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Merkel calls shock far-right vote in Thuringia state 'unforgivable'

German state premier offers to resign over far-right vote: party sources

 State premier urges new polls to undo 'stain' of far-right vote

Merkel: Governor’s election with far-right help ‘inexcusable’


Pretoria, Feb 6, 2020 (AFP), German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday said it was "unforgivable" that a politician in Thuringia allowed himself to be elected state premier with help from MPs of the far-right AfD, calling for a fresh vote.

The surprise election of Thomas Kemmerich from the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) on Wednesday shattered a political taboo in Germany, where mainstream parties have vowed never to work with the anti-Islam, anti-immigrant AfD.

What happened in Thuringia "is unforgivable and that's why the result must be reversed", Merkel said at a press conference in South Africa, describing Wednesday's drama as "a bad day for democracy".
The aftershocks are being felt in Berlin as well, since local MPs from Merkel's own centre-right CDU party also backed Kemmerich in the third run-off vote for the premiership, putting them on the same side as the AfD.

Merkel's centre-left Social Democratic coalition partners have reacted furiously to the debacle, calling for the CDU to clearly distance itself from the AfD if the national alliance is to survive.
Both parties are meeting for crisis talks in Berlin on Saturday.

Merkel made clear that local CDU lawmakers were not allowed to help Kemmerich cobble together a minority government in the small state of Thuringia, eastern Germany.

"The CDU must not take part in a government led by this premier," she told reporters.

Merkel said the actions of her local allies in Thuringia "broke with the values and convictions of the CDU".

"We must now do everything we can to make clear that this can in no way be reconciled with what the CDU does and thinks, and that's what we will work on in the coming days," she added.


State premier offers to resign over far-right vote: party sources

The premier of Germany’s Thuringia state Thomas Kemmerich has offered to resign, paving the way for snap polls, sources from his liberal FDP party say, a day after he was voted into office with help from far-right lawmakers.

“Thomas Kemmerich wants to remove the stain of the AfD’s support from the office of the premiership,” the FDP’s Thuringia branch tells sources.

According to an AFP latest reports, Thuringia state premier steps down and calls for snap elections, barely 24 hours after he was elected with the help of far-right AfD lawmakers in a vote Angela Merkel called “unforgivable.”

Thomas Kemmerich, from the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), says he will apply for the regional parliament to be dissolved in response to the outrage over his appointment, which drew comparisons with the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s.

“We want new elections to remove the stain of the AfD’s support from the office of the premiership,” he tells reporters, adding that his resignation is “unavoidable.”

— AFP



Merkel: Governor’s election with far-right help ‘inexcusable’


Chancellor Angela Merkel condemns as “inexcusable” the election of a new German state governor with the help of the far-right as well as her own party, and says that the result must not stand.

Wednesday’s surprise election of Thomas Kemmerich, a member of the small pro-business Free Democrats, as governor of the eastern state of Thuringia has turned into a major embarrassment for Germany’s mainstream center-right parties and revived questions about the future of the country’s governing coalition.

Kemmerich narrowly defeated a left-wing incumbent after the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, voted for him instead of its own candidate in the state legislature. Left-leaning parties and many in the center-right camp said that accepting votes from AfD broke a taboo and was unacceptable.

Kemmerich is holding out against mounting pressure to resign. AP reports.

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