In the TV duel between the North Rhine-Westphalian top candidates Hendrik Wüst (CDU) and Thomas Kutschaty (SPD), the big argument didn’t materialize. Only occasionally did the two candidates take a harder approach to the program broadcast live by Westdeutscher Rundfunk from Solingen – for example on the topics of internal security, education and housing. However, large parts of the discussion were so tough, dry and technocratic, as if the two lawyers were giving an uninspired law lecture.
The dominant topic right from the start was the suspected attack plans of a 16-year-old student in Essen, which became known earlier in the day. Against this background, both spoke out in favor of expanding the police force in order to be able to fight right-wing extremism and organized crime more effectively.
As far as the current state of the police in North Rhine-Westphalia is concerned, Kutschaty clearly criticized the strategy of the state government: for a functioning police work, not only more police officers are needed on the street, but also officials who solve the crimes.
“The criminal police is at the limit,” said Kuchaty. “It’s no wonder then that we’re at the bottom of the ranks when it comes to clear-up rates in the non-city states.”
The Ukraine war and the associated inflation were only marginally discussed. None of the candidates presented any particular ideas for improving the current situation.
Overlapping content in the election programs of the two parties was particularly evident in the game “Where is it written?”, in which Wüst and Kuchaty had to recognize the election program of their respective party in sentences read aloud. Since these were consciously chosen similar positions, both were sometimes wrong. There was also agreement on the question of possible coalition partners after an election victory: both Wüst and Kuchaty signaled a fundamental interest in government alliances with the FDP and the Greens.
According to the ZDF “Politbarometer”, the CDU is still slightly ahead of the SPD. According to the latest survey, Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst’s CDU would get 32 percent – two points more than in the previous week. The SPD was able to increase by one point to 29 percent.
In the survey published by the Wahlen research group on Thursday evening, the Greens ranked third with 17 percent (minus 1) and would therefore be the kingmakers. Because that would give a majority both for a coalition of CDU and Greens and very narrowly for a red-green government.
In the survey, the FDP came to 6 percent (minus 1), the AfD to an unchanged 7 percent. With an unchanged 3 percent, the left would have to worry about returning to the state parliament. However, a third of the 2254 respondents were still undecided as to whether and who they would vote for. When asked about the preferred head of government, Wüst was 40 percent ahead of Kuchaty with 35 percent.