He says he is a friend of upper franconia. He knows that the government district is an "enjoyment region" and the concept of the "dog bone is well known to him.
Hubert aiwanger, state and national chairman of the free democratic party and parliamentary party leader in the bavarian state parliament, is well informed when he stops by for an editorial interview with the bayerische rundschau in the run-up to a visit to the bildungswerk fur kommunalpolitik (education center for local politics) in thurnau. And he knows the dog bone not only, but he also has a decided opinion on the newly created state parliamentary constituency wunsiedel/kulmbach. "A gross political error", he says. One that in the future could lead to the fact that the rural regions had even less weight in the political debate.
Aiwanger already sees upper franconia at a disadvantage: in the discussion about the energy turnaround and especially in the debate about wind turbines, "one already has the impression that the politicians in munich regard northern bavaria as a 'second-class region. Of course, the bavarian is not an outspoken opponent of wind power.
Wind power as a huge opportunity
Wind turbines are "a huge opportunity for value creation in rural areas. The municipalities could benefit. However, a sensitive approach is advisable: "we must not rape the citizens if they don't want the wind turbines."
Aiwanger also knows the note of the farmers in upper franconia well. The parliamentary party leader is a specialist: he studied agriculture in weihenstephan, lives with his family on his own farm in the district of landshut – and knows what the small farmers in the state need: subsidies, and more than the large-scale agricultural businesses. But also protection from the EU's regulatory frenzy.
It can't be that the market is dominated only by the big chains, says aiwanger, who compares the corporations to the energy companies. One must look these enterprises exactly "on the finger". But above all, more effort must be made to strengthen the market power of farmers. "This is more important than distribution battles within agriculture for grants."
Hubert aiwanger can imagine a re-foundation offensive to strengthen the small direct marketers in the enjoyment region: "all the small restaurants, farmers, butchers and bakers that we have controlled to death in the last few years."
Ready for the coalition
Whether aiwanger and his free voters will actually be able to launch such offensives depends ultimately on the outcome of the state election from. Aiwanger has not always been affectionate with the CSU in recent years. Nevertheless: should the CSU be the strongest political force in the free state again after the election and go in search of coalition partners, then one is ready. "But we are not fixated on the CSU", he says. "The game is still open."
However, it is clear to him who his real competition is in the election in two weeks' time: martin zeil and the FDP. For them, just like for the free voters, it will be a matter of winning over the middle class of the electorate. "And there I just hope that we terrain do well at the expense of the FDP."
Aiwanger calmly and confidently disputes the discussion, whether it's about the CSU's idea for a home ministry, possibly in upper franconia ("a diversionary maneuver by seehofer"), or about regional proportional representation on the bavarian free democratic party's bundestag list wahler: "with peter dorscht from wiesenttal, we have an upper franconian in second place. If we get in, he's in."
At the very end, however, the party leader hits a bit of a snag. He knows what 6 out of 49 is, even if he doesn't play the lottery. But 6 out of 45? This makes him wonder. And the information that this was the women's quota on the bavarian federal list visibly put him in need of explanation. "We are not the quota party", he says after some hesitation.
The free voters were relaxed about it, whether man or woman – everyone pays the same, and as a reason for the fact that women are noticeably underrepresented not only on the bundestag list, but also in many municipal bodies, aiwanger cites the "biological situation" to. Example: his partner tanja schweiger, also a member of the state parliament and in the election campaign, is simply not as flexible at the moment because she is still breastfeeding their joint son. No question: the share of women in politics is not aiwanger's core issue.
It doesn't have to be: "you shouldn't force yourself and say that the world is only in order when you are at fifty-fifty". There are simply certain preferences as to where you end up professionally. Women tend to be more emotionally inclined to social professions rather than hard-core professions."
In his private life, of course, the man who describes himself as "conservative in values" is making an effort called to emancipation. Should his ten-month-old son laurenz ask him in ten years' time what he did when his son was very young, hubert aiwanger already knows what he will tell him: "I've been away a lot, but I've always tried to take care of him as much as time allows."
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