On posters, thousands of demonstrators in Erfurt are demanding “democratic tuition” for the CDU and FDP. They oppose the election of the FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich as Thuringian Prime Minister with the votes of the AfD.

The election of the FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich with the AfD’s votes as Thuringian Prime Minister last week drives many onto the streets. In Erfurt, more than 18,000 people demonstrated against alliances with right-wing populists at all political levels. “No pact with fascists”, “No place for Nazis” or “1933 greetings” can be read on posters held up by the demonstrators in the Thuringian capital. They gathered for their rally on the Erfurt Cathedral Square.  

At the central rally, several speakers sharply criticized the behavior of the CDU and FDP in the election of Kemmerich in the state parliament. This testifies 75 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi extermination camp of “incredible ignorance and obsession with power”, said Stefan Körzell, member of the DGB federal executive committee. 

“Shameless” abuse of democracy

The CDU and FDP have used the “shameless” abuse of democracy by the AfD to prevent a red-red-green government, said the speech by Reinhard Schramm, chairman of the Jewish community, which the latter did not keep because of the Jewish Sabbath. It was read out on the cathedral square. 

Demonstration against Prime Minister election in Thuringia (picture-alliance / dpa / B. Schackow)The Erfurt Cathedral Square was the gathering point and location of the opening event

The German Trade Union Confederation and the “Unteilbar” initiative had mobilized nationwide to protest, according to a DGB spokeswoman, around 50 buses from Hesse and Thuringia alone made their way to the state capital. The motto of the event was “Not with us – no pact with fascists – never and nowhere”. Even after Kemmerich’s withdrawal, it was clear that the firewall against fascists was deeply cracked and that the FDP and CDU were willing to work with the AfD, the alliance said. After the rally, a demonstration train started through the city center.

A week and a half ago, Kemmerich was elected as the new Thuringian Prime Minister in the state parliament with the votes of the FDP, CDU, and AfD. The FDP politician resigned under strong political pressure after three days in office – since then he has only been the managing director. CDU country and faction leader Mike Mohring has also announced the withdrawal from his office.  After Kemmerich’s election, Mohring came under massive pressure because the CDU parliamentary group had not abstained in the prime minister election. The top of the federal party saw this as a violation of the incompatibility decision, which prohibits cooperation between the CDU and AfD. The scandal triggered a political quake in Germany. 


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