The election of the leader of Thuringia with the votes of the far right unleashes an earthquake in Germany
A liberal candidate obtains the leadership of the Eastern state with votes from the CDU and AfD. Merkel's party at the federal level rejects the maneuver and points to new elections
The surprise election at the head of the German "Land" of Thuringia of a liberal candidate with the support of the ultra-right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) - and the government CDU - has caused a political earthquake in Germany, as it breaks with the "cord sanitary "imposed so far on any cooperation with the extreme right.
The "taboo break", as Thomas Kemmerich's election has been described by some analysts, has occurred precisely in the federated state where AfD is led by one of its most radical figures, Björn Höcke.
Höcke is considered as one of the main exponents of a group called "The Wing" that is even observed by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution for considering that from there plans can be promoted against the German constitutional order.
The Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, had set as a principle to have no coalitions or any cooperation with either AfD or the Left (Die Linke). That principle led the CDU to a dilemma after the Thuringian regional elections where The Left had been the most voted party, followed by AfD, and where no majority could be achieved in the regional Parliament without one of the two parties.
The leader of the Left in Thuringia, Bodo Ramelow, had reached a coalition agreement with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Los Verdes with whose votes he hoped to be re-elected by simple majority in the third vote in the regional parliament.
In the first two votes Ramelow clearly imposed the AfD candidate, Christoph Kindervater, but without reaching the absolute majority he needed. For the third round, in which the simple majority is sufficient, the Liberal Party (FDP) presented the candidacy of Kemmerich while AfD maintained the candidacy of Kindervater.
However, Kindervater, who had won 22 votes in the first and second round, was left without support in the third and AfD deputies voted in block for Kemmerich who ultimately won Ramelow by 45 against 44 votes.
The constellation is in itself curious since the FDP, which Kemmerich presides in Thuringia, has only five deputies in the regional parliament that he acceded to in extremis with 71 votes remaining above the threshold of 5. The latter makes some analysts predict him a short life for the Kemmerich Government but, aside from that, the way his election was given has already sparked a debate in Germany.
"To be elected prime minister by ultra-rightists is completely irresponsible. All Democrats must be together against AfD. Whoever does not understand it, has not learned anything from our history," Foreign Minister social democrat Heiko Maas said on Twitter. The general secretary of the SPD, Lars Klingbeil, described Kemmerich's election as "the lowest hour in German history since the postwar period." Even within the FDP there have been criticisms of the manner in which the Kemmerich election was held, such as that expressed by Deputy Marie-Agnes Straeck-Zimmermann.
"I personally appreciate Thomas Kemmerich and I understand his desire to become prime minister but to be elected by someone like Höcke is for a somewhat unacceptable democrat," Straeck-Zimmermann said.
On behalf of the CDU, its leader, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said that what happened "is clearly against the recommendations, demands and requests of the party" and, from Strasbourg (France) added: "now we have to talk about whether new elections would not be the cleanest way out for this situation. "
"It is not a good day, it is not a good day for Thuringia, nor is it a good day for the political system in Germany," said Chancellor Party Leader Angela Merkel. Earlier, the general secretary of the party, Paul Ziemiak, strongly criticized the way in which Kemmerich was elected.
"It's a black day for Thuringia. The FDP has played with fire and burned Thuringia and our entire country. You can't choose a prime minister with Nazi votes like Höcke," Ziemiak said.
On behalf of AfD, party co-chairman Jörg Meuthen celebrated that a prime minister with the votes of his party had been elected for the first time and said it would be logical for the group to demand participation in the Government in Thuringia.
Kemmerich has rejected any possibility of cooperation with AfD and the federal president of the FDP, Christian Lindner, has said that if a dialogue with the CDU is not achieved, the SPD and the Greens will have to have new elections in Thuringia.