Dhe expectations were not exactly high in Erfurt when on Monday evening, the first day after the winter holidays, four MPs from the Left, the SPD, the Greens and the CDU met for a discussion in the Thuringian state parliament. It was supposed to be a way out of the crisis that the small country had got into after the CDU and FDP together with the AfD had elected the FDP parliamentary group leader Thomas Kemmerich as the new prime minister.
In the shock wave that triggered the event, the federal CDU had immediately lost its head and Thuringia its head of government. Kemmerich is still in office and the work is done by the State Secretaries of the red-red-green predecessor government. Political decisions for the state of Thuringia are currently not being made, the bank of the Free State remained empty at the last Federal Council meeting.
In this situation, the left, in particular, which no longer has a majority with the SPD and the Greens, demanded that the CDU actively vote for Ramelow in the first ballot if the head of government were re-elected in the state parliament. The Union, which also has no majority option in the state parliament, rejected this with reference to the so-called incompatibility decision.
The meeting threatened to remain a hopeless stalemate in advance when, surprisingly, Bodo Ramelow, the former Prime Minister, appeared personally in the discussion round in the evening. Previously, he, who had no party office, refused to participate, but showed understanding for the predicament that the Union and thus Thuringia are currently in. Without the CDU, there can be no majority in the state parliament with and against AfD or the left, but neither can it cooperate with either.
Not only the CDU, but also the Greens and SPD reacted in surprise
Ramelow, however, presented his surprising way out of the crisis not only for the CDU, but also to the MPs from Rot-Rot-Grün: dissolution of the state parliament in March, then a transitional government led by his predecessor, CDU politician Christine Lieberknecht, who worked with them three ministers from the left, the SPD and the Greens run the business and organized new elections within 70 days as required by the constitution. As members of the government, Ramelow proposed the previous Minister of Finance Heike Taubert (SPD), Minister of Justice Dieter Lauinger (Greens) and his previous Head of State Chancellor Benjamin Hoff, who also runs the agricultural and infrastructure department. According to Ramelow, this should ensure that the “technical government” can act.
The CDU MPs, who were in the group without their retiring boss Mike Mohring, reacted at least as perplexed as the SPD and Greens. Ramelow renounces the premiership to leave it to a CDU politician? Pretty much everyone immediately realized that this was a way out of the crisis, but it was also a not at all unselfish proposal. The left would presumably benefit the most from quick new elections, and Ramelow could move directly back into the state chancellery this way. He has already announced that he wants to start again.
Ramelows statesmanship makes the CDU despair
When Ramelow went to the press after four hours without a jacket and in a turtleneck, he justified his proposal with a quote from his government statement in December, when, in view of the complicated majority situation after the election, he had asked everyone involved to “leave familiar paths of government formation, Rethinking politics and organizing it differently ”. One must finally “dare more democracy and less party book,” repeated the left-wing politician, acting so decidedly statesman-like that some CDU MPs would have preferred to have voted him out immediately with an absolute majority.