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Far-right AfD politician kicked out of German parliamentary committee

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Far-right AfD politician kicked out of German parliamentary committee
Stephan Brandner listening to statements following the vote to remove him as committee chairman. Photo: DPA
16:55 CET+01:00
Alternative for Germany (AfD) politician Stephan Brandner has been voted out as Chairman of the Legal Committee in the Bundestag - the first such incident in parliamentary history.

The vote came after Brandner had ignored calls for his resignation following a series of controversial Tweets he had made.

It marked the first time in the Bundestag’s 70 year history that a committee chairman had been voted out. 

READ ALSO: 'Tearing itself apart': New rift in far-right AfD ahead of east German polls

Among other things, Brandner had retweeted a statement asking why politicians were “hanging around” mosques and synagogues in Halle following a terrorist attack last month, when the two victims had been “Bio-Deutsche” (organic Germans) who liked to listen to “Volksmusik.” 

It ignored the fact that the attack had originally been aimed at a synagogue.

The decision was made by the Christian Democrats and their Christian Social Union sister party, as well as the Social Democrats (SPD), Free Democrats, Greens, and die Linke (Left) at their Wednesday morning meeting.  

Brandner's former deputy Heribert Hirte (CDU) has now taken over the chairmanship. While the AfD is entitled to head the Legal Affairs Committee, the party has decided not to propose a new committee chairman for the time being. 

Brandner was “not suitable,” said Marco Buschmann, an FDP member of the legal committee.

After Brandner called his dismal unlawful, Buschmann said that dismissal was the first in 70 years of parliamentary history, but it was "undisputed.”

"The dismissal of Brandner is a clear signal against hate and agitation - we are finally giving the office back its dignity,” said Jan-Marco Luczak, deputy spokesman for legal policy for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group

Before the decisive meeting, Brandner called himself victim of the “Altparteien” (old parties) - a derogatory term used by the AfD for all political parties except their own.

Brandner had rejected resignation

AfD faction leader Alexander Gauland - himself not a stranger to controversial statements - accused his colleagues of spreading "untruths" about Brandner following the vote.

The other parties had "embarrassed themselves" because they "wanted him away,” he added.

READ ALSO: German politicians accuse AfD chief of echoing Hitler

After the controversial tweets he made about Halle, MPs from all factions except AfD had declared Brandner unacceptable and demanded his resignation, which he rejected. 

They then decided to vote him out, after the Geschäftsordnungsausschuss (Committee of Procedure of the Bundestag) gave the green light that such a process was permissible.

 
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