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Merkel Backs Left Party Politician to Run Thuringia, Bild Says

Merkel Backs Left Party Politician to Run Thuringia, Bild Says(Bloomberg) — Chancellor Angela Merkel may back a political rival from the Left party to lead the regional government in Thuringia as she tries contain the crisis over her party’s flirtation with the far right in eastern Germany.Merkel wants the state’s former prime minister, Bodo Ramelow, to take the helm again, Bild am Sonntag reported, without citing where it got the information. His successor, Thomas Kemmerich, resigned on Saturday under pressure from Merkel’s governing coalition.Kemmerich’s election with the votes of Merkel’s party in Thuringia and the nationalist Alternative for Germany had set off the political firestorm. The CDU in Thuringia backed the deal in defiance of Berlin.That led the leaders of the Social Democrats, Merkel’s coalition partner, to threaten to bring down the national government if Kemmerich remained in office.To enable Thuringia to get a new prime minister quickly, Merkel now wants her party’s colleagues in the state to abstain from voting when Ramelow stands for election, Bild am Sonntag reported. Merkel’s Christian Democrats have ruled out a direct collaboration with the Left party given its historic roots in communist East Germany.Ramelow said in an interview with Bild he hopes Liberals and Merkel’s Christian Democrats will enable him to be elected as prime minister in a first round of voting. He ruled out being elected with a majority relying on the far right AfD. Ramelow’s term as state leader would probably be limited because governing parties in Berlin have called for an early election in Thuringia.New elections would could be launched after the summer break, Ramelow told Bild. Holding one sooner would pose a problem with electoral law that could only be bypassed by the state interior minister, he said, pointing out that Thuringia still hasn’t got one. Quick elections would also pose the risk of being contested in the courts, Ramelow added.TurmoilThe turmoil in Thuringia was triggered by October elections, when Alternative for Germany more than doubled its support to 23.4% and pulled ahead of a slumping CDU. The AfD has exploited frustration over lower wages and the lack of opportunity in eastern Germany, where many people have a sense of being second-class to the more affluent western part of the country 30 years after reunification.That led to the Feb. 5 election of Kemmerich, whose FDP party barely made it into the state legislature but was eager for a share of power.The turmoil reflects the tense state of German politics as the AfD makes inroads and Merkel prepares to retire from politics at the end of her term in 2021 at the latest. The fact that the local CDU chapter defied Berlin, also heaps pressure on party Chairwoman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was already struggling to sustain her position as Merkel’s heir.In a Germany-wide opinion poll for broadcaster RTL published on Saturday, voter support for the Free Democrats halved to 5%, voter preference for AfD fell by 2 percentage points to 9%. Backing for Merkel’s CDU/CSU remained stable at 28%. The Social Democrats and the Left party each gained 2 percentage points to 15% and 10% respectively.(Adds comments from Ramelow in sixth and seventh paragraphs.)To contact the reporter on this story: Alexander Kell in Frankfurt at akell@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Schaefer at dschaefer36@bloomberg.net, Andrew Davis, Sara MarleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

(Bloomberg) — Chancellor Angela Merkel may back a political rival from the Left party to lead the regional government in Thuringia as she tries contain the crisis over her party’s flirtation with the far right in eastern Germany.Merkel wants the state’s former prime minister, Bodo Ramelow, to take the helm again, Bild am Sonntag reported, without citing where it got the information. His successor, Thomas Kemmerich, resigned on Saturday under pressure from Merkel’s governing coalition.Kemmerich’s election with the votes of Merkel’s party in Thuringia and the nationalist Alternative for Germany had set off the political firestorm. The CDU in Thuringia backed the deal in defiance of Berlin.That led the leaders of the Social Democrats, Merkel’s coalition partner, to threaten to bring down the national government if Kemmerich remained in office.To enable Thuringia to get a new prime minister quickly, Merkel now wants her party’s colleagues in the state to abstain from voting when Ramelow stands for election, Bild am Sonntag reported. Merkel’s Christian Democrats have ruled out a direct collaboration with the Left party given its historic roots in communist East Germany.Ramelow said in an interview with Bild he hopes Liberals and Merkel’s Christian Democrats will enable him to be elected as prime minister in a first round of voting. He ruled out being elected with a majority relying on the far right AfD. Ramelow’s term as state leader would probably be limited because governing parties in Berlin have called for an early election in Thuringia.New elections would could be launched after the summer break, Ramelow told Bild. Holding one sooner would pose a problem with electoral law that could only be bypassed by the state interior minister, he said, pointing out that Thuringia still hasn’t got one. Quick elections would also pose the risk of being contested in the courts, Ramelow added.TurmoilThe turmoil in Thuringia was triggered by October elections, when Alternative for Germany more than doubled its support to 23.4% and pulled ahead of a slumping CDU. The AfD has exploited frustration over lower wages and the lack of opportunity in eastern Germany, where many people have a sense of being second-class to the more affluent western part of the country 30 years after reunification.That led to the Feb. 5 election of Kemmerich, whose FDP party barely made it into the state legislature but was eager for a share of power.The turmoil reflects the tense state of German politics as the AfD makes inroads and Merkel prepares to retire from politics at the end of her term in 2021 at the latest. The fact that the local CDU chapter defied Berlin, also heaps pressure on party Chairwoman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was already struggling to sustain her position as Merkel’s heir.In a Germany-wide opinion poll for broadcaster RTL published on Saturday, voter support for the Free Democrats halved to 5%, voter preference for AfD fell by 2 percentage points to 9%. Backing for Merkel’s CDU/CSU remained stable at 28%. The Social Democrats and the Left party each gained 2 percentage points to 15% and 10% respectively.(Adds comments from Ramelow in sixth and seventh paragraphs.)To contact the reporter on this story: Alexander Kell in Frankfurt at akell@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Schaefer at dschaefer36@bloomberg.net, Andrew Davis, Sara MarleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.Read More

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