Is the firewall against the AfD crumbling ?: The CDU leader’s 86 cent problem – politics


Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer described the CDU’s dilemma in dealing with the AfD as follows: “For example, the question is: If we have an application in the city council and the AfD votes without our intervention – do I have to withdraw it?” The CDU leader believes that giving the AfD an instrument to constantly demonstrate other parties. “We do not seek or support any cooperation with the AfD. But we won’t let our applications be ruined by such behavior on the part of the AfD, ”she told Tagesspiegel in October. “The firewall against the AfD is extremely important.”

So far, she has been silent publicly about the current escalation in Magdeburg, but there is already intensive search for ways out, because the fire wall threatens to crumble again here. At the beginning of the year, the FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich caused national excitement when he was elected Prime Minister of Thuringia with votes from the CDU, FDP and AfD. Is something similar happening in Saxony-Anhalt?

In any case, the coalition of CDU, SPD and Greens is currently being put to the test. The problem: On January 1st, the radio license fee that goes to public broadcasters in Germany will rise by 86 cents to 18.36 euros per month.

Are the SPD and Greens violating the coalition agreement?

In order for this to actually happen, all state parliaments in Germany must approve the change in the State Treaty. If only one state disagrees, the planned increase will tip over (ARD and ZDF could then go to the Federal Constitutional Court). With the exception of Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt, all federal states have already voted for the increase.

The coalition partners in Saxony-Anhalt, the Greens and the SPD, are now attacking the CDU parliamentary group, which opposes the increase in contributions. However, the parliamentary group refers to the coalition agreement, where it says on page 136: “When financing public service broadcasting, we are sticking to the goal of stable contributions.”

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The case described by Kramp-Karrenbauer for a city council is now becoming a huge problem on a higher political level. On December 15th, the vote on the monthly increase of 86 cents is due. The CDU parliamentary group (30 seats) wants to prevent this against the will of its Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff. Since the AfD (21 seats) also wants to agree to a rejection, one could jointly tip the contribution increase in the state parliament (87 seats) for the time being. That could mean the premature end of the first Kenya coalition of CDU, SPD and Greens – ostensibly because of 86 cents.

Are the “public” ones too West German?

But there are also several fundamental questions behind this dispute. The CDU in Saxony-Anhalt also argues that the “public” is too West German. At the same time, there are MPs there who want a more relaxed approach to the AfD. A new state parliament will be elected on June 6, 2021 anyway, after which this question could arise with even greater force.

Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff wants the contribution increase, his parliamentary group does not.Photo: dpa

For the CDU there are always new problems to hold the “firewall”. Especially in East Germany, where the AfD was able to achieve great electoral successes. The debate is reminiscent of the Thuringian case with the election of Kemmerich as short-term prime minister. Unsuccessful attempts at mediation then led to Kramp-Karrenbauer’s resignation, who is still in office due to the party convention being postponed due to the corona.

In the case of Saxony-Anhalt, one can argue that the contribution of 17.50 euros, which has remained unchanged since 2015, would have to be increased slightly even after adjustment for inflation. This finances more than 20 stations as well as dozens of radio and online offers, especially during the corona crisis, according to surveys, the reputation of public broadcasting with the pillars ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandfunk has increased.

Demands a “word of power” from the CDU leader: SPD General Secretary Lars KlingbeilPhoto: dpa

The SPD and the Greens want to agree to the premium increase. Isn’t it they who are breaking the coalition agreement? SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil rejects the Tagesspiegel request: “All 16 federal states have found a compromise on how public service broadcasting can be strengthened. Saxony-Anhalt’s CDU Prime Minister Haseloff helped negotiate this compromise. ”

The fact that the CDU is now opposing its own prime minister and is looking for new majorities together with the AfD stands for an absolute breach of the dam. “In the coming days, the CDU will have to decide whether to hold on to the basic democratic consensus that one should not work with Nazis. The fact that the federal government is silent on this is not a good sign. ”

Stahlknecht wants to pull through rejection

CDU country chief Holger Stahlknecht wants to hold on to the rejection. “There is a parliamentary group decision that is justified in the matter,” he told the “Spiegel”. For years, the East has not received enough attention in the media. “Then there is the corona crisis. Everyone has to tighten their belts. ”

The media policy spokesman Markus Kurz emphasized that the CDU in Saxony-Anhalt had its program of contribution stability and affordability for ten years in election programs and coalition agreements. “The CDU in Saxony-Anhalt has had its program of contribution stability and affordability in its election programs and coalition agreements for ten years. Ten years ago there was no AfD. We make our own politics, you can’t link that. ”

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