Head of Merkel's CDU in Thuringia steps down over far-right crisis
The head of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU in Germany's Thuringia state stepped down Friday over his role in an alliance with a far right party which plunged the party into crisis.
"I believe we are right to calm our party down, set personal interests aside and find a common way forward," Mike Mohring said in a video posted to Twitter.
"I don't want to stand in the way, and that's why I won't stand for the state presidency" of the party again, he added.
Diese Woche ist viel passiert. In Berlin und in Erfurt. Ich möchte unseren @cdu_thueringen Landesvorstand vorschlagen,den geplanten #Landesparteitag mit turnusmäßigen Wahlen zum Landesvorstand vorzuziehen und dort eine personelle und inhaltliche Aufstellung für die #Zukunft (1/2) pic.twitter.com/oyQRA09ieB— Mike Mohring (@MikeMohring) February 14, 2020
Mohring was criticised from across the German political spectrum last week, after CDU regional lawmakers voted with the far-right AfD to oust a popular Left party politician as state premier in Thuringia.
Such never-before-seen apparent cooperation between far right and centrist parties made the tiny central German state of two million people the epicentre of an earthquake that shook national politics.
Merkel herself dubbed the election of a liberal state premier with CDU and AfD votes "unforgivable" and called for the result to be "reversed".
But Mohring initially refused calls from the leadership in Berlin to help bring about new elections.
- 'Trouble and turmoil': What the CDU crisis means for the future of Merkel and Germany
- From 'avenger' to 'anti-Merkel': Who could be Germany's next chancellor?
- 'Cripple democracy': How the far-right is out to shatter German politics
His stubbornness highlighted the weakness of CDU chief and Merkel's designated successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who made a shock announcement Monday that she would step down.
Two of the candidates to replace her and lead the party into federal elections at the latest in autumn next year are more conservative than Merkel, once again stoking speculation the veteran chancellor could leave before her
final term is up.