Instead of celebrating his farewell, Bavaria’s outgoing Prime Minister invites you to a recent Cabinet meeting. Even his permanent rival Söder finds warm words.
Eight camera crews and six photographers line the way to the State Chancellery. A black truck laden with all sorts of delicacies from a delicatessen business. It is already the first signs that the last Cabinet meeting of Horst Seehofer as Prime Minister is not quite as normal as he had announced. As self-confident Seehofer looks back on his nearly ten-year tenure, he wanted to make his farewell so modestly.
The former Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber invited the cabinet to bid farewell to the residence with gunmen and all sorts of football prominence. Seehofer invites you to the Cabinet meeting like every Tuesday. No flowers, no gift, only fruit salad and coffee are on the table. For the day of honor Seehofer has tied one of his white-blue ties, but that’s about it. With a soft smile, he takes the flickering lightning, amuses himself briefly with State Chancellor Marcel Huber on all the effort and then tells the photographers: “Are you not done yet?” And to his colleagues: “I welcome you to our last Cabinet meeting in this formation.” Only “doing the day’s work”, more is not on the program.
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He then lost two sentences in the press conference for the “day’s work”, many more sentences he used in farewell, in gratitude to his cabinet and his staff and for his legacy. “I have always had the little people in mind,” he says. The balance between economy and social affairs had succeeded in Bavaria. He sees the greatest success as a reconciliation with the Czech Republic and the economic situation in Bavaria, which has never been so good. “It was a wonderful time,” says Seehofer.
He was also asked after his greatest defeat, but he does not find an answer. Right now one thinks that on Friday with Markus Söder the man is to become prime minister, which Seehofer always wanted to prevent, then Seehofer says: “I am completely at peace with myself.” Söder he wishes “God blessing” and “a happy hand”. The cooperation will be “reasonable”. He wants to “try everything” to make it to Söders election on Friday. But it could also be that he already has appointments as Federal Interior Minister.
It is the back door, without which hardly a speech of Seehofer gets along. Lately, that’s also true for a small sideline against the faction. He resigns, not because Bayern are in bad shape, but because of the discussions in the parliamentary group, says Seehofer. But in the Christian Social Union you want to look forward. So Seehofer emphasizes that he has no grudge, no tribulation, at most a little melancholy. In Berlin, he will stay loyal to his policy style of “political unrest” as interior minister, he announces. For Bavaria, however, it says for him: “The work is done.”
“Farewell words have to be short like declarations of love,” wrote the writer Theodor Fontane. Seehofer’s farewell words were not that short after all, and even the declarations of love at the farewell-takers are usually quite detailed and sound from all sides, even from those who discovered their love late. “Ten years Horst Seehofer were good years for Bavaria,” says Markus Söder, who only has to sleep three more times until his big day. “Very, very good years”, he adds and calls the last cabinet meeting Seehofer “a bit historically.” Looking back at his time with Seehofer, Söder, he could only recognize the “one or the other moment,” which was not easy for us both “. “Even if you wear pink glasses, polar bears do not turn into raspberries,” once said CSU forefather Franz Josef Strauss, but only marginally.
Without any glasses, Economics Minister Ilse Aigner is sure to get her thanks. Seehofer had Bavaria in an absolute top position and managed the most serious crises from the financial crisis to the fateful year 2015, when hundreds of thousands of refugees came, Aigner said during her tribute in the cabinet.
There it was finally a little solemn. As they worked the agenda, there was salmon and beef fillet and at the end a glass of wine to toast. Then Seehofer, who did not want any gifts, then got something with him: a CD with all the cabinet meeting minutes of the past ten years. To read, as a cabinet member says. Whether he deepened during the car trip to Berlin this Tuesday in the approximately 400 sessions of the past ten years, Seehofer remains secret.
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