The SPD wants to fight the AfD with a security electoral campaign. The far-right, says the prime minister, “will tremble before the SPD.”

Prime Minister Woidke smiles at a police officer

Acting with law and order as father of the State of Brandenburg: SPD Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke, 62 Photo: Britta Pedersen/dpa

HAWK LAKE taz | Dietmar Woidke leans towards the children. Dietmar Woidke talks to police officers. Dietmar Woidke listens to the farmers. This is the SPD's announcement for the autumn elections in Brandenburg. The September 22 elections may be the only elections in 2024 that end with a positive result for the federal SPD. If so, it is thanks to the Prime Minister, who has been in power for eleven years, quietly and unassumingly.

The 62-year-old is not an impressive speaker. His strong point is direct conversation, in which he seems simple, pragmatic and witty. And more like a mayor. Woidke's speech on Saturday afternoon at the SPD state conference in Falkensee was clear even by his standards: “People who need access have a firm anchor with us,” he says. This can be expressed more elegantly. The fact that people have “taken a sip from the bottle when it comes to promoting sport” is not necessarily a metaphor.

But style notes do not currently count for the SPD Brandenburg. It still trails the AfD in the polls, although the trend appears to be changing. The SPD has governed Brandenburg for 34 years. It is a kind of state party, although it only has 6,000 members; being weaker than AfD is a nightmare.

This scenario disciplines the comrades. Woidke is chosen as the leading candidate with 97 percent. Party conferences before major elections are never the scene of controversy, but the level of harmony at Falkensee is unusual. There are no candidates for the fight. The government program is approved. There are no major modifications. The head of the Juso, Leonel Richy Andicene, praises the program without making critical comments, and the Minister of Education, Steffen Freiberg, praises the commitment of the Juso. These tones tend to be more familiar in the CDU.

SPD Trinidad Country, Party, State Parent

Even at party electoral conferences there is sometimes a conflict that is resolved in the end. Not in Falkensee. Nothing controversial is discussed, not a word about Russian politics. After Woidke's speech, the SPD ministers presented the successes of the last five years. Many people don't seem to care about that anymore. The conference presidium reminds us several times to please be a little calmer. In reality, the numbers are not bad. Brandenburg's economy has grown twice as fast as that of the federal government over the past five years. More jobs have been created in the crisis region of Lausitz than were lost to coal. “Financially we took Brandenburg into the Champions League,” was Woidke's rather bold assessment.

After 2025, the SPD wants to hire 500 new police officers and after daycare centers, daycare centers and after-school care centers should also be free. Security and stability, that is the motto with which the SPD wants to defeat the AfD. Woidke praises border controls with Poland, which have “reduced irregular migration” and promises security through a strong state.

The Brandenburg SPD recently let its green coalition partner know that it takes its public order image seriously. In the vote on cannabis in the Federal Council he voted in favor of a postponement, against the agreement. Reason: Police are overwhelmed by new rules. The Brandenburg SPD does not consider cannabis to be a winning issue. More for Berlin's burden, such as the gas tax and the heating law.

The SPD wants to compete less with its coalition partners CDU and the Greens than with the AfD in the fall. The far right is already “trembling before the SPD,” said Woidke with tremendous self-confidence. The calculation behind it: almost half of AfD voters can imagine themselves voting for another party. It is addressed to: Police, Stability, Woidke.

“We are the party of Brandenburg,” says Woidke, totally patriotic. The SPD is based on the suggested identity of country, party and father, which was invented in North Rhine-Westphalia under Johannes Rau. She bets that in the fall people will count more than programs or sophisticated rhetoric. The strategy is not desperate: in a direct election, only a small percentage would vote for the AfD or CDU candidate. And 51 percent for Dietmar Woidke.

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