Leading CDU politicians in Saxony-Anhalt want to prepare a coalition with the AfD. They could blow up the government with the SPD and the Greens.
Nightmare in blue: lantern in East Germany Photo: dpa
Suddenly, the previously anonymous AfD friends in the CDU parliamentary group of Saxony-Anhalt have got three faces at once. They are not backbenchers, they sit in the front row. The unpredictability of the CDU in the Kenya coalition with the SPD and the Greens – especially when it comes to personnel decisions – has been an issue since 2016.
"Playing games" is what Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU) called it when his own parliamentary group stabbed him in the back once again. Now, the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung brings to light an eight-page memorandum intended to prepare the ground for a CDU coalition with the AfD. The authors are the two vice chairmen of the parliamentary group, Ulrich Thomas and Lars-Jorn Zimmer. The parliamentary manager Markus Kurze is also one of the supporters.
The paper is a reaction to the defeat in the local and European elections on May 26. The CDU had alienated supporters by not sufficiently countering "multicultural currents of left-wing parties and groups". The authors rail against "uncontrolled migration," the "increase in new brutal crime," climate policy, the coal phase-out and the EU. "It must again succeed in reconciling the social with the national," the newspaper quotes. Consequently, the AfD comes into focus as a partner with whom "a coalition should certainly not be ruled out." In addition to radical politicians, there are also liberal politicians. An alliance with the SPD and the Greens, on the other hand, would destroy "the party’s identity.
Already on Thursday morning, the CDU state chairman and Interior Minister Holger Stahlknecht rejected the request. "I warn against moving the CDU to the right," he advocated for various currents within the Union. Prime Minister Haseloff repeated his well-known identical position. An echo from Berlin was also not long in coming. Party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had always rejected alliances with the AfD. The federal party conference in December 2018 followed her lead. CDU Secretary General Paul Zimiak also reiterated "for all to note" his rejection not only of coalitions, but of any cooperation with the AfD.
From neighboring Saxony, where elections will be held on September 1, Parliamentary Secretary of the Interior Marco Wanderwitz (CDU), who hails from Chemnitz, tweeted, "Not all batten on the fence!" Here, Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer had declared the AfD the main opponent.
In Saxony-Anhalt, a new state parliament will not be elected until spring 2021. With regard to the durability of the Kenya coalition in the outstanding almost two years, both partners demanded clear decisions from the Union. "Great concern" was expressed by the SPD, recalling Haseloff’s phrase about the "coalition of reason." "If CDU state chairman Holger Stahlknecht does not finally manage to get a line in his store and commit everyone in the CDU to constructive cooperation among democrats on the one hand and a clear demarcation from the AfD on the other, then it will be really tight," said state chairman Burkhard Lischka. "We measure the CDU by its actions," added parliamentary group chair Katja Pahle.
Memorandum from CDU politicians
"It must again succeed in reconciling the social with the national".
Almost verbatim, the parliamentary director of the Green Party, Sebastian Striegel, also demanded this behavior. "The CDU in the state association and in the parliamentary group must decide whether it wants to form a coalition with the AfD or continue to govern with those with whom it has a contract," he told the taz. Left-wing state chairman Andreas Hoppner and parliamentary group leader Thomas Lippmann went even further. The CDU must clarify for itself whether it wants to "remain part of the democratic spectrum or leave it by closing ranks with the far right." The coalition was also formed as a "bulwark of democrats against the AfD. The left-wing politicians also asked about the CDU’s responsibility for the strengthening of the extreme right when it adopts their slogans.
"The CDU is in self-destruction mode," is the unofficial whisper in Magdeburg’s state parliament. On the same day, it also had to cope with the resignation of its finance minister Andre Schroder, who had come under pressure. Still on Thursday noon the managing land executive committee met. Without going into detail about the memorandum, it was then simply announced that the CDU wanted to sharpen its profile. "There will be no institutional and strategic cooperation with the AfD or the Left," it said evasively. The fact remains that parliamentary group leader Siegfried Borwardt stands alone next to three AfD sympathizers in the parliamentary group executive committee.
However, a possible breakup of the Kenya coalition would not automatically lead to new elections. The state constitution has set the high hurdle of approval by two-thirds of the deputies for a self-dissolution of the state parliament. But not even the AfD can have an active interest in new elections. A disenchantment effect can already be observed in Saxony-Anhalt, and a repeat of the sensational success of 20.3 percent of the vote currently seems unlikely. The only election winner would presumably be the Greens.