The leader of the CDU causes a political storm in Germany by proposing to cooperate with ultras at the local level

The head of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Friedrich Merz, has caused a storm in the German political scene airing skepticism in a television interview on Sunday, On the health cordon against the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). His statements regarding possible cooperation at the local level with the ultras once they are elected to the leadership of the city or district council, were criticized on Monday within his party and by the rest of the formations. In the end, before the barrage of replicas, Merz had to patch up and make sure that there would be no cooperation with AfD.

Mears stated that “local parliaments should look for ways to shape the city and the region” and that when a far-right mayor or local official is elected it is “natural” that niches are explored so that they can act. “It goes without saying that we have an obligation to accept the result of democratic elections,” added the CDU leader, who took over the party leadership in January 2022, calibrating whether to shift it to the right by taking on the causes of the radicals or to stay in the center represented by the legacy of former Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merz’s statements to the ZDF series caused widespread rejection within the CDU as well as in the rest of the political parties, which have so far maintained their Iron cordon against ultras. The conservative mayor of Berlin, Kai Wegner (CDU), wrote on Twitter: “The AfD only knows it is opposing and dividing.” “Where is there supposed to be cooperation? The CDU cannot work with a party whose business model is hate, division and exclusion,” he added.

Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (the sister party of the Christian Democratic Union) confirmed that his party rejects any cooperation with the AfD, regardless of the political level. “This is because the AfD is anti-democratic, far-right and divides our society,” the Bavarian party leader wrote on Twitter. “This is not consistent with our values.”

For her part, Marie Agnes Strack Zimmermann, a defense policy expert from the Liberal Party, wrote on the same social network: “Domestic politics is the cradle of our democracy. And it is precisely here that the firewall against the undemocratic AfD must not fall.

Criticism also rained down from the left. General Secretary of the Social Democratic Party Kevin Kunnert considered the statement of the CDU leader “a taboo breaker”. It’s time for a disagreement about direction in the CDU, Kuehnert said Monday on the show Morning Journal from ZDF. The Social Democrat considered Merz to be trying to change course for the CDU from “an absolutely fragile polemic”.

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Mears’ remarks come next The recent victories of the AfD in southern Thuringia And the party’s first mayoral position in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. The leader of the ranks of the Christian Democratic Union recently confirmed his commitment to the sanitary belt against the ultras in a meeting with foreign correspondents, in which he stressed that “the distance and incompatibility of cooperation [con AfD] It is clear and non-negotiable.” The CDU will not cooperate with the AfD on any level, neither at the federal nor at the state level, as Merz has reiterated on many occasions.

Greens leader Ricarda Lange also criticized him: “First, this party reduced to a better alternative for Germany, and now it’s dismantling the firewall a bit, which even the CDU/CSU has invoked over and over again.” Lang was referring to another controversial intervention by Merz last week, when he stunned his party by saying it should be “an alternative to Germany in essence”, a phrase that includes the extremist party’s name.

According to Dietmar Bartsch, leader of the Left Party’s parliamentary group, the AfD’s “firewall”, which Merz himself had repeatedly formulated, now has “enormous holes”. “It’s only a matter of time before it collapses,” Partch predicted in the paper. The Daily Mirror.

Meanwhile, the far-right in controversial statements has seen a relaxation of the previous ban on cooperation. “Now the first stones of the firewall are falling,” Tino Chrubala, leader of the AfD, wrote on Twitter. In federal states and in the federal government We will tear down the wall together.”prophesied.

A succession of reproaches and criticism, also internal, led the Conservative leader to finally respond to this tweet: “To make it clear again. I never said otherwise: the CDU’s decision is valid. There will be no cooperation with the AfD at the municipal level either.”

The AfD has seen an astounding increase in opinion polls in recent months, even becoming the country’s second political force in terms of voting intentions, ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party and just four points behind the CDU. The AfD accounted for about 22% of voting intentions, a record high that was reflected in a poll conducted by the INSA poll and published by the newspaper last Sunday. Build. In this poll, the CDU will reach 26%.

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