Left to right: Jörg Meuthen, then Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland, co-leaders of AfD
Seated in front: Beatrix von Storch
These are the big four who led the putsch against Frauke Petry.
The Barbarians Among Us
What are the consequences of Merkel renewing her “Grand Coalition” with SPD? A musical revue of the effect of this and the AfD. CLICK ON THE SINGER’S NAME TO HEAR THE SONG.
1. Frank Sinatra:
But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes
From Politically Incorrect:
The AfD Takes Over the Budget Committee
dpa (German Press Agency) January 23, 2018
The AfD is taking over the chair of the Budget Committee in the Bundestag. As the party confirmed on Tuesday, AfD Bundestag representatives will also be chairing the Judiciary Committee and Tourism Committee.
Traditionally, the strongest opposition party has claim to the chair of the important Budget Committee. If the coalition of CDU, CSU and SPD comes about, that would be the AfD.
AfD’s parliamentary manager Bernd Baumann said his party was happy “to have received these important committees, as the largest opposition party.” He added: “I recall that the unfortunate network enforcement law [NetzDG] is in the purview of the Judiciary Committee, which we will chair.”
Committee chairs are not elected by the committee members but are “appointed.” The regulations further state: “With the confirmation of a quorum and the appointment of the chair, the committee is constituted.”
2. Chyvonne Scott:
You’ve built the flame that won my heart
But your lying and cheating has torn us apart
And I’m moving on
The Bundestag Celebrates German-French Partnership
(Only one party talks of “hypocrisy”)
The Bundestag celebrated the German-French partnership, but it did not go off without controversy. The AfD made sure of that.
55 years after the signing of the Élysée Treaty, leading politicians of Germany and France invoked an even closer partnership. The two EU heavyweights have a special responsibility for Europe, explained Federal President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) in the Paris national assembly. “We will go forward together as Germans and French,” he said in French. As common tasks he named creation of a German-French economic union and the “great themes of the future” — protection of the climate, energy, the digital society.
One day after the vote in the special convention of the SPD for acceptance of formal coalition negotiations with the Union, Schäuble’s appearance in the French capital was seen as an important signal. France’s socialist-liberal head of state, Emmanuel Macron, had made far-reaching proposals for the restructuring of the European Union and has been waiting for months for a new government in Berlin. As a desirable partner for EU reforms, he sees Germany’s Chancellor Merkel (CDU).
AfD Calls This Action “Hypocrisy” and Refuses Applause
The Bundestag and the French National Assembly passed a common resolution in separate sessions. They called for a new Élysée Treaty and improved cooperative work across borders.
At the special session of the Bundestag, in which members of the National Assembly also participated, its president, François de Rugy warned against the dangers of isolation and nationalism. “Populism and nationalist movements threaten all European nations,” he said. In the sometimes emotional and contentious debate, Union faction leader, Volker Kauder, also warned: “Europe will only have a good future without nationalism.”
Later, representatives flew from Berlin to Paris, where the text was signed. De Rugy applauded: identical resolutions were first passed in both representative assemblies. He regretted the weak representation at the Paris session — fewer than 150 representatives had participated.
In Berlin, the AfD called the action “hypocrisy” and withheld applause for the guest of honor de Rugy’s speech. AfD faction leader Alexander Gauland said there was no justification for the celebrations.
In her Bundestag speech, AfD faction leader Alice Weidel said that a “ceremony was being held for work on a treaty, which was completely uncalled for.” The new version of the treaty was being used to “consciously falsify history… in order to establish a centralized European superstate, which is completely alien to checks and balances and democratic participation.”
Linke and AfD Vote Against the New Text
The Élysée Treaty had been signed on January 22, 1963 by then-Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and then-President Charles de Gaulle. 18 years after the end of WWII it sealed the friendship of previously hostile countries.
Schäuble emphasized in Berlin: “Not only German citizens are waiting for a government ready for action four months after the elections. So are our friends and partners in Europe and the world.”
