Saxony-anhalt: haseloff dismisses interior minister

A government crisis threatens in Saxony-Anhalt in the dispute over the radio license. After Interior Minister Stahlknecht had brought a CDU minority government into play, Prime Minister Haseloff kicked him out.

Saxony-Anhalt’s Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff has State Interior Minister Holger Stahlknecht dismissed. During the Prime Minister’s ongoing efforts to stabilize the "Kenya coalition", Stahlknecht had "uncoordinated" and "publicly suggested the breach of the coalition and the possibility of a minority government formed solely by the CDU," declared the State Chancellery.

Haseloff emphasized that, especially in view of the corona pandemic, his goal was still to "lead a government that is capable of acting in every respect and that also has reliable majorities in the state parliament". The relationship of trust necessary for this, which is particularly necessary in the leadership of the Ministry of the Interior, was "so severely disturbed by Stahlknecht’s actions that he can no longer belong to the state government". He has already given Stahlknecht the certificate of discharge.

Stahlknecht, who has also been Saxony-Anhalt’s CDU chief for a good two years, had long been traded as a possible successor to Haseloff. After several missteps and scandals in his ministry and in the CDU, however, he had given the prime minister precedence in the top candidate for the next state election in June 2021.

Dispute over radio license fee

Previously, Stahlknecht had confirmed his party’s no to increase the radio fee. In Magdeburg’s "Volksstimme" he no longer ruled out a break in the coalition. If the SPD and the Greens let the coalition burst, "there would be a CDU minority government and regular state elections on June 6, 2021".

Stahlknecht replied in the negative as to whether the CDU will move away from its position before the meeting of the media committee on December 9th: "The CDU will not vacate its position." He criticized that the discussion gave the impression that it was only about 86 cents per household and month: "Overall, however, we are talking about a sum of 1.5 billion euros in four years, which the public broadcasters more per year should get. " The CDU parliamentary group rightly questions whether there have been enough austerity efforts. Also, the public broadcasters "insufficiently mapped" the transformation process in the eastern German states. They reported "occasionally with the raised index finger of moralization".

He also criticized the commission to determine the financial needs of the broadcasting corporations (KEF): "The KEF presents its proposals oiled, anointed and no longer vulnerable." It must be asked whether this procedure is still up-to-date: "It cannot be that the state parliaments in Germany are degraded to Abnickvereinen."

The SPD and the Greens sense attempted coup

The broadcast fee should next year will rise to 18.36 euros. Only in Saxony-Anhalt is there no majority for this. So far, there is still no convergence there. The SPD and the Greens accused Stahlknecht of wanting to use the dispute to overthrow Haseloff.

"Now there is clarity," tweeted the Greens parliamentary group leader Cornelia Luddemann, looking at the Stahlknecht interview. The CDU was never concerned with public broadcasting, but with the overthrow of Haseloff and the preparation of a minority government with the AfD. SPD parliamentary group leader Katja Pahle accused Stahlknecht of pursuing personal goals. "Here someone wants to take the chance to win the power struggle in the CDU after all," said Pahle. "The attempt at a strategic shift to the right is a deliberate breach of the dam and an open declaration of war on the Prime Minister."

Kramp-Karrenbauer warns

CDU boss Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer praised Haseloff’s decision to fire Stahlknecht. "The CDU stands for the fact that people can rely on them, especially in difficult times," she told the dpa news agency. "Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff made that clear today."

Kramp-Karrenbauer called on the coalition for stability. "I hope that all responsible forces in Saxony-Anhalt will work together with the Prime Minister to ensure political stability," said the federal chairwoman. Haseloff made appropriate suggestions for this. "The decision now lies in particular with the SPD and the Greens, who have to become aware of their political responsibility."

Haseloff, together with the Magdeburg State Chancellery, proposed to bypass the controversial vote on the State Broadcasting Treaty and to block the increase by not addressing it. The SPD and the Greens reject this.

Dissatisfaction also in the state CDU

The interview by Stahlknecht also caused a tense mood in the state CDU, there is talk of outbursts of anger. The Christian Democrats have been trying for weeks to ensure that their basic position on public broadcasting differs significantly from that of the AfD. The public broadcasters are correct and important, repeated media politician Markus Kurz again and again. However, the stations are too big and too expensive, he explained, why his parliamentary group is voting against the fee increase and thus wants to block it nationwide.

The AfD also rejects the state treaty including the premium contribution and has a majority in the state parliament with the Christian Democrats. The opposition AfD is fundamentally against the contribution system.

Stahlknecht was often criticized

The uncoordinated interview is part of a whole chain of incidents with which Stahlknecht has drawn criticism in recent years. Only a few weeks ago the President of the Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster, suggested that he resign and accused him of promoting anti-Semitism with statements about police protection for Jewish institutions. Other examples were the hesitant expulsion of a CDU district executive in Anhalt-Bitterfeld, who had a popular neo-Nazi motif tattooed on his arm, or the hasty and ultimately unsuccessful appointment of the controversial police unionist Rainer Wendt as Secretary of State.