Portrait - the counter model

The counter model

Very ambitious and competitive: Annalena Baerbock only moved into the Bundestag eight years ago. Now she even has a chance of sitting in the Chancellery soon

Photo: Metodi Popow / SZ Photo / dpa

On Monday the Greens will - for the first time in their history - nominate a candidate for chancellor for the federal election. There is much to suggest that it will be Annalena Charlotte Alma Baerbock. If you had to characterize the native of Lower Saxony in one sentence, it would mean: “She dares something!” Even when she ran for the federal chairmanship of the Greens in 2018, without even giving the already appointed co-chair Robert Habeck a sign , that was a brave leap for the then largely unknown 38-year-old member of the Bundestag. But now it is about reaching for the chancellorship - and that is in no way comparable with the Green party chairmanship.

One thing is certain: Baerbock has - whether the unwritten green laws - as a woman the right of first access. And yet she could have made it easy for herself and done without in favor of Habeck. That would have been the normal course of events a year ago. But now Baerbock has made up so much ground that she is the favorite for many. This puts her in a real quandary: If she does not run for office, she will disappoint her countless followers. If she is actually a candidate, she is taking full risk. Because the declared claim of the Greens is the Chancellery, and Habeck is still the far more well-known protagonist. Last Monday, the North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of the Interior Herbert Reul did not speak of Baerbock, but of Baerbaum at “Hart aber Fair”.

But Baerbock - as an ex-trampoline jumper at competitive sports level - has an extremely ambitious and competitive side. In addition, their great quality consists in, in contrast to the more philosophically interested "high-flyer" Robert Habeck, digging into the details of the subject matter. After all, she has long known that she would be very happy to run for office. To do without it would, so Baerbock honestly, be “a little stab in the heart”.

Because of her expertise and will to power, some are already drawing a parallel with Angela Merkel. But this comparison is far from reality. Because when Merkel ran for the first time for the Chancellery in 2005, at the age of 51, she had already been Federal Minister for seven years and then parliamentary group leader for seven years.

Baerbock, on the other hand - unlike Habeck - lacks any experience in a government office. As a reminder: The only solitary top candidate that the Greens ever had was Joschka Fischer in 2002 - and he had already been Foreign Minister for four years and previously long-standing parliamentary group leader. And his candidacy was all about the role of a strong junior partner on the side of the SPD. But now it's about the crown of politics. The Chancellery is the “death zone”, as Fischer once called it. And as a result, the candidate for chancellor is the death zone in the federal election campaign, in which everyone is put through their paces.

This shows that there is a fine line between hope and hubris. Especially for a 40-year-old who has so far not experienced anything professionally apart from green party politics and almost eight years in parliament.

On the other hand: Didn't Denmark, Finland or New Zealand show us that young, energetic women can govern a country excellently, especially in times of crisis? But Germany is not Denmark, some will argue, quite rightly.

Annalena Baerbock will have thought about all of this very carefully. In the end, she should do it anyway. The brutal power struggle between the two men in the Union will have reinforced this. And since Olaf Scholz is another specimen of the elderly white man who claims the chancellery, Baerbock would undoubtedly be the invigorating counter-model of a highly competent young woman with the future issue of climate protection in her luggage.

The real reason for Baerbock's candidacy is therefore likely to be the continued dominance of older white men. Incidentally, also in the intellectual space. Two of them - quite unintentionally - recently provided Baerbock with an assist. “Annalena Baerbock as Chancellor? There is no question that she can win the election in autumn and hold the office of Chancellor, ”said Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Claus Leggewie in the time generously firm, only to continue from above: “But that is not the only point. Now it's about more: How does a first green personality appear in the Chancellery in the domestic and global arena? (...) Politically, it is about power and its reflection. That brings us to Robert Habeck. (...) Robert Habeck thinks sustainably and reflexively. He has a special ability to think through the possible effects and side effects of political decisions. That is why we consider him the better candidate for Chancellor of the Greens. "

Why should an Annalena Baerbock not - rightly and rightly - say to herself: “Sustainable and reflexive? I can do that too! ”And with that - once again - to prove with her candidacy for chancellor:“ She dares something. ”And yet it would be, the Union's miserable drama teaches no less confidently, on one's own candidacy To do without in the end - whether out of respect for the task or the desire for the greatest possible success for the Greens.