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Merz gives up the political milieu on the right edge

Hans-Georg Maassen wrote 26 pages to the CDU leadership and justified himself and his positions.

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Merz gives up the political milieu on the right edge

Hans-Georg Maassen wrote 26 pages to the CDU leadership and justified himself and his positions. The former head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and newly elected chairman of the right-wing conservative Union of Values ​​would even accept punitive measures, which can certainly be seen as a partial admission by the lawyer. But it didn't do him any good.

The CDU federal executive has decided to initiate party exclusion proceedings against Maassen. It is a liberation from party leader Friedrich Merz: On the one hand, an understandable step, because Maassen's statements are undoubtedly unbearable and because they provide the political opponents of the Union with a constant flow of cheap ammunition. Nowhere in Germany, in any party, should there be room for ethnic and anti-Semitic ideas. But it is questionable whether it was wise in the long term to put Maaßen in the chair in front of the party headquarters.

Party exclusion procedures are dragging on, parties like the AfD will use every water level report for their own purposes for many months, maybe even years. In addition, it is highly uncertain whether the procedure will be successful. In the case of former SPD member Thilo Sarrazin, it took several attempts to expel him from the party. The Social Democrats have been arbitrating with former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder for months and have so far been unsuccessful. The embarrassment if the CDU Maassen had to return his membership rights, which were revoked this Monday, is unimaginable.

But Merz wanted to send a signal that there was no place in the CDU for “language from the milieu of anti-Semites to ethnic expressions”. That is right and necessary.

Nevertheless, Maassen is not alone in his views; he stands for a right-wing conservative milieu that has in parts been radicalized but has not yet joined the AfD or other right-wing extremist parties. The sign that Merz is sending in this direction is that this milieu has been abandoned.

For decades, these right-wing forces were at least partially absorbed by the Union and thus channeled, i.e. tamed. The principle of the former CSU chairman Franz Josef Strauss applied: "There must be no democratically legitimate parties to the right of the CDU/CSU." That no longer applies, and Merz has given up this part of the spectrum in view of the progressive radicalization. At the same time, Friedrich Merz is cautiously breaking away from the liberal course of the center of former Chancellor Angela Merkel.

What the CDU chairman is daring to do is walk a tightrope between the political center and the moderate right. That should sharpen the profile. But you can't stay in the People's Party in the long run if you give up the fringes on both sides.

The manager Merz knows that it may be necessary for companies to downsize. But the politician Merz should know that this course does not always lead to success for parties that want to play a leading role in the German political system.

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic, analyzed by WELT editors, and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, among others, or directly via RSS feed.

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