In Thuringia, one plan after another to lead the state out of the crisis is failing. It’s up to the CDU. There are not many options left.
Temporary CDU faction leader: Mike Mohring on Wednesday in the Thuringian state parliament Photo: Martin Schutt/dpa
The CDU parliamentary group in the Thuringian state parliament met for four hours this morning, and had a lot to discuss. Previously, the attempt to form a red-red-green transitional government under former CDU Prime Minister Christine Lieberknecht had failed – which further increased the pressure on the Christian Democrats. That’s because Lieberknecht called it off because her own party friends weren’t willing enough to compromise.
"If you don’t want new elections, you have to help Bodo Ramelow win a majority in the state parliament," she told dpa afterwards, calling on her party to conclude a "reliable parliamentary agreement with the Left Party." The agreement should not only refer to Ramelow’s election as prime minister, she said, but must "enable reliable government action in the long term."
In addition, the deselection of parliamentary group leader Mike Mohring was on the agenda. Eight members of parliament had requested that Mohring put forward the vote of confidence. But it did not come to that, one agreed upon a new election of the parliamentary group executive committee on 2 March. After the meeting, Mohring confirmed that he would not stand for re-election.
Mohring also said that in the afternoon, the CDU would submit a new proposal to Red-Red-Green on how Thuringia could come to a new government. Then a small working group of the Left, SPD and Greens on the one hand and the CDU on the other will meet to sound out what options remain after Lieberknecht’s cancellation. Mohring, who himself is not participating in the talks as a faction leader on call, did not want to say anything about the content of the proposal.
Decision meets "reality of life"
But he stressed that Lieberknecht’s analysis was smart and that she had correctly summarized what options now remain. Since the CDU continues to reject new elections – Mohring emphasized this once again – Lieberknecht’s second option is really the only one left: the CDU helps a red-red-green minority government into office. However, the Christian Democrats had so far ruled this out – also because a resolution of the federal party conference fundamentally prohibits cooperation with the Left Party.
Mohring renewed his criticism of this strict stipulation. He said that while this was correct in principle, it clashed with the reality of life in Thuringia. "We keep circling around this same question," Mohring said. He suggested interpreting the resolution in such a way as to preserve the ability to act in the states. That should probably mean less strict.
Ramelow is still prepared to stand for re-election as prime minister – if there is a majority in the state parliament for this without AfD votes. His favored alliance of the Left, SPD and Greens is four votes short of a majority.
Susanne Hennig-Wellsow, the head of the left-wing parliamentary group, called on the CDU to clear the way for a speedy new election or to actively support Ramelow "in the MP election with a subsequent toleration of red-red-green." There are only these two paths, he said.