What motivates us
Voting for the first time: two young Germans explain from their point of view what subjects politicians have been neglecting.
Leoni Roller, 18-years-old, high-school student
I’m a “Merkel child”. From the time I was in first grade, she’s been Federal Chancellor. Next year I’d like to take my A levels – we’ll see whether she’s still in power. I give her great credit for what’s she’s achieved, and I know she’s under enormous pressure. Still, I’m more for a change. Many of my friends see it similarly; we want change.
I look closely at the programmes of the individual parties. One subject that concerns and moves me a lot is the refugee question. Of course, Germany can’t keep on taking in everybody. But in my opinion we have to help these people as much as we can and integrate them instead of deporting them. At the same time, politicians should ensure that people can live in their own countries in peace and quiet. Anyone who gets my vote must also be clearly against racism.
Everyone should use his or her right to vote and inform themselves well before making a decision. Sometimes I hear from other people my age that they’re not going to vote. Others just vote for the same party as their parents do. I think that’s wrong.
Lukas Schneider, 21-years-old, university student
I have the feeling that many necessary debates haven’t been conducted in recent years – about education, for example. Student fees, Bafög, the state of the schools. It’s my impression that, especially before the Bundestag election, politicians are trying to reach rather older people. Of course, Germany has an aging population and this group of voters is correspondingly large. But this shouldn’t mean that other discussions are pushed away.
In general, I certainly feel the need for a change.
I’d also like to see a debate on justice. Germany is one of the richest industrialized countries in the world and has a substantial budget surplus. It’s time to consider how this wealth can be consistently allocated. Climate and environment are two further issues that play a role in how I’ll cast my vote.
I belong to the Merkel Generation and I certainly feel the need for a change. When I talk to people my age about the election, I often hear that they find the differences between the major parties too slight. They ask themselves: How can I be sure my vote makes a difference at all?
Protocol: Helen Sibum