Political comeback for Hans-Georg Maaßen? | Free press

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Suhl (AP) – The Thuringian CDU is sending the former president of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution Hans-Georg Maaßen (CDU) as a direct candidate for the federal election campaign.

The 58-year-old, who is politically controversial for his stance on the federal government’s refugee policy, was posted Friday evening in Suhl for the South Thuringian constituency 196. Maaßen received 37 of the 43 votes cast in the vote of the delegates of four district associations . With 44-year-old Hardy Herbert, he had an opponent from the region who got 6 votes.

He has good connections in Berlin, Maaßen said in his application speech. “They know me.” He wanted the constituency where he took an apartment, “not represented from the back seat.”

Maaßen rejected the allegation of AfD proximity. As chairman of the Constitutional Protection Office, he started the AfD investigation in 2018 – by law, not by occasion. He supports the CDU’s delimitation decision, which does not allow cooperation with the left and the AfD. “I would like to convince people who vote for AfD in protest to vote for the CDU again”. But he also stands for “not turning a blind eye” to the problems that migration entails.

Long before the decision was made, the staff caused a lack of understanding and criticism, even in the ranks of the Union. Armin Laschet, the CDU boss and chancellor candidate, recently said that Maaßen also had to adhere to not cooperating or speaking with the AfD. The Prime Minister of Bavaria, Markus Söder, had warned against an appointment. The CSU boss described Maassen’s candidacy as a “difficult signal”.

Constituency 196 in southern Thuringia became vacant after traditional candidate Mark Hauptmann left the CDU during the mask affair. The public prosecutor’s office is investigating Hauptmann on suspicion of bribery and his account with about one million euros has been blocked. “Our claim is that the constituency is not covered by the AfD or the left,” said Schmalkalden-Meiningen CDU district chairman Ralf Liebaug. He brought Maaßen, who is from North Rhine-Westphalia and lives in Berlin, into the game.

Maassen is a good option to “preserve the constituency,” said Hildburghausen district chairman Christopher Other, on the sidelines of the delegates’ meeting. The CDU in southern Thuringia is not about sending a political signal towards the AfD. “The incompatibility decision applies,” stressed the 31-year-old.

At the time, as chairman of the Constitutional Protection Office, Maaßen was heavily criticized for doubting that foreigners would be “hunted” after the murder of a German in Chemnitz. In November 2018, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) temporarily retired him.