Laschet Attacks Front-Runner Scholz After German Ministry Raids
(Bloomberg) -- Two weeks before the federal election, Armin Laschet sought to turn around his faltering bid to become Germany’s next chancellor by criticizing front-runner Olaf Scholz over raids this week at the federal finance ministry.
Laschet attacked the Social Democrat Party candidate, who’s Germany’s finance minister, for what he termed an inappropriate response to the raids.
The conservative also warned that an SPD-led government would endanger Europe’s largest economy.
An alliance between the SPD and the Green Party under Scholz’s stewardship would amount to an “attack on the wellbeing” of Germany, Laschet said Saturday at a party conference in Nuremberg.
While Scholz has been doing a “fairly good job” as finance minister, that’s only because Chancellor Angela Merkel of Laschet’s Christian Democratic Union has overseen his efforts, he said.
Time’s running out for Laschet ahead of Germany’s Sept. 26 vote, as the conservatives, who lost their lead in the polls over the summer to the Social Democrats, continue to trail.
The bloc formed by the CDU and the Christian Social Union in Bavaria, which has governed under Merkel for 16 years, is looking for a show of unity at the Nuremberg event to stop its slide.
CSU leader Markus Soeder, who vied with Laschet to be the party’s candidate for chancellor, expressed support for his former rival ahead of Laschet’s speech.
The perceived split within the parties has tainted the bloc’s campaign. Laschet on Saturday hailed the alliance with his Bavarian sister party, saying the election will only be won by working together.
Recent polling has been dire for Merkel’s bloc. The SPD was leading with 25% support while Merkel’s CDU and its Bavaria-based CSU affiliate stood at 22%, according to a latest poll by Forschungsgruppe Wahlen published Friday.
Merkel’s alliance has vowed to take on Scholz, who came under scrutiny this week when German prosecutors raided the federal finance and justice ministries in Berlin as part of a probe into whether money-laundering cases were handled correctly.
The opposition parties want to call Scholz in for a special finance committee meeting on the matter ahead of the election.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.