In the days after the G20 Hamburg summit, the revision began, what caused the riots, how they could have been prevented, and who is the one to blame. There are some heated talks between the parties, especially the at the moment governing parties CDU and SPD. These discussions could influence the outcome of the German federal election on September 24. After some more or less unanimously time of coalition, the front lines now begin to harden, just in time for the beginning election campaign.
The opinions by politicians throughout the parties are quite opposite. The state of Hamburg is governed by a red-green coalition, by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and a green party (Die Grünen). Members of CDU, the Christian Democratic Union, blame the Hamburg Senate, that does not take the matter of leftist extremism serious. Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière considers the events of the weekend as “turning point in looking at left-wing extremist scene”. CDU politician Jens Spahn even accuses parts of the SPD of “being blind on their left eye”. “Being left” is attached with a negative meaning since the weekend, the SPD as a tending to be left party, has to defend itself by judging the violent protestors, even when there is no relation between them. The call for more internal security gets louder these days, and the voters do not trust the social democrats in this topic.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel is in the center of accusations by Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel by the SPD. According to him, Merkel is the one to blame for the chaotic scenes in the streets of Hamburg, since she decided to host the G20 summit in a city, where the extreme left-wing scene has a strong community. Olaf Scholz, the SPD mayor of Hamburg is criticized by politicians and the Hamburg citizens equally, for underestimating the possible damages by the protests in the weeks before the summit, but Merkel should also be made responsible. Defending himself against the accusations of metaphorical standing close to the protestors, Gabriel answered, that the demonstrators did not follow political goals, but rather are “dangerous criminals, maybe even terrorists”.
The G20 summit unofficially marks the begin of the election campaign, so it is obvious that the opinions of the two major parties tend to separate. But with the attack on chancellor Merkel by Sigmar Gabriel, it will be difficult for the two parties to continue their work for the next two months. For the SPD the likelihood of winning the election is very low, so they have to fight for another coalition with the CDU, to maintain their government function. With the growing conflict, this option seems to get out of reach.
In the weeks before the G20 summit, Angela Merkel hoped to send out a positive image for the upcoming German federal election in September. She did not succeed with this tactics, the pictures of rioting extremists dominated the media. But those riots, and the discussions they started, could still help her. Not by succeeding with her own political agenda and goals, but by the negative consequences this summit caused to the SPD.