Theodoros Benakis

CDU leader excludes cooperation with far-right AfD at all government levels

Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0 Author: Rosenkohl
AfD's Islamophobic poster in Schleswig-Holstein, 3 May 2018.

Recent polls have shown increased support for the far-right German party, AfD, leading to speculation about a potential coalition with the conservative CDU after the upcoming elections. In the past, several prominent conservative party members have shown interest in forming such a coalition at the regional and local levels.

Friedrich Merz, the chairman of CDU – the largest opposition party in Germany, has ended speculations by pledging not to cooperate with the far-right AfD at any level. He stated that majorities can be formed in all parliaments and local councils in Germany without the AfD. In an interview with the German broadcaster ARD on Sunday, Merz clarified that the CDU has a strict policy of not working with the AfD in parliament or local councils. He further emphasized that this policy is also applicable at the municipal level.

During an interview with ZDF in July, Merz stated that if the AfD achieved positions as district administrator in Thuringia and mayor in Saxony-Anhalt, it would result from democratic elections, and the CDU would have to accept it. This gave the impression that the CDU had softened its position towards the AfD. However, during a recent interview with ARD, Merz clarified that his July comment applied to all parties and that the AfD posed a challenge to all.

A decade ago, prominent conservative economists and former CDU members founded AfD as a Eurosceptic conservative party. However, it has gradually shifted towards the far-right and now aligns with Marine Le Pen (France) and Matteo Salvini (Italy) parties. AfD supports “Dextit,” which is the exit of Germany from the EU, and is also anti-migrant, anti-Muslim, and denies climate change. In addition, it is a pro-Russian and pro-Putin party. Despite recently receiving high ratings in a nationwide opinion poll, working with this party is considered taboo for Germany’s mainstream politicians. Moreover, entering the national or local governments with AfD would promise Germany and the EU a gloomy future.

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