Berlin (dpa) – Green leader Robert Habeck has described the party exclusion proceedings against his party member and mayor of Tübingen Boris Palmer as “inevitable”.
The phrases Palmer posted to his Facebook page on Friday were “offensive and racist” and “inappropriate for a mayor,” Habeck said at a news conference Monday. Palmer himself assured that he did not want to attract attention with his broadcast and underestimated the magnitude of the outrage. Party investigators are sometimes skeptical of the rigorous process of elimination.
The Greens are accusing Palmer of racism over a statement posted on Facebook about former national footballer Dennis Aogo, who has a Nigerian father, and wants to kick him out of the party. With a three-quarters majority, the state party conference had voted in favor of an expulsion lawsuit against Palmer last weekend.
Habeck said it was also an unpleasant weekend for the party leadership. “It would have been great, Boris would have just kept his mouth shut,” said the Green boss, who also knows Palmer well personally. He hasn’t heard an apology yet. In the past there have been repeated attempts to resolve conflicts with the mayor of Tübingen through talks. That was also the case this time. “Many words were exchanged and many hands were stretched out over and over.” Now we have to wait for the decision of the arbitrators; an orderly procedure had been initiated.
On Saturday, Green Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock condemned Palmer’s Facebook post and to some extent announced the exclusion process, which was briefed shortly afterwards. “Boris Palmer’s statement is racist and repugnant. Appealing to irony afterwards does not undo it. The whole thing is part of ever-new provocations that exclude and hurt people. Boris Palmer has lost our political support as a result. After the renewed incident, our state and federal committees are discussing the corresponding consequences, including lockout procedures, ”wrote Baerbock.
He could not estimate how long the proceedings against Palmer could take, Habeck said Monday. That depends on how many authorities are being called now. Regarding the assessment of the Facebook post, Habeck said he assumed that “the common quote” would now be embedded in the long-running conflict with Palmer.
Palmer himself has now at least partially admitted a mistake. “Of course it would have been wiser not to post it at all,” said Palmer of the “Bild” newspaper. At the same time, he opposed “exclusion and charges”. Parts of the party’s political leadership were “committed to leftist identity politics,” Palmer said. His Facebook post was not a calculation. “I had no idea what earthquake I would cause again.” He wanted to make “one of my longstanding internal party opponents” understand how absurd he found his constructed allegations of racism. “Educational satire to some extent.” But he should have figured out “what to do with it,” Palmer wrote.
Several experts showed their skepticism about the chances of success of the exclusion process on Monday. The political scientist from Freiburg Ulrich Eith suspects that the step for the Greens in the election year could even backfire. For months, the debate over Palmer’s controversial statements and thus internal party affairs has been central, Eith told the German news agency on Monday. “That distracts from what the Greens must now stand for in the election campaign: convincing citizens and finding solutions to the pressing questions of the future.”
From the point of view of party investigator Nils Diederich, a substantive dispute would have been more productive than an ‘administrative hammer’. But it’s also possible the issue will be forgotten until the federal election in late September, Diederich said. “Unless, of course, the whole story continues until shortly before Election Day.”
The Southwest Greens think the process could take anywhere from three to six months. On the possible outcome, Palmer said the “picture”: “I am sure the arbitral tribunal will acquit me. I am accused of changing my intentions to the opposite.” To clarify that, he also spoke out in favor of this proceeding.
Unlike other experts, the Düsseldorf party investigator Sophie Schönberger gives the exclusion process a good chance of success – given the content of the thesis in question and Palmer’s exposed position. So far, however, there have been hardly any cases where the Greens have excluded members due to public statements, “so there is not too much experience in the practice of arbitration courts,” Schönberger explains.