Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Breaking the cordon sanitaire in Germany

by IdiotSavant Fri Feb 7th, 2020 at 02:20:09 AM EST

Part of the story of the Nazis' rise to power in Germany was the willingness of mainstream right-wing parties to work with them to keep out the left. Because of this, one of the fundamental rules of postwar German politics has been "do not work with Nazis". As a result, successive far-right parties have found themselves isolated, unable to get anywhere. Until yesterday, when the "mainstream" Christian Democrats and Free Democrats colluded with (neo-Nazi) Alternative für Deutschland to roll the left-wing Thuringian state premier. But it hasn't worked out like they expected:

Frontpaged with minor edit - Frank Schnittger

A German state premier elected with help from the far-right Alternative für Deutschland has announced he will step down, succumbing to widespread outrage across the country and condemnation from Angela Merkel.

A postwar consensus among established parties of shunning the far right was broken on Wednesday when Thomas Kemmerich won the election in the eastern state of Thuringia on the back of votes from the chancellor's Christian Democratic Union and the aggressively nationalistic AfD.

The little-known Free Democrat (FDP) politician told German media on Thursday morning that he was right to have accepted the mandate, arguing that fresh elections would merely play into the hands of the far right and the far left.

By lunchtime, however, after a meeting with his party leader, Christian Lindner, Kemmerich had changed his mind. "Resignation is unavoidable," he said. "Democrats need democratic majorities."

To their credit, national party leaders acted quickly to stomp this, recognising the huge damage it would do to their reputations, and the Free Democrats leader will be facing an internal confidence vote as a result. But some of that damage has already been done, and its a reminder that to the right, racism and death camps is better than higher taxes and labour rights.

As for Thuringia, its unclear whether they will call a new confidence vote, or new elections. If the latter, then hopefully the right-wing parties will be punished for their collaboration.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 7th, 2020 at 10:31:14 PM EST
The tweet above seems to have been deleted since I posted this. Anyway, what it was illustrating was that day, about 90 years ago, when German President von Hindenburg appointed one Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany, even though the Nazis were a minority in the Parliament at the time.

(Twitter does indicate that the above tweet "is from a suspended account.")

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Feb 8th, 2020 at 03:04:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regional German premier to step down after backlash over far-right support - Politico.eu
A regional, liberal German premier announced he will step down and call a new ballot -- a day after facing national backlash for being elected with votes from the far right.

Lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) had voted to install Thomas Kemmerich, from the liberal FDP party, as leader of the eastern state of Thuringia on Wednesday. But Kemmerich and the FDP -- which only has five seats in the regional parliament -- faced immediate criticism from across the political spectrum and accusations that they had collaborated with the AfD.

The surprise result marked the first time a state premier had been elected with support of the far-right party, and drew comparisons to historical tacit support some moderate parties gave to the Nazis.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 7th, 2020 at 10:37:50 PM EST
Irish Times: CDU support slumps after far-right alliance with AfD:

Support for Germany's ruling party has collapsed 10 points to just 12 per cent in the eastern state of Thuringia as voters react to its alliance with the far right to elect a state premier.


In another survey issued on Friday, 58 per cent of Thuringian voters said it was wrong for Mr Kemmerich to rely on AfD support for power. A third of voters saw no problem in alliances with the AfD, which in seven years has radicalised from its bailout protest roots into a far-right movement.

And the support has gone mostly to the Left, with a bit to the Greens. So its likely the CDU will want to avoid an election and just do a confidence vote instead.

by IdiotSavant on Fri Feb 7th, 2020 at 10:46:54 PM EST
Leadership of Angela Merkel's CDU tested by state's far-right debacle - DW
Now many in Germany are questioning whether Kramp-Karrenbauer has the party under control.

"Kramp-Karrenbauer's authority looks to be in tatters at the moment. And local party leadership continues to defy orders," said DW's chief political correspondent Melinda Crane, adding that Mike Mohring, head of Thuringia's CDU, seemed determined to block new elections over concern that the CDU could lose even more votes.

"The consequences are very real for the CDU party leadership in Berlin, with junior coalition partner the Social Democrats questioning whether the CDU's leadership is in a position to control members of its own party," said Crane.

