Traffic light coalition: will Lauterbach not become a minister because he is not a woman?

The SPD politician Karl Lauterbach is a corona expert with a degree from Harvard. However, he has not been appointed health minister.

He’s next to the virologist Christian Drosten the ultimate corona explainer: Karl Lauterbach. There is no more eloquent expert in the SPD parliamentary group. As in 2013 and 2017, he helped negotiate the coalition agreement. But it is not a sure-fire success for the health economist, doctor and epidemiologist to also become a minister.

Lauterbach’s cell phone is usually switched on. And everyone, really everyone, rings the bell: the Chancellor, SPD country leaders, the party leadership, regularly also Scholz, and the media anyway. Lauterbach has over 657,000 followers on Twitter. It wasn’t until last night that he tweeted about a study into early vaccination breakthroughs. The delegate Lauterbach leads the restless life that the doctor Lauterbach would not recommend to anyone.

Lauterbach was often right with his Corona predictions

The 58-year-old predicted a super summer in January – purely epidemiologically, mind you – and a difficult autumn in September, and, as so often, he was right both times. Various fact-checking teams have checked his forecasts. An example: On September 21, 2020, he said on a talk show that if all the circumstances remain that way, you will head for 7,000 new infections per day in “four to five weeks”.

The incidence was just 15, the medical officer Andreas Gassen saw himself provoked to contradict: “Mr. Lauterbach, it doesn’t work that way.” It was okay. One month later, on October 18, the RKI registered 6901 new infections.

Can Lauterbach also do more than a pandemic?

There is no doubt that the epidemiologist is very knowledgeable and would be an ideal health minister, especially in the pandemic. Lauterbach is trusted to lead an apparatus and organize political majorities. And yet the man is not set.

Scholz made it clear that he did Crisis management want to attract. Above all, he feels obliged to fill his cabinet equally with women and men. If, after the FDP, the Greens also tear the fifty-fifty quota, it is up to the SPD to restore parity. As things stand, he has jobs for four or five women, but only one man, a maximum of two. Scholz is by no means pressured from within his own ranks to bet on “Karl”.

“I’m a Lauterbach fan, really,” asserts one of the parliamentary group, “but agreements with him are valid for 24 hours.” Elke Ferner from the German Women’s Council, former chairwoman of the Working Group of Social Democratic Women and parliamentary deputy, recalls: “In the end, he wasn’t always there when it came to implementing parliamentary group resolutions,” she told our editorial team.

Also read: Lauterbach on “Maybritt Illner” – was he wrong with his demands?

As health minister, Lauterbach would face an army of lobbyists

Who a Ministry you don’t have to be an expert. He has to get used to it, be able to manage an apparatus and, of course, work through the coalition agreement, and last but not least, “support compromises that you may not like yourself,” says Ferner. Above all, he or she has to be “robust with regard to the various lobby groups in the healthcare sector. I have seldom seen an area that is so driven by self-interest: the pharmaceutical industry, health insurance companies, hospitals, the medical profession. “

However, Lauterbach is trusted to do that. He is fearless. And independent. He does not owe his place in the Bundestag to a state list. He was directly elected in his Leverkusen constituency.

In the end, it does not speak against Lauterbach that he annoys many or that some are bothered by his long-term media presence. It’s just that women can also be considered for what may be the most demanding task these days, “especially for this department,” says Ferner.

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There are enough female candidates for the Ministry of Health

“There are several state ministers who would be able to do this job.” The group of candidates includes the SPD medical expert Sabine Dittmar, but also the women who negotiated the coalition agreement with Lauterbach: the Lower Saxony state minister Daniela Behrens, the Bavarian MP Ronja Endres or the Magdeburg parliamentary group leader Katja Pähle.

Likewise, the former drug commissioner, state health minister and today’s parliamentary group leader in the Mainz state parliament, Sabine Bätzing-Lichtenthäler, as well as environment minister Svenja Schulze, who has to look around for a new task. “If you want to find a woman, you will find one,” the women politician also says with conviction.

“There are others who can do that, this is not about me,” says Lauterbach. Conversely, he has been working in the field for a long time, “so it would be a surprise if I basically didn’t want to do that”. With a ministerial office, Scholz would involve him. Without an office he will be all the more on all channels. Real minister or shadow minister, that is the question.

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