Not in the mood for “First Lady”: What will Olaf Scholz ‘wife Britta Ernst do in the future?
The question of whether Olaf Scholz will actually become Chancellor is as good as answered with the agreement of the traffic light parties. But there are plenty of question marks with a view to the future role of his wife Britta Ernst. On the day when the coalition agreement between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP was presented in Berlin, the 60-year-old made it clear where her focus was: on her position as Minister of Education in Brandenburg.
In a “Bild” interview on Wednesday, the SPD politician justified her decision to send all Brandenburg students to the Christmas vacation three days earlier because of the corona pandemic. On Thursday, she plans to take part in a press conference to train teachers on the subject of sexual abuse.
Britta Ernst: Chancellor’s wife and Minister of Education
When Scholz became first mayor of Hamburg in 2011, Ernst avoided taking on the classic role of first lady – and retained her political independence. When Scholz moves into the Chancellery, the subject will be on the table again.
In January, Ernst took over the chairmanship of the Conference of Ministers of Education (KMK) of the federal states as Brandenburg Education Minister – an important position, especially in times of Corona. Ernst has been Minister in Potsdam since September 2017. It remains to be seen whether she will continue her political career there as the wife of the Federal Chancellor. Because no spouse of a head of government has ever got away without representative tasks. The power couple Scholz / Ernst would have to reorganize themselves when they move into the Chancellery.
What Scholz thinks of questions about whether his wife will continue to work in the event of his chancellorship, he made clear at the end of July in a talk at the women’s magazine “Brigitte”. “That is a question that outrages me. I don’t know whether this will also be asked of men who are spouses, ”he said, taking the opportunity to highlight his wife’s successful political career.
Britta Ernst goes her own way as a politician
The two have been married since 1998 and have known each other for student days in Hamburg. Even in earlier times, the childless couple carefully kept a professional distance from the public.
While Scholz experienced his own ups and downs in state and federal politics, the trained clerk in the real estate and housing industry, who later studied social economics, went her own way in Hamburg – initially as a district and state member of parliament.
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At the same time, Ernst, who joined the SPD in 1978 at the age of 17, worked as a personal advisor for senators and as a research assistant for the Hamburg building authorities.The protocol role of the Hamburg First Lady was also not for Ernst, who prefers to deal with factual issues.
Britta Ernst: First Minister in Kiel, then in Potsdam
She turned her back on state politics and worked in the federal-state coordination office of the SPD parliamentary group in Berlin. In 2014 Ernst became Minister of Education in Schleswig-Holstein.
Britta Ernst and Olaf Scholz have been married since 1998. (Archive image)
After the SPD’s defeat in the local state elections in 2017, she lost her post. A little later, however, a new opportunity arose in Brandenburg: Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) brought the education expert to Potsdam. Ernst remained in office there even after the state elections in 2019.
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In the federal election campaign, Scholz, who is otherwise so cautious about private life, gave a few rare insights into his life. We learned that under pressure from his wife he discovered jogging for himself more than 20 years ago and that he could cook Königsberger Klopse.
The SPD politician also revealed that Britta Ernst was the love of his life. Without her he would be “definitely a completely different person” and, thanks to her, would be clearly a better one. (dpa / mp).