The Cordon Sanitaire Shudders in Thuringia

The FDP (Freie Demokratische Partei, Free Democratic Party) is a relatively minor conservative business-oriented party in Germany. Nowadays it would be described as “classical liberal” if it were in an American context. In last fall’s state elections in Thuringia, the FDP just barely surpassed the threshold to seat representatives in the state parliament. The Left (Die Linke) gained the greatest share of the vote, but the constellation of leftist parties did not have enough seats to automatically form a government.

Since then there has been wheeling and dealing by all parties in an effort to establish a viable coalition. Yesterday came a big surprise: with the support of the CDU (Christlich Demokratische Union, Christian Democratic Union) and the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland, Alternative for Germany), Thomas Kemmerich of the FDP was elected minister president (the equivalent of premier or governor) of the state of Thuringia.

When I first saw the news yesterday afternoon I was surprised — it seemed the cordon sanitaire against the AfD had been breached. Up until now, all across Western Europe the major immigration-critical populist parties had been kept out of government: the Sweden Democrats, the PVV in the Netherlands, Vlaams Belang in Belgium, and the AfD in Germany. Even though those “xenophobic” parties are quite popular, they have yet to obtain a majority of the vote in their respective countries, and the other parties simply agree never to join a coalition with them. Did yesterday’s events in Thuringia signal a change?

Not quite. The cordon shuddered a little bit, but remained intact. It seems the FDP never asked for the support of the AfD, and received it unexpectedly. Mr. Kemmerich and his party were just as appalled by the AfD as the leftist parties were. And Mr. Kemmerich announced he would resign his position to force new elections.

It’s not clear whether Chancellor Angela Merkel’s prominent public denunciation of the election in Thuringia helped pressure the FDP into making the decision to withdraw.

MissPiggy, who has been monitoring the situation closely, had this to say about today’s events:

It’s hard to keep up with what’s happening. Now Thomas Kemmerich has resigned. They are calling for new elections (entirely new, not just for the minister president). Apparently his family, home and children were threatened with violence.

Below is a tweet by DW (Deutsche Welle) about the chancellor’s demand that Mr. Kemmerich resign:

Merkel demands AfD-backed state premier step down

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the election of Thomas Kemmerich as Thuringia state premier with far-right help “unforgivable.”

5:03 AM — Feb 6, 2020

The following article from RTL, translated by MissPiggy, reports on the threats against Thomas Kemmerich’s children:

Heated mood after controversial Thuringia election

Election in Thuringia is highly controversial

Some of Thuringia’s new Minister President Thomas Kemmerich children went to school with an escort today. RTL learned this from Kemmerich’s entourage.

One of Kemmerich’s younger sons under escort to school

According to the report, one of his younger sons was supposed to have gone to school under protection, whereas his son of full age went to school alone. One of his daughters is said to have stayed at home with her mother.

The LKA [Germany’s version of the FBI] is currently preparing a security concept for the family. However, the LKA did not want to comment on this. “According to the nationwide uniform standards, all matters of personal and property protection are subject to secrecy. The TLKA [(Thuringia’s FBI] will not provide any further information on tactical protection measures,” the LKA informed RTL upon request.

The Jena police confirmed to RTL that Kemmerich’s home in Weimar was ‘attacked’ last night. An attempt was made to smear the pavement in front of the house with a slogan, but this was prevented. “The police have been alerted to the issue and will continue to monitor such objects more closely with patrols,” said press spokeswoman Franziska Groh to RTL.

Kemmerich is married and has six children.

Protests after election of Thomas Kemmerich as Minister President/Governor

Kemmerich was surprisingly elected as the new head of government in the Thuringian state parliament on Wednesday with the votes of Liberals, CDU and AfD. Kemmerich prevailed by one vote over the previous incumbent, Bodo Ramelow (Left). The result has led to fierce reactions nationwide, with demonstrations also taking place in front of Kemmerich’s house. There were also protests in several other cities – even outside Thuringia.

The notes to this RT video describe the Antifa response to the election in Thuringia:

Germany: Anti-fascists oppose new AfD-backed Thuringia premier

Hundreds of anti-fascists protested outside Thuringia’s parliament building in Erfurt on Wednesday, only two hours after electing Thomas Kemmerich as the new State Prime Minister.

Hundreds of anti-fascists protested outside Thuringia’s parliament building in Erfurt on Wednesday, only two hours after electing Thomas Kemmerich as the new State Prime Minister.

Kemmerich was supported by his own party, the Free Democrats (FDP), by the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which threw all of its weight behind him in the third round of voting.

