TV debates are a popular way of showing different candidates to a broad viewership, especially before important elections. On Sunday, September 3 there will be the long awaited TV debate between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and her contender Martin Schulz (SPD). On Wednesday, there was already a show with four candidates by the smaller parties: Christian Lindner (FDP – liberal party), Katja Kipping (Die Linke – left party), Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Die Grünen – green party) and Alice Weidel (AfD – right-wing party) were facing each other on television.

The first topic was about the police, and its role to guarantee more inner security inside Germany. All candidates had thirty seconds for short statements, and they all called for more police jobs, and more and better equipment. The FDP also demanded, that the educational barriers to enter a police career should be lowered, “it doesn’t need an academic grade, to become a good policeman” was one of his requests. The statements for the second topic, the refugee situation, differed a lot among the different candidates. While the left candidate said, that the right and the law for asylum cannot be quit, is the candidate of the AfD against uncontrolled immigration (some politicians of the party even called for a wall around Germany). The most detailed answer was given by FDP candidate Christian Lindner, that wants to make rational decisions, in accordance with the root causes for migration. Furthermore, he denied a “Obergrenze”, a maximum number of refugees per year, which has been demanded by the CSU for years.

In the fight against terrorism, the candidates want to prevent radicalization inside Germany, and also need to improve the cooperation between different states and state authorities. Expulsions of immigrants who have no right for asylum should be continued, according to the FDP, if necessary by threatening with economic sanctions. It is wrong to expulse immigrants who want to build a career in Germany, while others can stay, he continues. The candidate of the left party does not want to deal with calculated numbers, but rather wants to look at each individual. She argues, that expulsions to countries like Afghanistan are too dangerous, and would not comply with the law, in this point Göring-Eckhardt from the Green party agreed with her.

In another topic, solutions against social inequality, according to the candidates, may be the lowering of the social security contributions. The candidates agree, that the minimum wage is not enough today, but nobody can guarantee that the employers pay more than they are legally bound. The left party demands a higher minimum wage of 12€ per hour (8,50€ at the moment), but a mini job cannot be a permanent alternative to a regular job.

After the first minutes with some actual content, a huge part of the debate was more about personal attitudes of the candidates. While Christian Lindner tried to talk about politics, the moderator wanted to know if the politician looks attractive, if he is rather popular or maybe even vain. Also Alice Weidel was judged by her looks, or attitudes like her humor – dealing with her points of view was not the main target. The television show was clearly laid out to provoke the politicians with extreme statements, and not get some helpful information about the election. The discussion on Sunday between Merkel and Schulz is expected to be more serious – a debate between all candidates itself is definitely useful for the voters, but only if the contents are in the first place.

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