SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert has made his party’s omissions in the election campaign partly responsible for the poor performance in the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia. “We could have been even clearer in the escalation that it can really be a close decision in the end,” said Kühnert on Monday in the ZDF morning magazine. At the same time, Kühnert rejected the fact that the historically poor SPD result was also a vote on Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s (SPD) policy.

Kühnert called it “quite a matter of course” that CDU Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst, as the election winner, would claim government and hold talks. “But in a parliamentary democracy you lead a government when you get a majority in parliament behind you,” says Kühnert. “He can only get this majority with parties that have been in opposition to him for the last five years and have passionately criticized him and his CDU for the lack of climate policy, housing policy or daycare policy.”

Kühnert emphasized that federal politics had overshadowed state issues in the election campaign, at the same time he said that Scholz had received a lot of encouragement. “Of course, federal political issues overlaid this election campaign – unfortunately one has to say – it was little about local state politics,” he said. War and uncertainty about the “galloping price development” played a major role.

“I haven’t seen people draw the conclusion from this: They can do it and they can’t.” After an election like this, there is always a longing for it to become very clear what the mistake in Berlin is. “But I also experienced a lot of encouragement about the Chancellor’s policy in Ukraine.”

Kühnert said that the “questions of everyday life” had been neglected in the election campaign. “As a society, we have to find a way of talking about everyday issues without being ignorant of the world outside.”