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How much vision do you want? | TIME ONLINE


The word election duel consists of two parts, election and duel. The election will be in Hamburg in a month, on February 23, that's for sure. Before this afternoon, it was less certain whether there would be a duel in the Helmut Schmidt auditorium of Hamburg's Bucerius Law School, after all, the two largest opponents have been governing together for almost five years – Peter Tschentscher from the SPD as mayor and Katharina Fegebank by the Greens as his deputy.

According to the length of a football game with injury time, one can say: the concern was unfounded. The two top candidates did not look like government partners who announced a joint program, but like two politicians who did everything they could to differentiate themselves.

Roughly summarized, the first public encounter between Tschentscher and Fegebank in the election campaign, which was organized by ZEIT, revealed that the mayor praises himself for his sense of reality, for his view of the entire city, and sees in his opponent a woman with cloudy to flowery visions. The second mayor likes to try things out and inspire courage; What bothers her most about her current boss is that, from her point of view, he analyzes too coolly and rationally and thus does not really exhaust Hamburg's possibilities.

Specifically, it looks like this, for example when it comes to traffic: Katharina Fegebank and the Greens are planning a big hit in downtown Hamburg. They want to free the city from cars as much as possible. "So much for courage," she says on stage. Then she says that it is not so much about banishing the cars themselves, but about improving the quality of life. She has two small children with whom she is very seldom in the city center because there are no playgrounds or any green space. Fegebank thinks big and real life. Peter Tschentscher is completely different. He is not a fan of dazzling plans, he prefers to say that reality is complicated, and he gives the responsible Mayor, who promises nothing wild, but acts prudently: "Especially in the center, we should and shouldn't make any mistakes," he says. "This is Hamburg's business card."

Or on the subject of business: Katharina Fegebank wants the northern German federal states to work even closer together, that science be networked, that an innovation agency be founded. Peter Tschentscher replies that all of this sounds nice, but that the collaboration has been around for a long time. Fegebank criticizes that the SPD is not dealing properly with the port, that it feels ready to do more and more quickly in the industry, which is why it does not understand "why we sometimes go so anxious." She says that Hamburg can become a global leader in the field of renewable energies, and is annoyed that potential is not being used. Tschentscher counters: "But it is unusual when a top candidate complains about the decline in container handling in the port of Hamburg after ten years had been the Greens' declared goal of preventing the Elbe from being deepened."

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