Merkel’s CDU warns against alliance with far-right AfD

Germany's far-right AfD is indirectly responsible for the suspected extremist killing of a pro-migrant politician, Chancellor Angela Merkel's party charged Monday, warning members against any form of cooperation with the party.

Merkel's CDU warns against alliance with far-right AfD
CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

In a position paper, the top brass of Merkel's centre-right CDU sought to snuff out any talk of a possible partnership with the AfD.

Speculation of such an alliance has repeatedly surfaced, and recently, several local CDU politicians have voiced the possibility as the far-right party is poised to gain significant ground in three state elections later this year.

On Monday, the CDU's leadership sought to stamp out any such musings at the regional or local level.

“Anyone who makes a case for a rapprochement or even cooperation with the AfD must know that he is seeking rapprochement with a party that consciously tolerates far-right thinking, anti-Semitism and racism in its ranks,” the paper said.

The CDU also vowed to “deploy every possible means” to block any possible alliance with the AfD.

READ ALSO: Germany faces 'major challenge' to stop far-right violence: Merkel

Pointing to the June 2nd killing of local politician Walter Lübcke, believed to have been carried out by a far-right sympathiser, the CDU said the AfD had contributed to inciting such extremist hatred.

The “propagandists of hate and exclusion laid the path for violence,” the paper said, adding that “leading representatives of the AfD and not least its members participated in this consciously”.

They therefore carry “responsibility for the targeted poisoning of the societal climate and the coarsening of the political discourse” in Germany, it said.

Anyone who backs the AfD must know that they are “then consciously also accepting far-right hate and incitement, extreme polarisation and personal defamation.”

Railing against Merkel's decision in 2015 to let in more than a million asylum seekers to Germany, the AfD scooped 13 percent of the vote in the 2017 general election.

Since its entrance into the Bundestag, the far-right party has repeatedly sparked scandals, including its leaders challenging Germany's culture of atonement over World War II and the Holocaust.

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Germany’s centre-right CDU to elect new leadership by end of the year

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party will elect its new leadership by the year's end, general secretary Paul Ziemiak said Monday, detailing plans for a clean slate after a disastrous election that the party lost to the Social Democrats.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and CDU leader Armin Laschet on the election campaign trail in Aachen before the election.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and CDU leader Armin Laschet on the election campaign trail in Aachen before the election. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Federico Gambarini

In power for 16 years under Merkel, the Christian Democratic Union is grappling with its deepest crisis in decades after turning in a historic low score in September’s election.

Its leader Armin Laschet last week signalled his readiness to step aside, setting the ball rolling for renewal at the top.

READ ALSO: Laschet signals he’s ready to step down as CDU leader

Ziemiak said a date for the congress to determine the new makeup of the party’s top brass as well as how rank and file members can participate in the leadership selection process will be announced on November 2nd.

But the party’s leaders “today agreed unanimously that we will elect a completely new executive board,” he said, adding that in terms of the calendar, the “window for this is year’s end”.

Bild daily had reported that the party has made a tentative booking for December 6th-13th in Dresden for its possible congress.

READ ALSO: Germany edges a step closer to a government led by Social Democrats

Laschet, who is state premier of Germany’s most populous region North Rhine-Westphalia, was elected head of the CDU in January.

For some time, he was the clear favourite to succeed Merkel, who is bowing out of politics after running four consecutive coalitions.

But his party’s ratings began to slide as he committed a series of gaffes, including being caught on camera laughing in the background during a solemn tribute to flood victims.

With the CDU’s ratings plunging, Merkel tried to boost Laschet’s campaign with joint appearances, but was unable to help the conservatives pull off a win on election day.