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Open questions after the departure of Stahlknecht in Saxony-Anhalt | Free press

Magdeburg (dpa) – In the existential coalition crisis in Saxony-Anhalt, following the departure of Holger Stahlknecht as minister and party leader, the CDU must also quickly clarify personal issues.

Neither the question of who will lead the Interior Ministry in the future, nor who will take over the state presidency has been clarified. The state CDU will not immediately reorganize its leadership, Secretary General Sven Schulze told the German news agency on Saturday. The situation in Magdeburg is also being followed with concern in Berlin.

On Friday, 56-year-old Stahlknecht involuntarily lost his job as interior minister due to uncoordinated statements in the coalition dispute over the radio license and then announced his retirement as CDU chief.

The Magdeburg coalition of CDU, SPD and Greens is in danger of falling apart in the radio dispute: CDU and AfD reject the proposed increase of the contribution from 86 cents to 18.36 euros. The SPD and the Greens are in favor. Due to the impending veto in Saxony-Anhalt, the planned increase for all of Germany is on the cusp of coming.

CDU politician Stahlknecht speculated in an interview with the “Magdeburger Volksstimme” about the failure of the black-red-green coalition and announced a subsequent CDU minority government until the regular state elections. Then Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (also CDU) dismissed him.

Haseloff also wants to save the coalition against the backdrop of the troubled Corona crisis and has for years rejected minority governments as rigorously as relying on AfD votes.

At first, the state chancellery did not want to say who will lead the important and large interior department in the future. The issue is expected to be resolved next week. A completely new minister will be hard to find: nobody knows if the government and coalition will last until the state elections in June, and if they do, it will only be short term. It is therefore more likely that another CDU minister will also take over Stahlknecht’s portfolio. In addition to Prime Minister Haseloff and State Chancellery Rainer Robra, four CDU ministers are sitting at the cabinet table.

According to Secretary-General Schulze, he and the three party deputies, Minister of Education Marco Tullner, ex-Minister of Finance André Schröder and Heike Brehmer, member of the Bundestag, will take over the duties of the state presidency.

The coalition is in danger of falling apart if the CDU, SPD and Greens fail to find common ground on how to deal with the state treaty for a higher radio license fee. The CDU wants to block the increase and has a majority in favor of the opposition AfD. The SPD and the Greens want to support the state treaty.

Haseloff absolutely wants to prevent his CDU from voting only with the AfD. The Christian Democrats absolutely want to avoid falling over at the last minute in the upcoming election campaign. The coalition partners absolutely want to prevent Saxony-Anhalt as the only federal state from voting against the state treaty and thereby blocking the independently calculated premium increase for the public broadcasters nationwide.

Only if all countries agree to the project by the end of the year can the monthly fee be increased by 86 cents to 18.36 euros on January 1, 2021. Blocked Saxony-Anhalt, broadcasters are expected to call on the Federal Constitutional Court to denounce the adjustment.

Several prime ministers have campaigned for a yes from Saxony-Anhalt in recent days. Renegotiations are not wise from their point of view, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) summarized on Wednesday after a meeting with his counterparts. “It would not send a good signal if the state treaty fails,” added Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer. “This is also a civil responsibility that every Member of Parliament in Saxony-Anhalt has,” the CDU politician told the editorial network in Germany (Saturday).

It remains to be seen whether an agreement is possible given the very divergent ideas of the three allies. An important preliminary decision is coming Wednesday, when the media commission will vote on what voting behavior it will recommend to the Magdeburg state parliament for a vote a week later. To this end, there are several internal rounds of the parties and political groups, as well as joint crisis meetings of the coalition.

Even after the departure of Stahlknecht, the state CDU made it no secret that it wants to block the higher radio license fee permanently. The Greens, however, expect a signal from the Christian Democrats that they are genuinely prepared to negotiate, as head of state Sebastian Striegel said on Deutschlandfunk on Saturday. The “no compromises” announcement should not be a starting point for negotiations. The party council of the state SPD discussed the current situation and possible solutions on Saturday via video.

The expulsion of Stahlknecht from the cabinet itself could bring the coalition partners closer together. It is seen as a strong signal of the importance of Haseloff in saving the coalition – and could force coalition partners to make concessions. Even on Twitter, where coalition politicians recently fought violent and bitter word battles for days, it sounded conciliatory Friday night. “There is always a way and a solution,” tweeted SPD MP Andreas Steppuhn. “We’ll find them.”


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