Erfurt, Germany (dpa) – The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party offered to prop up a minority government in the eastern state of Thuringen on Wednesday, but the two potential beneficiaries maintained they would have no dealings with the far-right.
A row broke out on Tuesday after more than a dozen members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Thuringia called for talks with all parties – including the AfD – as the state seeks a new coalition government.
Thuringia’s AfD chief Bjoern Hoecke then sent a letter seen by dpa to the centre-right CDU and economically liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) saying they should “discuss new forms of cooperation together.”
He added that “a minority government supported by my party” would be an alternative to a left-wing coalition.
The CDU suffered a drubbing in the state’s elections on October 27, placing third behind the AfD. The hard-left Die Linke party garnered the most votes but a coalition with other left of centre parties would not have a majority.
The head of the CDU in Thuringia, Mike Mohring, has rejected the overtures of Hoecke, whose rhetoric has frequently attracted criticism in the past for its closeness to Nazi terminology.
“The decision of the CDU in Germany applies,” Mohring said after his re-election as Thuringia party head, adding there would be no “grey zone in between.”
The federal CDU office in Berlin had earlier made it clear no deals with the AfD were possible.
“Hoecke is for me a Nazi and the AfD with him is on the way to being the NPD 2.0,” CDU general secretary Paul Ziemiak wrote on Spiegel Online, in reference to the fringe National Democratic Party of Germany, which is widely seen as a neo-Nazi grouping.
Thomas Kemmerich, Thuringia leader of the FDP, said his party was sticking by its decision to “not enter into any kind of cooperation whatsoever with Mr Hoecke and his party.”