Strong criticism of Merz’s statements on the AfD from his own party

Status: 07/24/2023 06:11 a.m

How does the CDU feel about the AfD? CDU boss Merz has not ruled out a joint approach at the municipal level on ZDF – and has thus met with sharp criticism in his own party.

With his statements about a possible joint action with the AfD at the local level, CDU leader Merz has triggered a lot of criticism in his own party. Berlin’s Governing Mayor Kai Wegner wrote on Twitter: “The AfD only knows against and division. Where should there be cooperation? The CDU cannot, does not want to and will not work with a party whose business model is hate, division and exclusion.”

Merz had confirmed in the ZDF summer interview that the Union would not cooperate with the AfD. However, he now restricted this to “legislative bodies”, for example at the European, federal or state level. If the AfD has elected a district administrator in Thuringia and a mayor in Saxony-Anhalt, then these are democratic elections, according to Merz. “We have to accept that. And of course the local parliaments have to look for ways to shape the city, the state and the district together.”

“Right-wing extremists remain right-wing extremists”

The Vice-President of the Bundestag, Yvonne Magwas, who is also a member of the CDU Presidium, wrote on Twitter: “Whether it’s the local council or the Bundestag, right-wing radicals remain right-wing radicals. For Christian Democrats, right-wing radicals are always the enemy!”

The Federal Chairwoman of the Women’s Union, Annette Widmann-Mauz (CDU), said with a view to the AfD: “The party and its inhuman and anti-democratic content remain the same, no matter what level.”

The CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen emphasized that his party had decided to ban cooperation with the AfD. “Anyone who wants to change that must find a majority at a federal party conference of the CDU.”

The CDU politician and former Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans wrote on Twitter about Merz’s statements: “The party conference decision states that any cooperation with the AfD is excluded. This is the gradual dilution of party conference decisions after election successes of the extreme right.”

“Not now and not in the future”

CDU federal board member Serap Güler reacted with similar outrage: “No cooperation with the AfD means: no cooperation with the AfD. On no level. Very simple. Not now and not in the future either.”

The Berlin CDU member of the Bundestag Jan-Marco Luczak wrote that the AfD threatens the liberal constitutional state and the free social order – also in the municipalities. “The incompatibility decision of the CDU is clear.”

The resolution states, among other things: “Anyone who pleads for a rapprochement or even cooperation with the AfD in the CDU must know that they are approaching a party that deliberately tolerates right-wing extremist ideas, anti-Semitism and racism in its ranks. (…). The CDU rejects any coalitions or similar forms of cooperation with the AfD.”

The new CDU General Secretary Carsten Linnemann, on the other hand, defended Merz: For the CDU it was clear that there was “no cooperation with the AfD”, “no matter what level,” he told the “Bild”. “Friedrich Merz also sees it that way, although he rightly points out the difficult implementation on site. Because when the local parliament is about a new daycare center, we can’t only vote against it because the AfD votes. We don’t make ourselves dependent on right-wing extremists.”

“Far from reality and negligent”

Christoph Heubner, Executive Vice-President of the International Auschwitz Committee, said in Berlin that Friedrich Merz’s “unrealistic and negligent statements make it clear that he has still not implemented the AfD’s strategies of destruction”. This AfD does not have the common good of all citizens and the shaping of democracy in mind. “All those in his party and the other democratic parties who strongly oppose him deserve respect and support.”

AfD chairman Tino Chrupalla wrote about the debate on Twitter: “Now the first stones are falling from the black-green firewall. In the federal states and the federal government we will tear down the wall together. The winners will be the citizens who regain prosperity, freedom and security through interest-driven politics.”

Criticism of Merz was expressed by the Green Party leader Ricarda Lang in the ARD: “First he reduces this party to a better alternative for Germany and now he is building the firewall – which the Union itself has repeatedly invoked – a little bit.”

The FDP politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann wrote: “Local politics is the cradle of our democracy. It is precisely here that the firewall to the anti-democratic AfD must not fall. Otherwise it will fall all the more at the ‘legislative levels’.”

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