The man who leads the Thuringian AfD together with right-winger Björn Höcke sounds satisfied. "Well, that's great, is not it?" Says Stefan Möller happily. His group has not officially yet decided. "But I think we will agree in the end."
What Möller is talking about is the third item on the agenda of the new Thuringian state parliament this week. "Second law amending the Thuringian law to safeguard municipal budgets", is the bureaucratic title. The goal: The country is to transfer to the cities and municipalities of the country an additional 170 million euros from its billions of dollars reserve.
The design comes from CDU and FDP. Together, their two factions do not even have more than a third of the 90 Landtag seats. But the demand is popular and justified in terms of content: even a boom town like Jena had to impose a budget freeze last.
Union and Liberals hope to get back on the offensive. Finally, SPD and Greens brusquely rejected their advances to form a common minority coalition of four parties - a so-called Zimbabwe Alliance. Instead, the current red-red-green coalition wants to continue its cooperation in a minority format.
Ramelow wants to be re-elected in February
But nobody knows how exactly that should work. Finally, since the state election on 27 October there is quite a mess. The state government under the sole left-prime minister in Germany, Bodo Ramelow, has no majority in parliament and is now only executive in office. At the same time, however, it does not suffice for a bourgeois majority after the CDU's heavy losses - no matter which country name you go through, Kenya, Jamaica or just Zimbabwe.
Possible majorities are excluded, because CDU and FDP do not want to cooperate with the left and, at least so far, nobody wants to work officially with the AfD. The voices in the CDU to respond to offers of conversation Höckes are silent for the time being.
Thus, Thuringia, once again, to the test laboratory. In February, Ramelow wants to ask for reelection in the state parliament. That could work, because in the third round a simple majority is enough. After that, he wants to continue, as he says, "with changing majorities" on. That means: Since he does not want to talk to the AfD of course, he usually needs at least four votes from CDU and / or FDP.
Martin rubble / DPA
CDU politician Mohring, left-leader Ramelow
Actually, this is not a bad prospect for the two opposition factions. They can thwart the left government on ideological issues. And for each approval, they are likely to buy the red-red-green vote for their own initiatives as an offsetting deal.
Computational majority for CDU, FDP and AfD
But there is still the blue side of power: Even if they do not formally want to cooperate with each other - mathematically, the CDU and FDP have a majority in parliament with the AfD. What that means was already apparent at the end of November in the near-election of the AfD candidate for the vice presidency in the state parliament. The deputy Tosca Kniese got in the secret ballot 42 votes against - this corresponds exactly to the strength of the red-red-green camp, which had previously made his rejection very clear. Conversely, all 39 yes votes and nine abstentions were obviously from the factions of CDU, AfD and FDP.
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This fronting could now also be repeated in the vote on bills - for example, this week, when it comes to the millions of syringes for the municipalities. Left and the Green reject the attack, the SPD wants to propose itself a municipal package of millions The AfD, however, signals agreement to the black and yellow plans.
Of course, still there will be no decision. The draft should, as usual, be referred to the committees for further discussion. But the problems in the parliamentary dealings with the AfD remain - for all other factions.
CDU and FDP in Erklärungsnot
If Red-Red-Green does not want to be driven by the CDU and FDP, it has to live with the risk that at least now and then a blue-black-yellow majority will form. This in turn brings Christian Democrats and Liberals in explanation. The lesser reproach is that they use the threat of a right-wing majority to back up Red-Red-Green. The larger one reads: CDU and FDP speculate, contrary to all assurances, on the votes of the AfD.
The FDP rejects both. The bill was simply an offer, said its regional and faction leader Thomas Kemmerich the SPIEGEL. "Above all, we will try to convince the Left, the SPD and the Greens and definitely do not count on the AFD." At the same time, however, it also applies: "We will not withdraw something that is right, just because we get approval from the wrong side."
Michael Reichel / DPA
Thuringia's FDP leader Kemmerich
Similarly formulated Mike Mohring, who leads the CDU and the associated faction in Thuringia. They wanted to develop parliamentary initiatives as an "independent force" or "in close cooperation with the FDP" and then campaign for them in the committees as well as in plenary. "As in the previous parliamentary term, we will not discuss this with the AfD with regard to voting behavior," he told SPIEGEL.
However, how the other factions, from the AfD to the left, behave as one of the initiatives is "naturally completely in their own hands". In addition, as Mohring likes to say, the red-red-green ballot majority in the second half of the previous legislature was based on the mandate of AFD defender Oskar Helmerich.
At any rate, the AfD is pleased to note how things develop. The head of the district Möller, who assists the chairman Höcke as parliamentary director, announces that he will re-establish Tosca Kniese as vice-president. Maybe, he told SPIEGEL, next time, it'll work with the majority.