The former President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maaßen, wants to join the Bundestag for the CDU in southern Thuringia. But he has a serious opponent: the former biathlete and Olympic champion Frank Ullrich. He competes for the SPD – and has good chances.
He wants to dispute the constituency of Suhl – Schmalkalden-Meiningen – Hildburghausen – Sonneberg with Hans-Georg Maaßen: Frank Ullrich, former biathlete and Olympic champion. The 63-year-old competes for the SPD in southern Thuringia to win the direct mandate and thus to enter the Bundestag.
His sporting ambition could help him: Ullrich is a nine-time world champion, four-time overall World Cup winner and even won a gold medal for the GDR in Lake Placid in 1980. From 2012 to 2015 he was also the national trainer for cross-country skiers. At the beginning of February of this year he joined the SPD. ‘He was an old social democrat and gave me these values,’ said Ullrich about his grandfather in the SPD newspaper‘Forward’. In 2010, Ullrich took part in the Federal Assembly as an elector for the SPD, which elects the Federal President. ‘At that time I already sensed: If so, it could only be the SPD for me.’
From biathlete to Maassen competitor
He became a city councilor, and in 2019 he ran for the state parliament in Thuringia. But the move did not succeed, an AfD candidate was just ahead of Ullrich. Now it should be one step higher: the Bundestag. ‘I’m going into the race for the direct mandate and fighting to the finish line. I also deal with it offensively, but you shouldn’t be arrogant. As an athlete, I always said: If you were on the podium, go back down as quickly as possible and ground yourself, ‘he said,’ Forward ‘.
Actually, he should compete against the CDU candidate Mark Hauptmann, who has so far represented the constituency in the Bundestag. But he resigned because of the ‘mask affair’. New opponent: the former President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maaßen. ‘It’s like in sport: competition stimulates business. However, I think it’s a shame that the CDU doesn’t manage to put up a local candidate, ‘said Ullrich, who has lived in Suhl since 1979.
But how does he want to assert himself against Maaßen and the other direct candidates? In an interview with the‘Mirror’, said Ullrich: ‘I’m here for the down-to-earth Thuringians on site, for the problems that need to be solved in this region.’ He didn’t know what Maassen wanted to do. But it is ‘unmistakable’ that Maaßen is ‘fishing on the right edge’. ‘Maassen claimed in the local newspaper that he was not right-wing. But we all know his expressions, ‘said the 63-year-old. He also does not believe that Maassen will show up in his constituency after the election. ‘Maassen is an outsider,’ said Ullrich‘taz’.
Frank Ullrich in surveys in front of Hans-Georg Maaßen
And it doesn’t look bad for Ullrich. In his constituency there are CDU supporters: inside who distanced themselves from Maaßen and who valued Chancellor Merkel, they said‘Time’. Some CDU members have already written to Ullrich and offered support.
The surveys also see Ullrich ahead. According to a Forsa survey carried out on behalf of the left-wing association ‘Campact’ at the beginning of June, the former biathlete is lying in front of the former head of the protection of the constitution. 22 percent of the electorate would vote for the SPD candidate and only 20 percent Maaßen. 24 percent of those surveyed are still undecided. According to Forsa, it interviewed around 1,000 people eligible to vote in the 196 constituency, which includes the districts of Sonneberg, Hildburghausen, Schmalkalden-Meiningen and the city of Suhl.
What the survey also shows: Maaßen has quite a lot of supporters: inside the AfD. 30 percent of AfD sympathizers would have indicated that they would prefer to vote for Maaßen rather than the candidate of their own party. In addition, only a good half of the CDU supporters are convinced of the candidate of their own party. ‘I don’t take this mood very seriously,’ said Ullrich to theMDR. Although he is happy to be ahead, the election campaign has not yet started.
Ullrich wants to work for more sport
2009 wereAllegations against Ullrichraised that he should have been actively involved in the doping system of the GDR. Ullrich is said to have passed on and administered anabolic steroids to his athletes as a trainer in the 1980s. A few months later, a panel of experts came to the conclusion that Ullrich ‘neither instructed the use of doping substances nor administered any to athletes himself, nor did he monitor or control their intake.Ullrich also rejected later doping allegations.
That seems to have little effect on his popularity. He continues to be a local idol. In Trusetal, his birthplace, there is even a street named after him.
And what would Frank Ullrich want to do politics for if he is elected to the Bundestag on September 26th? It is – how could it be otherwise – sport. ‘Sport is not the problem, sport is the solution, especially in this phase.’ He derives topics such as sustainability, tourism, health and infrastructure from sport.
‘In sport as well as in politics, you have to fight very hard for success’
‘I would like to head for the sports committee in the Bundestag and give sport with all its facets a higher priority again, because physical and mental fitness play a decisive role in all areas of society,’ he told the ‘Spiegel’. But he is also interested in medium-sized companies, broadband expansion, education and climate policy, which must be ‘consistently advanced’.
‘In sport as well as in politics, you have to fight really hard to be successful. You have to deal with topics intensively, ‘says Ullrich. ‘You don’t become Olympic and world champions overnight, you need a lot of strength, ambition and willpower as well as staying power. (…) Keep calm and compromise, play in a team. That also applies to politics. ‘