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Germany's CDU Divided on Hypothetical Coalition With Right-Wing AfD

© AFP 2023 / JOHN MACDOUGALLSupporters of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party display an AfD banner during a demonstration by AfD supporters in Berlin (File)
Supporters of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party display an AfD banner during a demonstration by AfD supporters in Berlin (File) - Sputnik International
Some members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) have come under scrutiny for suggesting that their voters share goals with the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), exposing a growing rift within the conservative party.

Even though the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has historically strictly rejected coalitions with left-wing or right-wing parties, in the past few days some of its members have indicated that they aren’t ruling out an alliance with the anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

“We should not rule out a coalition. It is not possible now, but we don’t know what the situation will be like in two or five years’ time”, Ulrich Thomas, one of the CDU’s regional leaders in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, told local paper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung.

In fact, Thomas and his counterpart Lars-Jörn Zimmer issued an eight-page internal memo, insisting that CDU voters and AfD voters had similar objectives.

When their memo came out, other members of the CDU felt compelled to declare that they will never work with the right-wing party, with CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak firing off a nuclear tweet:

"One more time for everyone taking notes: the CDU strictly rejects any coalition or cooperation with the AfD!!! This is not only my opinion, but the decision of the CDU federal party convention (decisions C76, C101, C161 and C179)”, his tweet read.

Ziemiak was by far not the only CDU official to have issued such a declaration against the AfD: Merkel’s favoured successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said that she would like to ban any attempt to cooperate with the right-wing party.

“I’m going to ask the party leadership for permission… to look at all the means to really prevent any rapprochement or cooperation with the AfD”, she said.

Yet, Thomas and Zimmer appeared to have an ally in former intelligence agency chief Hans-Georg Maassen, a CDU member himself, who believes that a future coalition between these two parties is not unthinkable.

Meanwhile, Georg Pazderski, the deputy chief of AfD, has suggested that the “united front” against his party “is beginning to crumble”.

“In particular, the CDU base – which has been massively disappointed by its own leaders – cannot be told that the party should be closer to the left than to AfD”, he told the newspaper Die Welt.

In the meantime, Nicole Hoechst, a Member of Parliament representing AfD Rhineland-Palatinate in the Bundestag, said that that a coalition with another party was essential for the AfD to implement the party's goals and views.

"Clearly, our goal is becoming a governing party and implementing our goals and views, which is unfortunately almost impossible without forming a coalition with another party. The CDU is the most closely related party concerning our political views", Hoechst said.

She added that it was true that Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer declared any coalition or cooperation with the AfD as no go for her party, but unfortunately for her reality has been faster.

"In the city of Penzlin, which is located in Brandenburg, a formal coalition between CDU and AfD has already been formed and there are many local councils with officially applied cooperation between the two parties. So if AKK cannot control the party in this major question, her demission as the party leader will not be a long time coming. The CDU may finally come around again and reclaim its Christian and conservative roots", MP stated.

Hoechst stressed that she agreed with Professor Meuthen, who made abundantly clear that the AfD plans to cooperate only with conservative parties that defend the free democratic constitutional order.

"The CDU under Merkel and AKK with its inclination towards a totalitarian eco-socialistic green party doesn’t count as such on a large scale at the moment. So for me, a coalition with a conservative CDU in some places seems possible but along our lines and not with this current personnel with no free and democratic sense of their own", Hoechst said.

A string of polls held ahead of German state elections on 1 September suggest that the AfD could become the “strongest political force” in at least three regions, challenging the CDU – something which could probably explain Thomas’ and Zimmer’s stance.

However, there’s another poll suggesting that the most popular coalition option among Germans at the moment would be an alliance between the CDU and the left-wing Greens.

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