the coming week. By March, up to 87,000 cans would be available instead of the originally planned 50,000. Critics accuse the president of being too slow in procuring vaccines and only considering buying western vaccines. With Russian and Chinese companies, however, had not even been negotiated.

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USA: After storming the Capitol: Internal investigation at the US Department of Justice

The Republican Majority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has by its own account not set on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. McConnell wrote in a letter to his party colleagues in the Senate that he has not yet decided whether Trump should be convicted if the House of Representatives votes in favor of impeachment. Although the press is full of speculation, he wants to hear the legal arguments himself when they are presented to the Senate.

McConnell apparently responded to media reports on Wednesday that he was angry with Trump and believed that Trump had committed offenses that justified his impeachment. So McConnell was right that the Democrats took action against the outgoing president. McConnell’s calculation is that the Republicans could build a future without Trump, who has been criticized as divisive and chaotic. The “New York Times” initially reported on McConnell’s alleged mind games, citing unspecified sources.

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USA: After the Capitol rampage: Internal investigation at the US Department of Justice

The Republican Majority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has by its own account not set on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. McConnell wrote in a letter to his party colleagues in the Senate that he has not yet decided whether Trump should be convicted if the House of Representatives votes in favor of impeachment. Although the press is full of speculation, he wants to hear the legal arguments himself when they are presented to the Senate.

McConnell apparently responded to media reports on Wednesday that he was angry with Trump and believed that Trump had committed offenses that justified his impeachment. So McConnell was right that the Democrats took action against the outgoing president. McConnell’s calculation is that the Republicans could build a future without Trump, who has been criticized as divisive and chaotic. The “New York Times” initially reported on McConnell’s alleged mind games, citing unspecified sources.

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Situation defused (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

Bolivia’s President Luis Arce on December 30, 2020 in La Paz

The left-wing government of Bolivia under President Luis Arce of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), elected on October 18 last year with 55.1 percent of the vote, has survived its first conflict with the country’s private transport companies. The freight forwarders and bus operators organized a 24-hour nationwide strike on Tuesday to press for a six-month deferral of principal and interest payments on their bank loans.

After threatening to extend the strike to 48 hours, they were able to achieve a large part of their goals – in a dialogue offered by the government. Arce’s Economy and Finance Minister Marcelo Montenegro, who chaired the talks, told the press on Wednesday evening (local time) that an agreement had been reached on postponing loan payments in the transport sector for a further six months. The strike was then ended in most of the country’s nine departments.

The hauliers had justified their actions with financial losses that made it impossible for them to pay their debts. Due to the corona pandemic, the transport of goods and people almost came to a standstill for a long time and continues to be impaired. They therefore called for an existing four-month moratorium to be extended by two months. According to the Bolivian media, more than 270 roadblocks had been erected. The daily newspaper The newspaper reported Tuesday that major roads in major cities and major connections between provinces had been blocked by vehicles and the country had been “paralyzed”.

This mainly affected trade, but also the population. Many people could not drive to work or shop. “The situation created discomfort among residents of various regions as well as the business community,” wrote the conservative newspaper. People from other areas, such as micro-entrepreneurs, carpenters, construction workers, craftsmen and the “citizens’ committees”, some of which are on the right, declared that they would discuss similar actions. Government Minister Eduardo del Castillo then asked the organizers to enter into a dialogue about a possible solution. “The transporters must be aware that an economic reactivation is necessary and that this type of measure is only to the detriment of the Bolivian people,” said the minister.

Right-wing politicians who had supported the blockades in their stronghold, the Santa Cruz Department, among other places, criticized the compromise agreed on Wednesday to resolve the conflict. The entrepreneur Samuel Doria Medina, who originally wanted to run as the vice-presidential candidate for the coup president Jeanine Áñez in the parliamentary elections in October, but then withdrew his candidacy, accused the government of having “given in to the demands of the transporters.” The chairman of the right-wing social democratic party “Frente de Unidad Nacional” compared the agreement with the era of hyperinflation under the government of President Hernán Siles Suazo, who resigned in 1985 after attacks by the right, and who “accepted the demands of the unions despite the crisis”.

The left economist Abraham Pérez, however, expressed in the online portal Latin American Summary the assumption “that behind the blockades there could be purely political motives of those who oppose the government and want to destabilize the economy in the months leading up to the regional elections.” On March 7th, the governors and members of the regional parliaments as well as the mayors and city councilors of the municipal districts are elected in the nine departments.

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