Voting for the text were the representatives of the Union, SPD, FDP and the Greens. The AfD and several of the Linke voted against it. The Linke had proposed its own version. Their faction leader Sahra Wagenknecht criticized social dumping and tax dumping in Europe.
Over the weekend, Merkel and Macron had already announced their willingness to increase cooperation in economics, society, politics and technology with the new treaty. The new Élysée Treaty is expected to be signed this year.
Schäuble was received with great applause in the National Assembly — the lower house of the French Parliament. The Right populist Marine Pen remained conspicuously seated. Before the session, the head of the right extremist Front National had once again criticized the European Union which was “used almost exclusively by Germany.” Traveling to Paris, among others, were Wagenknecht and FDP head Christian Lindner.
3. Lesley Gore:
It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
You would cry too, if it happened to you
From the Süddeutsche Zeitung:
The Right Strategy Against the AfD — Radicalism of the Middle Representatives of the AfD in Parliament
Commentary by Jens Schneider
January 25, 2018
This is how the war looks that AfD head Alexander Gauland has declared on the other parties in the Bundestag. The AfD has a claim to important committee postings. But their nominations cause a certain provocation. That is true for Peter Boehringer, the AfD candidate for chair of the Budget Committee, who has called attention to himself with misanthropic comments on refugees in terms of a “re-peopling of the German population.” And of Stephan Brandner who is notorious even in the AfD for his vulgar diatribes.
The other parties must find a clear and sensible answer to such provocations. Thus far, their dealings with the AfD have been by simple reflex and even against the rules that mark the spirit of an exemplary parliament. That just plays into the hands of the AfD. It is time to take a course that is defined by aplomb, composure and a clear approach, instead of agitation and defensiveness. The general tendency to condemn every one of the 92 representatives of the AfD as racist or other extremist, because he belongs to this distasteful party, should be replaced. General uproar leads nowhere, no matter how repulsive the AfD’s ideas may be. It has seldom harmed the AfD in its five years of existence and helped it greatly. A rejection must be specifically based, which in the case of Boehringer and Brandner is not difficult.
The AfD’s noticeably civil appearance in the Bundestag contradicts the image of an undisciplined rightist horde. Along with users of foul language, this party has representatives with manners. They are educated, have led a successful middle class-life, wish to convince with argumentation. That does not make them or the party better or less dangerous for democracy. But it does show that reflex is not the right reaction. The answer is in what makes a parliament convincing and strong. That includes rules applying to everyone, without exception. It was not well done, in the last legislative session, to change the office of seniority president so that no AfD member could be suitable for that post. The AfD has claim on all the posts appropriate to a party that has been chosen by 12.6% of voters. At any rate, parliament does not have to accept each representative for a post. It can and must reject individuals who appear unsuitable for reasons that speak against them in every [other] party. In the case of their candidate for seniority president Albrecht Glaser, many may have felt that way, but it would have been important to explain that more carefully.
In the cases of Brandner and Boehringer, the dignity of the office of committee chair is incompatible with their infamous transgressions. The other factions cannot accept these candidates; but they must be specific. There must not be an impression of blanket rejection of AfD candidates, because this impression damages the parliament. It was a mistake to allow the AfD suggestion for the Intelligence Committee to be defeated. Roman Reusch was a public official for more than 30 years; most recently managing chief state prosecutor. With the rejection of Reusch the AfD can play the victim, and they are happy to do that. The public is hoping for signs of strength, for the strong action that will put the AfD in its place. They are hoping for flaming rhetoric that will expose them. It will go nowhere. The AfD revealed itself long ago, and was elected nonetheless.
Appropriate action against the AfD means confronting them in debates with a clear point of view. A point of view that shows that democracy and the state function, even if deficiencies and mistakes are discussed and everything is directed at correcting them. It is about representing a policy which does not declare foreigners to be a danger, but sees and respects them as human beings. It is not simple. It will require care, stamina and consistency dealing with the AfD. But with the new extremists, moderation, clarity and being centered are the most convincing form of radicalism there can be in democracy.