The ruling coalition in the German state of Thuringia, constituted of the Die Linke, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the Green party, saw its candidate and the incumbent for state premier Bodo Ramelow lose by a single vote.

The migrant and asylum seekers supporting organisation Pro Asyl tweeted that the result of the election was “horrifying” and a “taboo breaker”.

On their official Twitter page, Die Linke accused the FDP of believing that it was “better to rule with fascists than not to rule at all.”

After being elected as the Prime Minister, Kemmerich, said he will refuse to form a ruling coalition with the (AfD).

Thuringia held its state election in October last year. The ruling party Die Linke won the highest share of the votes with 31 per cent, while the AfD doubled its own share and came second with 23.4 per cent. The FDP barely cleared the 5 per cent hurdle required to entire the regional parliament.

The BBC reports the resignation of Mr. Kemmerich, and gives more details about Mrs. Merkel’s call to maintain the cordon sanitaire:

Germany AfD: Thuringia PM quits amid fury over far right

A German state premier elected with the help of the far-right AfD says he is resigning to pave the way for fresh elections.

The election of liberal leader Thomas Kemmerich in the eastern state of Thuringia prompted national outrage.

“Resignation is unavoidable,” he said. For years Germany’s main parties have shunned Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Chancellor Angela Merkel — whose own party also backed Mr Kemmerich — called Wednesday’s election “unforgivable”.

The AfD has grown in popularity in recent years but has been condemned for its extreme views on immigration, freedom of speech and the press.

Wednesday’s vote was described as a political earthquake as it was the first time the AfD had helped form a government in Germany, breaking a consensus among the main parties never to work with extremist parties.

Mr Kemmerich has now announced he will seek new elections in the state, “to remove the stain of the AfD’s support for the office of the premiership”.

He will need a two-thirds majority to dissolve the chamber and bring about a fresh vote.

The Grauniad posted a lengthy article yesterday about events in Thuringia:

Outrage as German centre-right votes with AfD to oust Thuringia premier

Leftwing leader Bodo Ramelow voted out as CDU and FDP politicians ‘break taboo’

Angela Merkel’s CDU has called for fresh elections in Thuringia after centre-right politicians in the eastern German state used votes from the nativist Alternative für Deutschland to remove its leftwing premier, defying the national party’s refusal to work with the far right.

State elections last October had left the outgoing premier, Bodo Ramelow, of Die Linke, as the candidate with the strongest mandate but without an absolute majority, even in a coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats and the Green party.

Nonetheless, Ramelow was widely expected to be re-elected to form a minority government in Wednesday’s third round of voting.

Instead, the vote threw up a shock result that is likely to reverberate outside the borders of the small state with a population of only 2.1 million, which used to form part of the socialist German Democratic Republic.

Thomas Kemmerich, of the Free Democratic party (FDP), which had gained only five seats in October, beat Ramelow with 45 votes to 44 and immediately accepted his mandate.

The 54-year-old is only the second state premier in German history for the FDP, a pro-business party with liberal roots that was junior coalition partner to the CDU in Merkel’s second term as chancellor. Fourteen months ago, the FDP walked out of federal coalition talks with the CDU and the Greens, citing red lines and compromised principles.

While the ballot in the Thuringian parliament is anonymous, Kemmerich’s victory could have only been made possible with votes from the AfD, whose own candidate in the third round gained zero votes.

The AfD’s branch in Thuringia is dominated by the party’s aggressively nationalist wing. Last September, a court ruled that the AfD’s state leader, Björn Höcke, could legally be termed a fascist, saying such a designation “rests on verifiable fact”.

Speaking in the state parliament in the town of Erfurt amid heckles of “hypocrite” and “charlatan”, Kemmerich insisted “the firewall against the AfD” will prevail”, adding: “I am anti-AfD, anti-Höcke.”

Coming at a time at which traditional conservatives in Merkel’s party are agitating for a more relaxed approach to cooperating with the far right while CDU centrists are eyeing up a future coalition with the Greens, the Thuringia upset could mark a watershed moment.

Alternative für Deutschland’s co-leader Alexander Gauland hailed the outcome as a sign that “excluding the AfD is no longer an option”, while Alexander Mitsch of the CDU’s hardline WerteUnion pressure group said it showed his party “can be successful without the SPD and the Greens”.

Mike Mohring, who heads the Christian Democratic Union in Thuringia, initially insisted the result did not amount to an informal coalition with the far right, arguing that his party “is not responsible for the voting behaviour of other parties”.

