Erfurt (AP) – Some hope to score points with the staff, others see the following problem facing the CDU in the super election year: Former President of Constitutional Protection, Hans-Georg Maaßen, could be elected as the candidate of the Bundestag of the Union in southern Thuringia.
Delegates from four district associations in South Thuringia will decide on Friday. The political commitment of the former domestic intelligence chief is also controversial in his party’s ranks. The joy in the regional association CDU is thus limited. Maasen’s chances of being elected in constituency 196 are very good.
“We would have liked to have refrained from these debates,” said the Thuringian CDU. The chairman, Christian Hirte, recently told “Die Zeit”: “For the CDU it does more harm than good.” A new Bundestag will be elected in Germany on 26 September and a new Landtag is planned in Thuringia.
Does the nationally known measure bring the wind in the back that some South Thuringian district associations are hoping for during the election campaign, or rather the breeze of a poisonous debate about the borders of the Thuringian CDU on the right and its relationship with the AfD? Maaßen himself recently assured himself in an interview with “Freie Wort”: “There should be no cooperation with the AfD. I want to participate to take votes from the AfD.”
In January 2020, Maaßen had demanded that the CDU draft its own candidate for prime minister elections – and, if necessary, allow him to be elected by votes from the AfD: most importantly, there be a majority. About a month later, the AfD even helped FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich become prime minister for a short period of time – and Thuringia fell into a deep government crisis. The CDU also voted for Kemmerich at the time and broke in the polls.
Since then, no other party in Thuringia has reshuffled itself as fundamentally as the CDU – with new chairpersons at the top of the parliamentary group and regional association. But the old camps still exist. After the 2019 state elections, CDU MP from South Thuringia, Michael Heym, campaigned for talks with the AfD about the possibility of forming a government. In the south, where Maassen wants to win the Bundestag’s mandate, the Christian Democrats are seen as particularly conservative.
Maaßen, a member of the conservative values union, had already appeared in South Thuringia in the 2019 election campaign year. It was not long ago that he was massively criticized as President of Constitution Protection in 2018 for doubting that foreigners would be “hunted” after the murder of a German in Chemnitz. In November 2018, Maaßen was finally sent into temporary retirement.
The fact that he is now under discussion as a federal candidate for four district associations in the south of Thuringia also has to do with another problem of the CDU in the Free State: your former Bundestag member Mark Hauptmann stepped down as a candidate and has since left the CDU. He is accused of being involved in controversial cases with corona protective masks. The Thuringian Public Prosecution Service is investigating suspected corruption. Hauptmann’s place in constituency 196 was therefore canceled.
It is said in circles of the CDU regional association that some Christian Democrats there probably hoped to be able to present in moderation an unencumbered candidate in the election campaign – and at the same time someone who is nationally known. The environment is not easy. The SPD sends the ex-biathlon trainer and Olympic champion Frank Ulrich, who, unlike the Rhinelander Maaßen, comes from the region. The deputy head of the DGB district of Hesse-Thuringia wants to flee to the left.
In addition to Maassen, two other applicants have indicated that they are prepared for a CDU candidacy in constituency 196. One of them – Hardy Herbert – does not want to be seen as a countermeasure. “I am not against Mr Maassen’s candidacy,” he says. Rather, he wanted to make an offer to the CDU deputies to give a regionally-entrenched politician the opportunity to move to the Bundestag.