Strack-Zimmermann: Between a shooting star and a pain in the ass


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Status: 13/05/2022 04:33

She is the new FDP model politician in wartime: defense expert Strack-Zimmermann. While she finds support with her clear style among the FDP and the Greens, her relationship with the SPD is difficult.

An analysis by Corinna Emundts, tagesschau.de

FDP MP Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann – known only in specialist circles before Putin’s attack on Ukraine – probably could not have dreamed that a delegate would enthusiastically kneel in front of her with a polite curtsy, and the board member directly welcomed as “Mrs. Party Chairman “- as happened recently at the Liberals’ Federal Party Conference.

Corinna Emundts

It was meant to be funny, of course, but it’s not coincidental: the 64-year-old has undoubtedly become the clear text star of the traffic light and the FDP in a very short time. She has been a guest on political talk shows about the Ukraine war – because of the way she does not pinch words, even beyond the Scholz soundtrack: she fiercely represents her own opinion on Germany’s security and defense policy course. And she has. In light of the threatening situation in Ukraine, she said in January that one should think about the supply of defensive weapons.

One can also say: Strack-Zimmermann is currently the rhetorical counter-proposal to Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the hotly debated issues surrounding the Ukraine war, especially the supply of heavy weapons. Where he was still silent and pondering, she called for more commitment from the Germans in supporting Ukraine.

But she’s not alone there. She knows her group, but also many Green MPs behind her. In mid-April, she spontaneously drove as a small traffic light tour group with the chairmen of the European Affairs and Foreign Affairs Committee – the Green politician Anton Hofreiter and the SPD politician Michael Roth – to Ukraine. It was not only since this voyage that she advocated the supply of heavier weapons to the national defense.

The house blessing is skewed in the selection

The coalition partner SPD has divided opinions about their political style. Three weeks ago, she invited the Chancellor as a guest in her office as chair of the Defense Committee in a rather arbitrary act. Without first informing the chairman of the Chancellor’s party in the committee – however, the procedure is “to put it mildly not the rule,” it sounds from the Bundestag circles.

It seemed a bit as if she was summoning the Chancellor, who at the time was criticized as hesitant, as if she wanted to pressure him on the subject of arms supplies. SPD chairman Wolfgang Hellmich, her coalition partner and predecessor to the committee chair, reacted sharply – the same day: “The question arises whether the necessary political neutrality is abandoned here in favor of personal profiling.”

When Scholz appears before the committee on Friday, however, the situation will already be politically innocuous compared to the week of the invitation: Too few days after the invitation, the federal government announced that the delivery of “Cheetah” tanks from the stocks of the German arms industry to allow Ukraine – and U-turn.

What do you expect from Scholz now?

What are Strack-Zimmermann’s goals with this sample survey? “Of course not, as some have rumored, to introduce the Chancellor – I invited him for an interview. Without wanting to anticipate the exchange: Also to find out how far the Chancellor will go in the coming months – the war in Ukraine should continue in the coming months, ”she says in an interview tagesschau.de.

The relationship between the two has probably been pretty cold since the beginning of the war. The two obviously have very different views on the management style that is currently in demand: Scholz reported in one over Easter rbb-Interview that could be interpreted in the direction of critical MPs like Strack-Zimmermann: “It is very clear that in such a situation there is always someone who speaks up and says: ‘I want things to go in this direction , and that’s leadership. ‘ I have to say to some of these guys and girls, ‘Because I do not do what you want, that’s why I’re leading. “

Strack-Zimmermann has “very disciplined combat control,” say her fans – she currently gives the FDP a profile at the traffic light – like hardly any other FDP politician. She was also celebrated for this at the party conference in May.

Image: dpa

Shortly afterwards, Strack-Zimmermann announced in a ZDF interview, though without naming: “We must lead. Not only financially, but also militarily. And for those who do not want to take on this role, I say, sit down possibly. the wrong place at the wrong time. “

She dares something – for some it is too much

“Strack-Zimmermann is looking hard at Scholz,” read the newspaper’s headline. It will not bother you. In general, she is someone who likes to share – also via the SMS service Twitter. But with her fearlessness, she at least seems quite authentic – and can thereby also arouse a longing for such a type of politician in the country: straightforward, unpleasant and argumentative.

What she is sensitive to, however, is when her integrity is questioned. For example, in the case of criticism from the anti-NATO left, which appears to be quite simple: They are now pleading for arms deliveries to boost the arms economy. After all, she also comes from Düsseldorf, the headquarters of the arms group and the “cheetah” manufacturer Rheinmetall – where she worked for a long time as the first mayor. “This is really the worst!” She’s outraged.

The LobbyControl Association is attacking her for her honorary membership in the presidium of the “Förderkreis Deutsches Heer eV” – a lobby association in the pre-parliamentary space, which aims to exchange policies with the arms industry on procurement issues. This is not compatible with the chairmanship of the Defense Committee. However, defense politicians from the CDU and SPD also sit in the presidium – and their predecessor Hellmich was also a member of the presidium.

It can be assumed that some in the SPD’s parliamentary group, but above all in the chancellery, would prefer Strack-Zimmermann to run their office a little quieter and concentrate on a committee chairman’s actual party-political moderating work – as before, ie. okay Hellmichs times.

With information from Martin Schmidt and Bianca Schwarz, ARD capital studio

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