[…]

The FDP leader, Christian Lindner, on Wednesday afternoon rejected accusations the vote had been pre-agreed with the far right, saying he had been surprised by the outcome, and that the AfD’s vote for his candidate had been “purely tactical”.

Lindner insisted Kemmerich was “the candidate of the centre” and appealed to the SPD and the Greens to enter talks with the new state premier. If such a cooperation was ruled out, he said, fresh elections in the state would be necessary.

The leadership of Merkel’s conservatives came out with a clearer, and more critical response. “The FDP has played with fire and set our entire country alight,” said the CDU secretary general, Paul Ziemiak.

He added that a government that had the support of “Nazis like Höcke” could not be the basis for a stable government and urged fresh elections in the state.

The CDU leader, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said her party’s politicians in Thuringia had acted “against our will”.

Finally, here is an analysis from Free West Media that highlights the role of Björn Höcke in the political situation in Thuringia:

In historic coup AfD rises as kingmaker in Thuringia

Björn Höcke has risen to AfD kingmaker by causing an internal political sensation with the unexpected election of the FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich as the new Thuringian prime minister in the German state.

February 6, 2020

ERFURT — The AfD parliamentary group leader organised an unofficial electoral alliance with the CDU and FDP, sending off the red-red-green government with its popular head of government Bodo Ramelow (Left Party) to man the opposition.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany president Josef Schuster told AFP that he was “horrified” by the vote outcome.

As one of the founders of AfD Thuringia, Höcke became Member of the Landtag after the 2014 Thuringian State Elections. Höcke is the speaker of the parliamentary group of the AfD and he is the spokesman of the Thuringia regional association of his party. He is said to be part of the “national-conservative wing” of the AfD and his faction is known as the Flügel [the Wing].

In September 2019, a court ruled that Höcke could legally be termed a “fascist” as the description “rests on verifiable fact”.

The AfD member duped all parties in the most recent ballot: while the Left, SPD and Greens celebrated Bodo Ramelow as the possible election winner, in reality they had lost their absolute majority. Around 100 days after the state election at the end of October, the real election winner has been determined: Björn Höcke.

Höcke succeeded in presenting the non-party candidate Christoph Kindervater as an alternative to incumbent Ramelow, but in the decisive third ballot the CDU and FDP did not vote for him, finally electing Kemmerich as prime minister.

It is a coup that is unparalleled in the history of parliament in Germany. But it is a democratic, legally valid election, not defrauding voters, despite accusations of breaking the taboo.

It remains to be seen whether and how the Erfurt earthquake will affect the Grand Coalition in Berlin. CDU and SPD members organised a crisis meeting in Berlin on Saturday to discuss the issue.

“The republic is in danger,” said Katja Kipping, a leader of the far-left Linke party.

Hat tips for the video and articles: Vlad Tepes for the Grauniad, and MissPiggy for the rest.

26 thoughts on “The Cordon Sanitaire Shudders in Thuringia

  1. That’s rug , evil dictator should be prosecuted along with all this traitors in Bundestag, they all are against democracy, I don’t know what is happening to the German people?? Are they blind or deaf ? It’s obviously old DDR . , rescue your country!!! Even if will be blood on the streets, it’s worth it for the kids , at least French are on the streets, this filthy politicians, they not go away by them self’s, You have to remove them , impeach them , all off them , and then vote AFD, that’s the only party You can trust right now , never in my lifetime tough that you can destroy such a great country in 5 years , it’s a disaster…

    • ..” you can destroy such a great country in 5 years , it’s a disaster…” So after all wasn’t such a “great country” if was destroyed in 5 years.. Over hype + skillful German propaganda ..
      Your assessment is wrong…The real “disaster” for Germany is a mindset German people ..Ubermansch,Herrenvolk and Deutschland, Deutschland über alles..is the reason why in our life time we are witnessing their collapse..
      As a Pole i have to say i enjoy watching this spectacle..

      • and when the spectacle comes to it’s climax, you will readily host the 8 million culture enrichers fleeing across the border, 40 miles from Berlin, won’t you?
        About the first verse of the german national anthem, I recommend some historical research about it’s intentions in the time it was written.
        The Polish people should be more aware of these conditions than any other people in Europe.

