“Everything has its time,” writes Lucia Puttrich as a reason for not wanting to continue after the state elections next year. The Hessian Minister for Federal and European Affairs explained this week that she had worked full-time in politics for 30 years. The statement by the environment minister, who announced her withdrawal a few days earlier, sounded similar. She wanted to have more time for her family, said Green Priska Hinz. Interior Minister Peter Beuth (CDU) and Social Affairs Minister Kai Klose (Greens) also want to have more time for private matters and therefore want to reorient themselves, according to their environment. This means that four ministers in the eleven-strong cabinet of Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU) are about to leave politics. Two Greens, two Christian Democrats. The SPD faction leader Günter Rudolph even recognizes signs of dissolution in the cabinet. “Black-green falls apart into its individual parts.”
Interior Minister Beuth is the first to announce his withdrawal from politics
It started two months ago with Interior Minister Beuth. Like Boris Rhein, the then president of the state parliament, the CDU politician intended to succeed Volker Bouffier as Prime Minister of Hesse last year. Rhein and Beuth are friends, together they put pressure on Bouffier from within the party to arrange his successor. Then they offered themselves—Bouffier and the party officials. Although Beuth is valued as interior minister in the CDU, there was concern that the many scandals he endured as minister could have weighed on him in the state chancellery.
Beuth still has to clarify the background to the right-wing extremist chat content of the Hessian police, which became public in the course of the investigation into the “NSU 2.0” threatening letter case. Beuth’s Ministry of the Interior is also responsible for the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which years earlier had classified the right-wing murderer of politician Walter Lübcke as “cooled off”. The minister will have to justify himself to a committee of inquiry next year. Rhein, on the other hand, was considered unencumbered, one with which you can also win more votes in the middle. Beuth signaled early on that he would be leaving politics as a result – by no means as a bad loser, as they say.
Minister in office until the next state election
So why are four ministers announcing their resignation now? One year before the state election, the parties have to draw up constituency candidates and lists. When places become available, it takes time to find successors. Three of the four ministers helped get Schwarz-Grün on the road in 2014. You belong to the Bouffier generation. On the Green side, Environment Minister Hinz also stood up for representing the coalition line loyally to the outside world and never publicly saying a bad word about the alliance partner. Like Beuth, she was considered a pillar of black and green. The 48-year-old Minister of Social Affairs Klose was the green state chairman until he came into the cabinet in 2019. His portfolio also included health policy during the pandemic, which he described as grueling.
Rhein interprets the fact that the ministers want to continue until the election as a sign that their withdrawal has nothing to do with him. He praised them as politicians not glued to their chairs. However, they have a lot of work ahead of them before the summer break. Rhein will have to counteract the impression that a good part of the cabinet is about to bail.