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Seehofer attempts a revitalization of Guttenberg, brings him back to German politics

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Horst Seehofer, Bavarian Prime Minister, asserts at the CSU party convention that Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg should play a major role in the party after the federal elections.
Source: flickr

Guttenberg – Comeback desired by the people

Benoît Rinnert | translated by: Benoît Rinnert | 2013. March 09. 23:32

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (40) is a charismatic man – and a competent politician. He could bring Germany forward in these times of crisis.

The announcement of a possible comeback of the charismatic Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg into politics has caused public turmoil and has sparked discussions all throughout Germany. Fortunately, the belief that Guttenberg is not to be trusted is not widely held and is generally illegitimate.

Two years ago the former Federal Defence Minister had to resign prematurely after accusations of plagiarism in his doctoral dissertation. He abandoned all his posts in March 2011. Nevertheless, many still assume and hope that these unfortunate events did not cast any long-term pallor over his illustrious career.

*A highly qualified man

First of all there are several explanations for his revival: Germany has not had such a qualified politician with a real personality in quite a long time. Guttenberg is someone of international repute and highly respected. Initially, his aristocratic roots lead him into the foreign ministry but on 20.02.2009 the young politician was appointed Federal Minister of Economy and Science of the Grand Coalition. In cooperation with Peer Steinbrück he had to face the effects of the world financial crisis and quickly developed a rescue plan for the carmaker Opel. He mastered this task with flying colours. Afterwards, he switched office to the head of the ministry of defence, where he solved the problem of German employment in Afghanistan. Moreover, under huge public pressure, he reformed the Bundeswehr in June 2011 and abolished the obligatory military service. His organization talent and his ability to find compromises has earned him impressive popularity amongst the German population. Furthermore, he is still enjoying a good reputation within his own party and was nearly a nominee for the European Parliament at a party convention last October. Was that a first step towards his political comeback?

*An indispensable part of Merkel’s government

From a strategic perspective, it is a disadvantage for Angela Merkel to do without Guttenberg. One can remember that after first accusations of plagiarism the public sentiment did not immediately turn against the Freiherr (baron) and current surveys prove that a majority of Germans react positively about a possible comeback. For both the electoral campaign of the CSU and the CDU he could play an important role: as a young politician he can bring different perspectives into the ageing government that has been in power for 8 years. To quote Angela Merkel in 2009 he was “appointed for the office of Federal Ministry of Defence – a task that he fulfils perfectly”. This remains the focus of this argumentation: a politician should be judged by his work, success and resourcefulness and not by a media-exacerbated, personal matter. The plagiarism scandal cannot and shall not be completely neglected and forgotten but it should stay a personal matter between Guttenberg and the judiciary.

Thus, it is desirable for Germany to bring back its most competent politician and moreover, his popularity could help the CDU/CSU to win the Federal Elections next fall. This is why the Freiherr can count on two pillars of support. Firstly, his own party represented by the party leader Horst Seehofer and the European delegate Monika Hohlmeier continue to vest in him absolute trust. The latter considers Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg one of the most qualified politicians in Germany and would be pleased by his decision to re-enter the political scene in Germany. Secondly, he has the unlimited support from his wife Stephanie, and the two are quite a well known couple. Already two years ago the couple was one of the most popular shots for German and international journalists in Germany and abroad. He has not lost his glamour and charisma – an effect that many others like Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle try to no avail, achieve.

 

Seehofer’s Crazy Idea

Anja Noster | translated by: Anja Noster | 2013. March 09. 23:32

In a letter to the members of the CSU in 2012 Guttenberg recently explained that he will not come back into German politics. This has recently changed with the announcement of a possible comeback of the popular politician.

Rumours about a possible comeback of the former Federal Minister of Defence Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg into politics have been around for quite a while but now the Prime Minister and Chair of the CSU brought this topic back into focus while the plagiarism scandal about Minister of Education Annette Schavan was still omnipresent. Horst Seehofer declared at the CSU party convention that Guttenberg should play a major role in the party after the federal elections. But what tasks will he be given and more importantly, what can the man that Germany has lost confidence in actually achieve?

*The accusations…

When he was first accused of plagiarism in his doctoral dissertation in January of 2011, he denied everything and called the accusations “abstruse”. Through the work of the Anti-Plagiarism platform “GuttenPlag Wiki” more and more details were published about his dissertation and he eventually had to resign from all offices in March 2011 due to immense public pressure.

In a letter to the members of the CSU in 2012 he wrote that it will take “time and distance” to work off mistakes and guilt. This is why he does neither intend to present himself in the 2013 federal elections nor be part of the German political scene in the long run. It seemed as if he had accepted his guilt and attempted penance – but appearances are deceiving.

The fall of the former Federal Minister of Defence caused an outburst of outrage from scientist and from broad parts of the population. A reasonable reaction, considering that he had broken the moral codes of academic honesty: scientific work means to find and develop ideas together but definitely not to steal from somebody else. Such audacious misbehaviour deserves neither sympathy nor kindness, and definitely not second chance. After all, we have to interpret this kind of behaviour and ask ourselves what else this man tries to hide.

*… Not even the slightest display of regret.

Especially in the middle-class Guttenberg was a figure of hope until he violated their fundamental principles: honesty and upright morality. His retreat from politics allowed shallow hopes of improvement – but he too soon came back with criticism of the current government and a possible announcement that he wants to found his own party.

Therefore, we have to assume that his timeout has taught him neither self-awareness nor regret – there are no signs that he has learned anything from the scandal. This is sad for himself but it might just be the thing to prevent Germany and all Germans from further disasters.

*The broken pieces from Guttenberg’s time in office…

First of all there was his unsuccessful reform of the German army - Bundeswehr. Even today politicians from the CDU/CSU try to mend the bits and pieces from his miserable attempt and false proclamations back together. But also his handling with crisis in general (damaged envelopes from soldiers) or domestic problems like the incidents on the Marine-training-ship “Gorch Fock” were insufficient.

Because of all these reasons Freiherr (baron) von und zu Guttenberg’s chances of playing a major role or being appointed to a high office are very small. Moreover his place was filled by many young, ambitious politicians and he will have a very hard time recovering his image. Looking back on his pile of broken pieces in such a short period of time – we can be grateful that he fell so early.

 

This article convinced me.

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

This article convinced me.

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

The state of votes

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Guttenberg – Comeback desired by the people

Benoît Rinnert|translated by: Benoît Rinnert

Seehofer’s Crazy Idea

Anja Noster| translated by: Anja Noster

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