The election happened when Merkel was reportedly en route to South Africa. After leaving one day for AKK to clean up the mess - to no avail, Merkel then took the unusual step of commenting on German domestic politics while on an official visit abroad.

Germany AfD: Thuringia PM quits amid fury over far right - BBC

Speaking on a visit to South Africa, Chancellor Merkel said the Thuringia vote had to be reversed.

"It was a bad day for democracy, a day that broke with the long and proud tradition of the CDU's values. This is in no way in line with what the CDU thinks, how we have acted throughout our party's existence," she said.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 7th, 2020 at 10:49:06 PM EST
Christian Hirte, member from CDU Thüringen, was forced out of the role as federal representative for the eastern federal states of Germany:

Ostbeauftragter Hirte tritt zurück.

He also lost the job of secretary of state in the federal ministry of economics.

Ruprecht Polenz, a vivid twitter user and well-known CDU politican, asked to declare membership in the conservative Werteunion to be incompatible with membership in the CDU.

Now what ?

by pi (etrib@opsec.eu) on Sat Feb 8th, 2020 at 12:55:11 PM EST

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 8th, 2020 at 03:40:21 PM EST
Thuringia state premier Kemmerich quits, 'effective immediately'
Three days after his shock election, Thuringia Premier Thomas Kemmerich announced Saturday he was quitting his short-lived post with "immediate effect."

Kemmerich, of the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP), one of Germany's smaller political parties, was elected to the position on Wednesday after being backed by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and regional representatives from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) party.

All monetary allowances resulting from his election would be returned to Thuringia's state treasury, Kemmerich added.

Article 75 of Thuringia's state constitution stipulates that at any time any government member can declare his or her resignation. The premier, however, is obligated to continue in a caretaker capacity until a successor takes up office.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Feb 8th, 2020 at 07:43:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Merkel fires commissioner over far-right Thuringia fiasco | DW |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 8th, 2020 at 03:57:08 PM EST
Shows who's still the boss in German politics, Merkeldämmerung notwithstanding.
by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Feb 8th, 2020 at 07:45:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So be it! Amen ... and while on tour in South Africa! Is CDU's minister of defense AWOL? I thought she ran the place as Frau Merkel is set to retire ...

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 8th, 2020 at 08:54:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AKK is out.  SZ
CDU-Chefin Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will nach Informationen mehrerer Medien auf eine Kanzlerkandidatur verzichten und den Parteivorsitz in absehbarer Zeit abgeben.


Kramp-Karrenbauer war im Zuge der umstrittenen Ministerpräsidentenwahl in Thüringen in die Kritik geraten. Von verschiedenen Seiten wurde ihr Führungsschwäche attestiert - zum einen da es überhaupt zu der Wahl des FDP-Kandidaten Thomas Kemmerich mit Stimmen der CDU und der AfD gekommen war, zum anderen weil es ihr bei der Aufarbeitung des Konflikts nicht gelungen war, sich mit ihrer Linie in der Thüringer CDU durchzusetzen.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 10th, 2020 at 09:12:15 AM EST
Guardian version in English:
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to quit as CDU leader amid far-right 'firewall' row

You can't claim to be a "leader" if no-one follows.

by IdiotSavant on Mon Feb 10th, 2020 at 12:07:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AP version in AP-US-Eng
German politics upended as Merkel's HEIR APARENT quits
Germany's Manfred Weber, who heads the center-right bloc [!] in the European Parliament, told German daily Welt that the situation shows Europe "is in a phase of growing instability, politics is becoming more serious."

"I regret the withdrawal of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer," Weber said. "In general. it is a sign of growing instability among the parties of the middle [!] all across Europe. The parties of the middle must draw their red line to those with radical right tendencies.... this approach from Kramp-Karrenbauer was and is correct."

totalitarian authoritarian dictator chairman premiers
Merkel has said she will not run for a fifth term [!] in Germany's next general election, which is now scheduled for fall 2021. But any shift to the right in Merkel's party could trigger a breakup of her federal coalition with the center-left Social Democrats and increase the chances of an early national election.
"up and down ballot"
"Whoever becomes the new chairman of the CDU needs to ensure that the party remains a reliable partner," Heiko Maas, a member of the Social Democrats, tweeted. "This means the party must draw a line between itself and far-right extremists at all levels."
by Cat on Mon Feb 10th, 2020 at 06:20:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]