CDU parliamentary group leader Mario Voigt and Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left)
Bodo Schackow / dpa
The small departure is over.
The Thuringian CDU had struggled to get out of the polls a little, after the massive credibility crisis surrounding the prime ministerial election last year and the subsequent cooperation with the ruling Left Party.
But the recovery is threatening to fizzle out, and the Christian Democrats are deep in the mess again. Just a few weeks ago, Mark Hauptmann, a member of the Bundestag from Suhl, was transferred abroad as a greedy mask broker with dubious connections. Hauptmann's departure took advantage of the CDU local giants in South Thuringia to put up the highly controversial, former constitutional protection chief, Hans-Georg Maassen, as a constituency candidate. This week, ex-District Administrator Werner Thomas, a Thuringian CDU veteran who defected to the AfD in the Saalfeld-Rudolstadt district assembly, made headlines.
In view of the quarrels, a further decline is feared in the party if a new state parliament is elected on September 26th in Thuringia at the same time as the general election. Yes if. Because these days the question arises whether this will happen at all. According to SPIEGEL information, several MPs in the CDU parliamentary group are struggling with the date that they would prefer to cancel the new elections - for fear of a catastrophic result.
The Erfurt state parliament would have to resolve itself in July in order to organize the new elections in September.
This is what the Left, SPD, Greens and CDU actually agreed in their Stability Pact.
This requires a two-thirds majority in parliament, i.e. 60 of the 90 members of the state parliament.
Since the FDP and AfD want to stay out of the vote, it will most likely depend on the 63 MPs from the Left, SPD, Greens and CDU.
The calculation is simple: if only four CDU parliamentarians do not vote for the dissolution of the state parliament, the new election plan could fail.
"We are more than four who want to abstain," said a Christian Democrat MP, who does not want to be named, told SPIEGEL.
Höcke or Hennig-Wellsow?
External pressure is also exerted on the parliamentary group. The former CDU members of the state parliament, Hans-Peter Häfner and Wolfgang Fiedler, recently sent a letter to all current CDU members. It is available to SPIEGEL. They, too, once had to make difficult decisions, write Häfner and Fiedler and recall their old "teacher" Bernhard Vogel, the former Prime Minister of Thuringia. This cultivated the principle: "First the country, then the party and only then the person".
The result of a new election could be as complicated as in the 2019 election, the authors point out. Left and AfD currently have more than half of the seats in the state parliament. »Should the left then take the AfD into government responsibility? With their very questionable party program, is that good for Thuringia? «Or should the CDU rule with the left? "Although the agitator Hennig-Wellsow is now in Berlin, that seems just as impossible to us as an alliance with Mr. Höcke's AfD."
Moreover, after the election it could be that the current red-red-green minority government, which works with the CDU, will have an absolute majority after the election.
However, the previous cooperation with the minority government has paid off.
"It seems right and important to us to wait until 2024 before electing the new state parliament," write Häfner and Fiedler.
"There are also better times coming again for the CDU."
The Greiz CDU district administrator Martina Schweinsburg made a similar statement: "This is simply the wrong time," Schweinsburg told SPIEGEL.
She thinks it is fundamentally wrong to elect the state parliament at the same time as the federal election.
It is astonishing how the new election opponents in the parliamentary group imagine the time until 2024.
They do not want an extension of the stability mechanism with the red-red-green minority government.
In future, according to the plan, there should simply be "free forces" in the state parliament.
However, this also means that the CDU, AfD and FDP could use their majority in the state parliament, as they did with the election of FDP man Thomas Kemmerich.
The next possible scandal would only be a vote away.
CDU parliamentary group leader Mario Voigt is left outside.
"The CDU parliamentary group is true to its word," said Voigt.
Of course, there is still a need for discussion among individuals.
“But the things that we as a group have promised so far have always been kept.
That will also be the case this time, ”said Voigt on the new election date in September.
If the parliamentary group leader cannot convince the potential dissidents, there would be another way out - but that harbors some dangers.
Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) could ask the vote of confidence and lose.
But then there would be the possibility of putting up a candidate for the office of prime minister within two weeks, who would be elected with one vote without an opposing candidate.
The AfD would have the opportunity to trick parliament.
In their letter, Hans-Peter Häfner and Wolfgang Fiedler gave the CDU party friends who were skeptical of the new election a tip if they feared public outrage.
The criticism of a decision against the new election date pass by: "Helmut Kohl was very often successful when he solved difficult questions by sitting out."