Emily Vontz is 22 years old and will take over the seat in the Bundestag from Heiko Maas, the former Foreign Minister, from mid-January. Why he is no longer there and who the young SPD talent is.

The Bundestag will be 34 years younger in January: Heike Maas, 56 years old, will give up his mandate and make room for Emily Vontz. The 22-year-old from Losheim am See is next on the Saarland SPD list. So her job wasn’t worked out in the back room, she really earned it.

In justifying his resignation, the former Federal Foreign Minister made it clear that a generational change was needed: the time had come for a new generation. And according to Maas, she is “female, young, smart, fresh and has a name, Emily Vontz”.

In fact, Maas had never made a secret of the fact that he “did not want to retire as a politician”. At the end of the year, the ideal time had come “to resign my mandate in order to then work in my learned profession as a lawyer”. According to information from the Saarbrücker Zeitung, Maas will join a Berlin law firm as a partner in January – although the fully qualified lawyer has previously been a professional politician and has never worked as a lawyer.

In a farewell letter, Maas thanked him in the usual way, but also mentioned that he was now alienated from the modern pace of politics: “Especially in recent times I have noticed that the political rituals, which certainly take some getting used to but are indispensable for democratic competition between government and opposition or politicians and the media have become increasingly difficult for me.”

Now all eyes are on the new one: Emily Vontz is studying politics and French in Trier. After all, the 22-year-old managed to be elected fourth in the SPD in Saarland in the 2021 federal election. In addition, she has been the head of the Juso state in Saarland for a few weeks.

Her interest in politics was primarily aroused at the nationwide competition “Youth debates” – about the “European Parliament model”. Vontz writes on Instagram in view of her entry into the Bundestag: “I’m looking forward to the great task that lies ahead of me. At the same time, I have great respect for it and am very grateful to my party for this opportunity. “It’s about taking responsibility – for Saarland and my generation.”

Vontz wants to approach the task with respect and humility and give her generation a voice: “Especially young people who are the same age as me say they think it’s really good that someone our age is sitting in the Bundestag. And now is the time for that too.”

If you look at her Instagram channel, you will see a campaigner putting up posters and discussing with citizens at the information stand. After graduating from high school, she did one year of international youth volunteer service in Bordeaux. France is her “favourite country”. You can see them camping and hiking there. Her other hobbies include dancing and cycling. Vontz has been in the SPD since she was 17 years old.

She has known Saarlander Heiko Maas for a long time, which is why her occupation seems logical. In a public statement, Maas wished her “a lot of strength and courage” and promised that his “support will always be assured”. Politically, the new stands for climate protection and lowering the voting age to 16 years. In addition, she is concerned with Franco-German relations and that life in the countryside is becoming more visible: “I want to show that Saarland doesn’t stop behind Saarbrücken.”

It remains to be seen whether Heiko Maas will earn more as a lawyer than a member of the Bundestag. For Emily Vontz, entering parliament is always financially lucrative. As a member of parliament, you are entitled to 10,323 euros per month plus a lump sum of 4,583 euros for a constituency office, business trips and things such as specialist literature.

She does not yet know whether she will be able to continue her studies as planned. “In the coming days I will find out how it goes on. I will receive a formal letter from the Federal Returning Authority, after which I can take up my mandate.”