        • You know nothing about current political and social dynamics in Poland !..Please restrain yourself from ignorant and false statements..
          ..”The Polish people should be more aware of these conditions than any other people in Europe.”..
          hehehe..Typical German treat..We get used to,We have no fears of Germans whatsoever :-))
          You Germans are one step from the abyss.. [insults and intemperate remarks redacted]
          Summarizing ..you Germans are cooked ! and you brought this upon yourself..Urban legend about German “smartness” is overestimated..
          So you know now,what’s wide spread sentiment in Poland about our “neighbors”..
          EU is over..Le Pen will win..France will step out..so Poland ,Hungary..and your IV Reich project is dead..as much as cucumber in my salad..You Germans screw Europe again..

          • Don’t blame the ordinary people, that’s not right , and very rude, blame the politicians, Merkel &CO. , Greens, SPD , FDP. That’s real danger , they shout people up , it’s like in the communism , you had this in Poland, don’t You ? , so don’t blame whole nation for that , the generation doesn’t nothing to do with this madness, never ending guilt, that’s ridiculous thinking like that , almost primitive..

        • We have no choice..We know that right now we are fighting for very survival..as a and only, white homogeneous Nation in Europe and probably in the World..If we have to be wipe out..so Germans will go dawn to the Hell with Us as well..Berlin and others Germans cities are so near by…. We already got Patriots missile and F35..pretty soon ( next year) we will join NATO non-strategic nuclear missile umbrella..like Dutch,Italians..As you see there is a lot we can do..This capacity definitely will cool-off German-Russian alliance ..Those bullies may not be winning in Europe after all..It is NOT in the political and economical interest of USA..Regards..

  2. All people need to see is Bodo Ramelow’s whiny tweet where he compared Kemmerich to Hitler, it reminds me a lot of five year old’s complaining someone took their toy.

  3. It’s sad, really. Kemmerich might at least have tried. But with six children, I suppose I wouldn’t have either. Maybe, he underestimated the pressure that would be put on him.

    If anyone had told me about things like that happening in Germany only ten years ago, I wouldn’t have believed them.

  4. By the rule of law, Kemmerich can not resign. He can motion to dissolve parliament and have new elections, which motion requires a 2/3 quorum.
    And new elections are what CDU,SPD ,FDP and Greens fear the most.
    They have their pants full of faeces because the turnout will be desastrous for them.

  5. Protesters or a Soros rent-a-mob. I used to find the ads on Craigslist for the rent-a-mobs in the USSA.
    So called Antifa are just the rebooted version of the SA brownshirts from 80+ years ago.

    • Knowing AFD political manifest and some statements of their leaders i would categorize ADF as a first stage of NSDAP..
      Antifa is more like SD..

    • Wrong, anitfa are the communists of the 20’s and early 30’s that the Brownshirts were formed to fight. Please be bloody accurate when it comes to history. What you will see shortly is a new version of the brown shirts being formed to fight this same communist foe of old shortly.

      • That’s exactly what i/m saying..NSDAP..Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei
        The National Socialist German Workers’ Party,

  6. Baron, there are commenters in this thread that risk to spoil the image of an otherwise sober site. Just shouting out unfounded rubbish is not in the interest of all the other fine and civilized people writing here. BTW, if I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t know how to handle it without getting close to censorship.

    • My policy is “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom”.

      I only try to minimize the personal insults, excise foul language, and stop the Jew-fights before they get started.

    • hmmmWhat about a freedom of speech ? freedom to express own opinion ?
      Looks like our German friend doesn’t like the same medicine they are applying in such abundances last 50 years all over Europe..Particularly to Mitteleuropa part of Europe…
      According to WIKIPEDIA
      “The Mitteleuropa plan was to achieve an economic and cultural hegemony over Central Europe by the German Empire and subsequent economic and financial exploitation of this region combined with direct annexations, making of puppet states, and the creation of puppet states for a buffer between Germany and Russia.”..
      and there is a map of the project :
      https://www.tysol.pl/a26215–Tylko-u-nas-Dr-Lysakowski-Mitteleuropa-Kto-zapanuje-nad-Polska-zdominuje-Europe-srodkowa
      Have some decency my friend..Baron is not German type censor..and i/m also contributor to this side..

    • ..” the interest of all the other fine and civilized people writing here. “..
      You make me curious.. Enlighten me SVP..What is your definition to be “fine and civilized person” ? Does this definition contain any geographical,ethnic,racial boundaries my friend ?.

  7. Is there a publication available called ” The protocols of the elders of Berlin”?
    Some here are barking up the wrong tree and the tone reminds me of times way back when secretive ” financial puppet masters” were pulling the strings.
    Ring a bell? And yes ,Baron, there is a variety of flowers blooming and some of pleasant fragrance and some others.

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