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How was the election campaign?

Election candidates have been campaigning for themselves and their objectives for many weeks. Three of them sum things up here.

Maren van Treel, 19.09.2021
Election campaigning is teamwork.
© Getty Images/Westend61

Catarina Dos Santos Firnhaber (27, CDU)

Catarina Dos Santos Firnhaber
Catarina Dos Santos Firnhaber © Ralph Sondermann

The young politician says that the election campaign was different in many respects from what she had expected. To begin with, there was the Covid-19 pandemic. Then her home area in North Rhine-Westphalia was hit by the flood disaster in July. She concludes that, as a result, the federal election is all the more important now, “because it all depends on how we deal with such situations in the future”.

Despite the challenges, Ms Dos Santos Firnhaber says that the campaign had numerous positive aspects as well: “What I like most is getting to know completely different people, enterprises and stories.” And she was really happy to receive feedback following the conversations, especially when the focus was on content.

How has she survived the long election campaign? She says she naturally attends as many appointments as possible and fights for every single vote. But: “A politician is also a human being of course, and that’s why I take care of myself.” And in this respect her friends and family give her the support she needs.

Hakan Demir (36, SPD)

Hakan Demir
Hakan Demir © Hakan Demir

Hakan Demir found that the Covid-19 pandemic influenced the election campaign far more strongly at the beginning than now. He says he worked a lot with digital options, online conferences and live formats on social media. Meanwhile, he says there are numerous panel discussions with a return to direct conversations and debates, and this is something he much prefers.

He says the good thing is that you get to know 30 to 50 new people every day. “I listen to their stories and their worries, and I have the feeling that there’s a relationship, and that everyone benefits from these encounters.” But there are downsides as well, for instance, individual reactions by people who have challenged him because of his non-German roots.

Hakan Demir’s tip for everyone involved in election campaigning: “Eat healthily and always make space for small oases of rest and relaxation. That’s the only way you can get through things well.”

Felix Banaszak (31, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen)

Felix Banaszak
Felix Banaszak © Cornelis Gollnhardt

Felix Banaszak feels that the election campaign for the Bundestag has been especially intense, mainly because this election is a historical event. It is the very first time that the Greens have fielded a candidate for the chancellorship. “Our role is different from in the past. It’s a race for first place.”

He says he sensed a great deal of interest in his party during the campaign. A personal highlight was when the Greens candidate for the chancellorship, Annalena Baerbock, visited his home town of Duisburg at the beginning of August. Alongside the positive feedback, he says there were some very strong backlashes. And: “Staying motivated over such a long period is very challenging for everyone involved.” What can help? Taking a day or an evening off now and again, and doing something entirely different, even if the opportunities are rare. “It’s important to look after the human side of life.”


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