The debacle over the election of the Minister-President in Thuringia is now shaking the FDP at the federal level. FDP chief Lindner wants to ask the party executive the question of trust: “The federal leadership must be re-legitimized”.
The events surrounding the election of the liberal Thomas Kemmerich as Thuringia’s prime minister with the help of votes from the right-wing populist AfD are putting massive pressure on the FDP at the federal level. The FDP federal chairman Christian Lindner wants to ask the question of trust on the board of his party. “The federal leadership must be re-legitimized, there can be no further,” said Lindner in Erfurt to the press. For this reason, he called a special meeting of the party’s executive board on Friday to “assure himself of the backing there”.
Thomas Kemmerich has made the only right, only possible decision, Lindner said about his announcement of an application for the dissolution of the parliament and the resignation of the head of government in Thuringia. In one day, he freed himself from the dependence on the AfD, said, Lindner.
Kemmerich wants to give up the office and pave the way for new elections in Thuringia
Previously, the new FDP prime minister in Thuringia bowed to massive public criticism of his election and announced that he would give up his office. The FDP faction wants to apply for the dissolution of the state parliament to bring about a new election. This was announced by the parliamentary group in Erfurt. “Thomas L. Kemmerich wants to remove the stain of the AfD support from the office of the prime minister,” it said in the group’s message.
“The resignation is inevitable,” said Kemmerich in Erfurt. “Yesterday, the AfD tried a perfidious trick to damage democracy.” He further said: “Democrats need democratic majorities. They cannot be created in this parliament.”
CDU Presidium wants to advise Friday
CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak was relieved by the latest developments in Thuringia. The decision to dissolve the state parliament was overdue. He welcomed the decision of the FDP in Thuringia to “prevent further damage”. “New elections are the best and clearest way,” said Ziemiak. The CDU wants to advise everything else on Friday at a special meeting of the Presidium.
The CDU country chief Mike Mohring, who came under criticism after the prime minister election, has since been backed by his party. At a meeting of the state executive, he asked the question of trust and was confirmed with twelve votes in favor, Secretary-General Raymond Walk said on Twitter. Two members of the state executive voted against him.
Kemmerich, whose party barely made it into the Thuringian state parliament in the fall, was elected Prime Minister on Wednesday with votes from liberals, CDU and AfD. He had barely prevailed against the former head of government Bodo Ramelow from the left. It was the first time that the AfD helped a prime minister into office. Ramelow is still available as a candidate, said Vice-President of the Thuringian Left, Steffen Dittes.
A two-thirds majority is required to dissolve the state parliament
The hurdles for a dissolution of the state parliament are relatively high. According to Article 50 paragraph 2 of the Thuringian State Constitution, early dissolution must be requested by a third of the deputies – that would be 30 of the 90 parliamentarians. Two thirds – i.e. 60 deputies – must then approve this request. Left, SPD and Greens have 42 seats and the FDP another five seats. That would not be enough. This would require further votes from the CDU or AfD to resolve the dissolution of the state parliament. The application for dissolution may, therefore, be voted on no earlier than the eleventh and no later than the 30th day after the application.
Critique from the highest level
Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized Kemmerich’s election with the votes of the right-wing populist AfD as “unforgivable” on her morning trip to South Africa. The result of this process must be reversed, said Merkel. She accused the Thuringian state association of a break “with the party’s basic conviction” that “no majorities should be won with the help of the AfD”. It was indirectly behind new election demands.
Together, the SPD, the Left Party, and the Greens criticized the fact that a prime minister had come into the office for the first time with the help of a right-wing party. Even leaders of the CDU and FDP expressed similar views.
The election of Kemmerich not only triggered a political earthquake. People had demonstrated against the election in various cities across Germany on Wednesday. The day after Kemmerich’s election, several hundred people took to the streets in protest in Erfurt. Tens of thousands have also petitioned against the election result.