Magdeburg (AP) – The Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, has halted the increase in the radio license amount in Germany to save his black-red-green coalition.
The CDU politician on Tuesday prevented a decisive vote in the state parliament after the CDU, SPD and Greens fought in vain for a joint vote for weeks. This blocks the premium increase. Several hours after the decision, the public broadcasters announced that they would sue the Federal Constitutional Court.
As the state chancellery in Magdeburg announced, Haseloff withdrew the bill on the state treaty before the final session of the state parliament. This means no further consideration in parliament is needed, it said. In effect, this means a blocking of the planned premium increase – because if not all state parliaments agree by the end of the year, it will be reversed.
The CDU has repeatedly made it clear that it does not want to agree to the planned increase from 86 cents to 18.36 euros. Since the AfD also rejects an increase, the CDU could theoretically have blocked the movement against the will of its coalition partners. In any case, Haseloff wanted to avoid a concerted vote between his CDU and the AfD. The SPD and the Greens had announced that such a case would see no future for the Kenyan alliance, which has been in power since 2016. A new state parliament will be elected in Saxony-Anhalt on 6 June 2021.
Haseloff defended his move after a cabinet meeting: he had to soberly conclude that the project would not find a majority in the state parliament, the CDU politician said. For him, the stability of the country through a “coalition of the middle” and in the middle of the corona pandemic was an absolute priority. “That is why the decision was taken today and I will stick with it.”
Haseloff thus appears to have resolved his second building site in the coalition dispute: The Greens criticized the actions of Haseloff’s CDU, but announced they would remain in government due to the dire Corona situation. “In this difficult situation, we cannot leave the country to a CDU that is usually incapable of action – and certainly not a right-wing AfD,” said state boss Sebastian Striegel.
The SPD acknowledged that the prime minister wanted to prevent a joint vote between the CDU and AfD and save the coalition, said party leader Katja Pähle. “However, in leaving the state treaty he paid a considerable political price among the heads of government of the states.” However, the CDU in the state parliament welcomed Haseloff’s decision as correct and consistent. “Consistency and credibility pays off,” said media politician Markus Kurz.
Now the Federal Constitutional Court has to decide whether the broadcasting fee will be increased in any case and how the financing of the public broadcasters will continue. ZDF, Deutschlandradio and the ARD broadcasters announced independently of each other that they were moving to Karlsruhe.
“Unfortunately, a constitutional complaint is inevitable,” said ARD Chairman Tom Buhrow. “Without sufficient, independently determined funding, the program, which is rooted in all regions of Germany, will suffer.”
ZDF Director Thomas Bellut said: “Today it is clear that there can be no more approval in Saxony-Anhalt. Unfortunately, there is no other option but to appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court. “
Deutschlandradio said the need-based funding of the public broadcasters was no longer guaranteed from 2021. Artistic director Stefan Raue emphasized: “We already have to follow a strict austerity course in order to be visible in the digital world with our offer. Failure to raise the rate would therefore inevitably affect programming. “
There was also clear criticism from Saxony’s CDU boss and Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer. “I think that’s impossible,” he said on Haseloff’s decision. Criticism and changes in public broadcasting require majorities to be organized in a reasonable debate with other federal states.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, head of the CDU Bundestag, praised Haseloff for his decision, but at the same time criticized the negative attitude of the CDU faction of Saxony-Anhalt: “This position was and is not shared by me and the majority in the CDU” , she told the news portal. “T-online”.
Alexander Dobrindt, the leader of the CSU regional group, backed Haseloff’s decision: The decision to avert a protracted government crisis is understandable, Dobrindt said in Berlin. At the same time, he criticized the processes of the past weeks: “We would have liked the process to be significantly different.” But it is clear: “Collaboration with the AfD cannot and will not exist.”
Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer spoke of a “black day for media history in Germany”. The SPD politician heads the state broadcasting committee.
The AfD judged the repeal of the bill to be a success. It has repeatedly shown that “the AfD can also develop an effect of the opposition,” said the head of the AfD parliamentary group, Alice Weidel, of the German news agency. Without the AfD, the contribution increase would have been “smooth and contradictory”.