Saxony-anhalt: "somehow we managed to achieve something together"

After a turbulent day for the CDU in Saxony-Anhalt, the coalition is still fighting for a solution. The SPD calls for a clear demarcation from the AfD. There are also more and more voices from the federal parties.

In Saxony-Anhalt, after the dismissal of Interior Minister Holger Stahlknecht and his resignation as CDU state chief, no solution to the coalition crisis is in sight. Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU) must now not only avert a break with the coalition partners SPD and Greens, he must also hold together the opposing forces in his party on the way there.

The SPD meanwhile wants to hold on to the coalition. Following a video conference by the party council, state chairwoman Juliane Kleemann said: "Everyone who took part in the discussion was deeply concerned to hear what is currently at stake in Saxony-Anhalt." This not only affects the goal of preventing right-wing extremists from exerting influence on state politics, but also the ability to act in the fight against the corona pandemic. "The Kenya coalition as a ‘bulwark against the right’ must not be jeopardized. The CDU is responsible for maintaining the foundations of this state government," said Kleemann.

SPD: CDU must differentiate itself from the AfD

The SPD parliamentary group leader Katja Pahle had previously called on the CDU on NDR Info to clearly differentiate itself from the AfD. "You can’t work with right-wing extremists," she said. "So I hope that the prime minister can keep the firewall in his party very high."

As a possible solution to the dispute, Pehle referred to a motion for a resolution by her party, according to which the amended Interstate Broadcasting Treaty could be adopted together with a catalog of demands for further negotiations. "However, I cannot estimate to what extent there is movement in the CDU, which has so far been very solidified. And of course the Greens are also at the table, who have their own ideas." She is betting that the three parties will "somehow get something together".

Kretschmer advises approval

A veto from Saxony-Anhalt would break the state treaty. The Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer therefore appealed to his CDU party friends in Magdeburg to agree. "It would not be a good signal if the State Treaty failed," he told the editorial network Germany. "That is also a civic responsibility that every single member of parliament in Saxony-Anhalt has."

In the Magdeburg coalition agreement, the goal of stable contributions is agreed. The SPD and the Greens argue, however, that inflation compensation must be included. Should the CDU enforce its rejection with the help of the AfD, the SPD and the Greens want to leave the coalition. All three partners had actually ruled out a collaboration with the AfD.

Left boss warns of "dam break"

This is another reason why the dispute has now attracted attention far beyond Saxony-Anhalt. Left party leader Katja Kipping warned about the situation in the state of a "tremendous break in the dam". It is about the question of "whether the CDU is looking to join forces with the fascists of the AFD," she told the editorial network in Germany.

In the Dusseldorf "Rheinische Post", SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mutzenich said: "We have to remind the Union as a whole that cooperation with the democracy-defying AfD will not only cause existential difficulties for the specific coalition in Saxony-Anhalt."

Kramp-Karrenbauer sees coalition partners as an obligation

The CDU federal chairman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer made the SPD and the Greens responsible. Haseloff made suggestions. "The decision now lies in particular with the SPD and the Greens, who have to become aware of their political responsibility." At the beginning of the week, the head of government worked out a proposal with the state chancellery to avoid a vote in the state parliament. As a result, the increase may not come into force on January 1st as planned. The SPD and the Greens had refused.

The CDU chairman candidate and North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet as well as CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak once again ruled out a collaboration with the AfD. Ziemiak accused the SPD and the Greens of wanting to burst the Kenya coalition. You are not concerned with the radio fee, he wrote in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung". "They are concerned with nothing more than questioning the Union’s credibility in dealing with the AfD."

Dismissal and notice of resignation

The coalition partners have been struggling in vain for a solution for days. On Friday, the internal party dispute in the CDU had come to a head. After a controversial interview with Stahlknecht, Hasseloff dismissed him as Minister of the Interior – in the evening Stahlknecht also announced his withdrawal from the CDU state chairmanship for Tuesday. In an interview with the "Magdeburger Volksstimme", the 56-year-old announced that if the coalition with a CDU minority government broke up he would continue until the regular state elections in June 2021. Prime Minister Haseloff has always categorically excluded a minority government – as well as a dependence on votes from the AfD.

The decision on Stahlknecht’s successor as party leader will obviously not be made too quickly. First, the party vice-president and he himself would do the work, said General Secretary Sven Schulze. Vice-bosses are Education Minister Marco Tullner, Ex-Finance Minister Andre Schroder and Heike Brehmer, Member of the Bundestag. In the next few days, the party committees should discuss how to proceed.

Scientist: Haseloff has to restore authority

The political scientist Sabine Kropp does not yet want to describe the dismissal of Stahlknecht as a "liberation blow" for Haseloff in the daily topics. It is true that the Prime Minister got rid of an internal party critic. It remains to be seen whether this is actually a liberation – "because the real crux – the vote on the State Treaty next week – is still pending." It is also unclear whether the coalition can still be saved. The store of trust between the coalition parties was clearly drained. "We know from coalition research that in the six months before an unloved coalition comes to an end, conflicts generally increase."

For Prime Minister Haseloff, it is now a matter of restoring his authority in the internal party dispute. "Perhaps he has a chance because he is very popular with the electorate and the members of his own parliamentary group also have to consider whether they actually want to damage someone whose official bonus they also benefit from in the election campaign." In this respect, she does not consider it out of the question that his authority could be restored, says Kropp – "but with considerable damage and a considerable loss of confidence".