Union sees itself in a serious crisis | Free press

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Berlin (dpa) – The mask and lobby affair in the parliamentary group of the Union is seen in the CDU as one of the worst lows since the donation affair of ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

“In the last 20 years, this was certainly one of the worst crises we as a Union have experienced. Especially difficult because it is a credibility crisis ”, said party leader Thorsten Frei (CDU) in the internet format“ Bild Live ”. He spoke of “enormous damage” before this Sunday’s state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate and before the local elections in Hesse.

Three parliamentarians left the Union group under public pressure after it became known that they or their companies had been commissioned to arrange corona-protective masks, or after suspicion of paid influence in favor of the authoritatively ruled Caucasus Republic of Azerbaijan. They denied the allegations. The top of the parliamentary group then asked the Union parliamentarians to declare on Friday evening that they had obtained no financial benefits in connection with the fight against the corona pandemic – either directly or through companies. All 240 MPs from the CDU and CSU have signed the requested declaration on their honor.

Group vice president Gitta Connemann was very relieved about ZDF at the time. The head of the regional CSU group, Alexander Dobrindt, threatened to be expelled from the Union parliamentary group if MPs answered incorrectly. “The explanation is clear. And everyone knows what it means if one did not explain the truth here: Such colleagues would no longer have a place in our group, ”he said at the same station.

However, there are also voices in the Union who, given the suspicion of notorious lobbying in favor of Azerbaijan, would have liked a more extensive investigation. MP Roderich Kiesewetter (CDU) told the ZDF, “I would have been happy if the question had been broadened – not just about medical equipment and masks, but that everything would have been put to the test.”

From the point of view of fraction place Frei, the crisis cannot be resolved within a few days. “That’s why, I think, it’s so crucial that we unequivocally put ourselves at the forefront of those who want to prevent such things from happening in the future,” he said.

However, from the point of view of the Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU), these are individual cases. “It is not a structural problem at the CDU or the CSU. Many of my colleagues are very angry. It cannot therefore be compared with the donation affair of many years ago, which exposed structural problems in the Union at the time. Yet we cannot accept that, “said Hans of the” Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung “(Saturday). He demanded that those affected should also repay the money” that they had received in an immoral way “.

Like the SPD, the union has now also presented a plan for greater transparency, for example in the case of extra earnings for MPs. Both sides have started negotiations that will continue next week. But the SPD is calling for more movement. “Especially when it comes to the idea of ​​transparency obligations, the CDU and CSU leave their MPs, who have lost their moral compass, too much room for opaque matters,” said SPD parliamentary director Carsten Schneider of the “Rheinische Post” (Saturday) . For example, the CDU and CSU plan prescribes that members of the Bundestag must declare extra earnings of 100,000 euros or more to the nearest cent – the SPD wants that without an income limit.