Michael Brychcy, local politician of the CDU, speaks at a government press conference. © Bodo Schackow/dpa
The CDU local politician Michael Brychcy does not want to categorically reject talks with the AfD – and reaps massive criticism for it. At the state level, however, he can also imagine a coalition with the Left. A party congress resolution of the CDU prohibits both.
Erfurt - With his stance on the AfD, the Thuringian CDU local politician Michael Brychcy has caused outrage among state politicians. "Not everyone in this party are fascists," the president of the Thuringian Association of Municipalities and Cities told MDR Thuringia on Friday. You have to differentiate more strongly with whom you speak, he told the German Press Agency. "It doesn't help us if we only talk about the fact that we don't talk to the AfD," Brychcy said. "There is no red, no green, no black and no yellow pothole in my city. It's a pothole and people expect us to get it out."
Nevertheless, there are right-wing extremist tendencies within the AfD, Brychcy made clear. "I don't want to have anything to do with them. We can't deal with them either."
For his initiative, Brychcy, who is also in the state presidium of the Thuringian CDU, received massive criticism. "In this way, a proven extreme right-wing party is continuously paved the way to become effective and to be given responsibility for shaping the future. A dangerous game of the @cdu_thueringen with democracy and a society based on fundamental rights," wrote the Left Party parliamentary group leader Steffen Dittes on Twitter.
The director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau Dora memorials, Jens-Christian Wagner, also wrote on Twitter: "#Brandmauer or #Flutgraben?" Wagner is considered one of the sharpest critics of the Thuringian AfD with its state party leader Björn Höcke, which is classified by the state protection of the constitution as assured right-wing extremist. Thuringia's SPD leader Georg Maier asked on Twitter whether the CDU offered itself as a junior partner of the AfD. "A demarcation to the right looks different."
The AfD was clearly in first place in the latest polls in Thuringia - ahead of the left of Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow and the CDU. Höcke had recently reaffirmed his party's claim to participate in government. In Thuringia, a new state parliament will be elected in 2024. Thuringia's AfD co-leader Stefan Möller said on Friday that his party had been interested in working together for years. "In this respect, it is to be welcomed that demands are also being made within the Thuringian Union."
Brychcy, who is also mayor of Waltershausen (Gotha district), told dpa that he meant the AfD as a party and not the AfD parliamentary group in the state parliament. "I wouldn't sit down at the same table with Höcke and his right-wing troops." Even a toleration by the AfD with Höcke at the head of the AfD faction is not possible from his point of view. Brychcy is considering running for the Thuringian parliament in the 2024 state election.
Within the Thuringian CDU, there have always been voices in the past that had spoken out in favor of at least partial cooperation with the AfD - even after the 2019 state election, the results of which resulted in an extremely difficult formation of a government. A CDU federal party congress resolution prohibits any cooperation between the Christian Democrats and the AfD and the Left Party. CDU parliamentary group leader Mario Voigt has also been strictly against any cooperation with the AfD for years.
With a view to possible difficult majorities that could arise in Thuringia in the coming year, Brychcy was open to an alliance between his party and the Left. "If democratic parties say: We're going to make a coalition and everyone takes a step back and doesn't just act according to ideology, then I can even imagine something like that. However, he referred to the CDU's decision on incompatibility.
In Thuringia, the CDU parliamentary group in the state parliament does not support any motions by the AfD. Conversely, however, CDU motions with the help of AfD votes already found a majority. At the end of January, the opposition members of parliament from the CDU, AfD and FDP passed an amendment to the Thuringian gambling hall law. Recently, the AfD helped an expansion of a committee of inquiry initiated by the Left Party, the SPD and the Greens to achieve a majority. Dpa