“Everything is fine”

Kurt Beck reacted indignantly to the question of power. "It’s about a difficult question of content and not about this downright harebrained classification right, left, above, below, in front, behind," the SPD leader said. It was "nonsensical" to debate whether one wing had prevailed. It was 0.40 a.m. Monday morning, Beck had previously spent more than four hours discussing rail privatization with state and district chairmen.

In this regard, "everything is fine," Beck summed up the deliberations. "I am pleased that there is a joint proposal from the party leadership, which is also so represented by the state and district chairmen," the party leader emphasized. Most recently, he had advocated that, in addition to the rail network, local transport should also remain in state hands. Now, in addition to freight, all passenger traffic is to be opened up to investors, but only up to a maximum of 24.9 percent. But even the new proposal of partial privatization light does not really appeal to the left of the party. Former Juso leader Bjorn Bohning still sees the danger of too much influence on corporate policy if a quarter of the shares are owned by private investors. SPD parliamentary group vice-chairman Ludwig Stiegler, meanwhile, considers the compromise to be balanced and compared the debate to a ship that has sailed around all the cliffs and "hasn’t hit any sides". From Stiegler’s point of view, the question of power has "not arisen at all".The leadership question, however, did arise for Beck, who had made rail privatization a top priority. His proposal to keep local public transport out of the privatization process was not only rejected by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), but was also controversial within his own party.It was also not the first time that Beck had to contend with considerable opposition within the SPD. When unemployment benefit I was extended last year, Beck ultimately got the party behind him, but snubbed then-Vice Chancellor and Labor Minister Franz Muntefering (SPD). Beck had also ill-prepared the swing in the party to give the SPD state associations a free hand in dealing with the Left Party. The result is currently disastrous poll results for Beck. Even SPD supporters would rather elect Merkel as chancellor than their party leader. Beck expressed satisfaction with the solution to rail privatization. "This is great progress," the party leader said that very night. He withheld the details in view of the SPD working group, which is meeting once again. Finance Minister Peer Steinbruck (SPD) can also live with the compromise that has now been reached, even though the state’s hoped-for revenues will be reduced if only a quarter instead of half of the rail operations are privatized. He was "very much in agreement" with the solution unanimously found by the narrower party leadership. "I think it is important that we have found this line," Steinbruck said.

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