DThe meeting took place on the evening of June 10th, at least one of the few certainties that everyone can agree on. The new Hamburg Senate was sworn in in the morning of this day, a rather unadorned event this time, but a reason for joy for those appointed.
Interior senator Andy Grote (SPD) hosted an evening meeting. Whereby host is also such a questionable word, because it was by no means a “celebration” or even a “party”, Grote assured. But only a “joint gastronomic visit” and thus, according to his reading, not forbidden by the regulation that he, as an interior senator, had co-issued.
Since the standing reception became public more than a week and a half later, Grote has been heavily criticized, the fine office is investigating whether the senator has violated the law. The opposition sees Grote’s authority as the first mayor not amused, and for the inner senator the painful path to realization began: It could be narrow. The memo of a memorable week:
Monday morning, June 22: Andy Grote has so far expressed his regret, but has not yet really apologized. Then there is a telephone call with Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD), who actually keeps a lot on Grote, who has defused the tiresome topic of burglary by setting up a special commission, otherwise the police force is quiet. In the election campaign, internal security was on the credit side of the SPD despite the G-20 disaster.
In this phone call, Tschentscher is said to have given his anger some air – after all, the two had marched side by side as advocates of strict protective measures through the months, and now that. Grote should really apologize until the afternoon, and it must also be clear that nothing is going to happen and do not repeat such events. Then Grote could stay in office, despite all credibility problems. Tschentscher knows how narrow this ridge is. In the evening he publicly criticizes Grote. The senator himself recorded a social media video and apologized “for the impression that could have been made”.
Greens publicly criticize only cautiously
Monday at noon: Dirk Kienscherf, parliamentary group leader of the SPD citizenship group, is preparing the evening parliamentary group meeting at which Grote is to explain himself. The SPD is also debating where the piercing mail from which the media was alerted comes from. One answer: Since Johannes Kahrs has released the SPD district chairman Mitte by resigning, a successor solution is needed. Grote could have been a candidate for this too, but a larger group in Mitte wanted to prevent that – which has now been achieved. After the meeting, Kienscherf said that the faction was fully behind Grote as an internal senator, but that criticism had also been raised. Goal: close the rows.
Tuesday, June 23: Grote has to explain himself in the Senate, there is also a lot of criticism here, the media coverage of the day is devastating. Grote is sometimes smiled at by his Senate colleagues for his productions, but the standing reception went too far. None of the colleagues had celebrated in such a setting. Senate spokesman Marcel Schweitzer comments at the state press conference: The red-green Senate had shared the view, “It was a mistake and it happens once. The fine will clarify everything else. ”The CDU renews its request for resignation.
The criticism of the Greens remains cautious, because they do not want Grote to be replaced now – because Tschentscher would then have to implement his announcement that a woman will fill the next vacant Senate post. The Greens fear that Mayor Carola Veit (SPD) would be this woman – the affection for her, which also likes to appear brisk and pithy, is considered to be rather underdeveloped. Then prefer to continue with a weakened grote.
Thursday evening, June 25th: They stand closely together, the heads of the police and the protection of the constitution, who are invited to the interior committee that evening. In the middle is Grote, black mask, covered suit, it is supposed to be about meetings in Corona times in general in the large ballroom of the town hall. But actually everyone is waiting for agenda item 2, “Interior Senator Andy Grote and the Corona Rules”.
Grote seems to hit the right sound this time. He no longer apologizes for the “impression that could arise”, but becomes clearer. “It wasn’t a small mistake. Something like that mustn’t happen, especially not to me. I apologize to all Hamburgers who themselves suffered from the corona restrictions. ”He sticks to his firewall: The meeting did not have the characteristics that one understands by a party. A host role, increased alcohol consumption and a party mood are criteria that define the regulation more precisely.
“There is no upper limit to the number of visits to restaurants,” emphasizes Grote again. The meeting took place in a well-ventilated adjoining room, there was no music and no “exuberance”. None of his invited acquaintances advised him against the meeting or canceled it. The opposition’s line is clear: Grote claimed a privilege that was denied to all other citizens who canceled their weddings, birthdays and celebrations. Representatively, Anna von Treuenfels (FDP) asks: “With which authority do you want to enforce the corona rules now?” Dennis Gladiator (CDU) says: “If the reception was legally correct in his opinion, why is Grote so sorry for his re-appointment party ? “
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