Olaf Scholz under fire from MPs’ criticism of compulsory vaccination

Olaf Scholz is familiar with the question-and-answer exercise in the Bundestag. He rubbed shoulders with it when he was finance minister. The novelty of this Wednesday January 12 is that he devoted himself to it as the new German chancellor and leader of a coalition made up of social democrats, environmentalists and liberals. Unsurprisingly, it was on the opposition side that the peaks came, in particular on the policy of combating the pandemic.

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The Christian Democrats (CDU / CSU), now the main opposition party, have tried to get word out about his specific plans on the thorny issue of the vaccination requirement.

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In November, Olaf Scholz spoke in favor of such a measure and expected it to be implemented by the end of March. However, this schedule seems difficult to keep while doubts multiply. Is such a project compatible with the Constitution when the vaccine has limited effects over time? Will it be effective without the creation of a national vaccination registry, which is very controversial across the Rhine? Finally, what about the Omicron variant? Added to this are the divisions of the new coalition in this area, with part of the liberals refusing any vaccination obligation.

To get around these pitfalls, Olaf Scholz lifted the respect of the voting instructions on this subject. The elected officials will vote in their soul and conscience. As for the government, it will not present a bill as such. The hand is left to the various political groups.

“Lack of leadership”

For the new Christian Democratic opposition, this restraint reflects a flagrant lack of leadership. “Leading the way is one of the executive’s tasks,” said a CDU deputy, demanding information on what the government was planning. Olaf Scholz, he stuck to his line of conduct. “I am in favor of a compulsory vaccination for all adults and without much bureaucracy” he specified, “in a personal capacity”. “I hold this measure necessary because we unfortunately do not have as many vaccinated as we would have liked,” he added, recalling that only 72% of the population is vaccinated against covid-19. “Not getting vaccinated has consequences for all of society” he recalled, not without ulterior motives for the far right present in the hemicycle.

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A few minutes earlier, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party had just received a call to order after its elected officials brandished placards demanding “freedom instead of division”. Opposed to the new measures imposed within the Bundestag – the vaccination pass and the wearing of an FFP2 mask are now compulsory in the hemicycle – this party also rejects identical restrictions in restaurants and it is standing against the vaccination obligation. Faced with an AfD deputy questioning him on the alleged “deaths” linked to the vaccine that the government would tend to “elude”, Olaf Scholz was firm. “Sixty million Germans are doubly vaccinated and are doing well. Stick to the facts yourselves, ”he cut short.

During this question-and-answer session, the new chancellor also defended his policy on the fight against inflation (5.3% in December), against the rise in the price of gas, gasoline and on the complete exit nuclear power by the end of 2022. “Getting out of nuclear power is the right solution,” says Olaf Scholz. “We have decided on another path, that of the massive development of renewable energies” he replied. The “real Scholz”, unsurprisingly, sober, a bit soporific, but determined.

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