What happens after the scandal in Erfurt? As a way out of the political crisis, the CDU leadership is now proposing that the Greens or SPD should name a candidate for the office of prime minister.

The CDU federal chairwoman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has asked Social Democrats and Greens in Thuringia to name a candidate for the post of head of government. “We expect the SPD and the Greens to be willing to present a candidate who, as prime minister, does not divide the country, but unites it,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer after a special meeting of the CDU presidium in Berlin.

At the same time, the CDU chief reiterated her party’s refusal to cooperate with the Left Party and the AfD. At the same time, she emphasized that the task now was to “ensure stable and clear conditions” in Thuringia. The presidium was “still of the opinion that new elections are the clearest way to do this,” said the party chairman. The Left Party, the Greens and the SPD in Thuringia are obviously not interested in these.

No tolerance for leftists

When asked whether the CDU would tolerate a left-wing minority government, Kramp-Karrenbauer said that her party would not enter into a government with the left “and would otherwise not cooperate with the left in any form.” Former head of government Bodo Ramelow (left) obviously does not have a majority in the Thuringian state parliament, according to Kramp-Karrenbauer.

According to Kramp-Karrenbauer, the CDU Presidium, in which the Thuringian State and Group Chairman Mike Mohring also participated, unanimously passed a resolution on the events in Erfurt. With regard to the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD), it emphasized that there was no cooperation, “neither in direct nor indirect form”. The CDU also gave “no vote for a candidate who relies on the votes of the AfD”.

On Wednesday, the FDP candidate Thomas Kemmerich was elected Prime Minister in the third ballot in the Thuringian state parliament with the votes of the CDU and AfD. On Thursday, he announced his retirement without naming a specific date.

Kramp-Karrenbauer further stated that her party was ready “for constructive cooperation” in Thuringia. 22 projects had been defined on the basis of which cooperation was possible. “If the attempt to achieve stable conditions within Parliament fails, new elections are inevitable.”

SPD and Greens wave off

Greens and SPD in Thuringia promptly fended off the CDU’s proposal. “I don’t think Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer is in a position to give suggestions or orders,” said Green Party leader Dirk Adams in Erfurt. SPD head of state Wolfgang Tiefensee tweeted that this was “the unsuitable attempt” to split red-red-green. The Thuringian CDU had to make a clear decision whether or not to prevent Ramelow from being elected. Tiefensee continued: “The best way is for the state parliament to self-dissolve and for new elections to take place.”

Kramp-Karrenbauer’s proposal also met with criticism from the left. The member of the Bundestag Lorenz Gösta Beutin called the advance “absurd”. Red-red-green will not be split.

FDP chief Lindner remains in office

The federal executive of the FDP expressed confidence in the afternoon of party leader Christian Lindner after the Thuringia debacle. According to information from party circles, 33 people voted for him in a meeting in Berlin. There was therefore a no vote and two abstentions.

Germany PK Christian Lindner Prime Minister election Thuringia (picture-alliance / dpa / M. Schutt)He has weathered the crisis for the time being: FDP leader Christian Lindner

The deliberations on the board of the Free Democrats had become necessary after the scandal surrounding the election of party member Thomas Kemmerich as Thuringian prime minister. After Kemmerich accepted the election, which would not have been possible without AfD votes, Lindner came under pressure.

Mohring will resign

Meanwhile, the CDU parliamentary group in Erfurt announced that Mike Mohring would step down as CDU parliamentary group leader in Thuringia. At their crisis meeting on Friday night, the MPs agreed “on new elections to the parliamentary board with new people at the end of May”. “Mike Mohring will not compete again,” it said.

Berlin CDU Thuringia Mike Mohring State Chairman (AFP / A. Berry)The Thuringian CDU state chairman Mike Mohring

So far, Mohring had not made a clear statement about his withdrawal. After the election of the FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich with the votes of the CDU and AfD as the Thuringian Prime Minister, the 48-year-old had come under considerable pressure in his own party. The top of the federal party saw this as a violation of the incompatibility decision, which prohibits cooperation between the CDU and AfD.

Participants in the crisis meeting previously said that Mohring had no support in the faction. A majority of the parliamentary group criticized Mohring’s leadership style. There is said to have been “uncoordinated going it alone”, a “lack of involvement of MPs” and “deliberate deception”.

Survey: majority for red-red-green

According to a recent poll, red-red-green could hope for a majority in new elections in Thuringia. According to a Forsa poll published on Friday on behalf of RTL and n-tv, the left of ex-Prime Minister Ramelow would see significant gains, while the CDU would lose almost half of its voters. The FDP from Kemmerich would no longer come to the state parliament.


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