Andrea Römmele: German centre-right “failed miserably” to stand against right-wing populists in Thuringia

In Der Spiegel, Römmele sharply criticises state premier election won with right-wing AFD support.

The results of the state premier election in Thuringia’s  parliament on Wednesday require more than a mere analysis – there must be a clear signal of opposition to any form of cooperation with right-wing populists, says Andrea Römmele, Professor of Communication in Politics and Civil Society at the Hertie School, in an opinion piece in German online news magazine Der Spiegel.

Centre-right politicians defied their parties’ clear refusal to work with right-wing party AfD by using their votes to elect FDP candidate Thomas Kemmerich as state premier of Thuringia, and to oust outgoing premier Bodo Ramelow of the Left Party (Die Linke) in the third round of voting on Wednesday. Ramelow had been expected to win the election and form a minority government.

“FDP and CDU have failed miserably in Thuringia”, says Römmele, adding that, as a consequence, both Kemmerich and  FDP party leader Christian Lindner should resign. “A party leader who has lost his political compass has forfeited his right to leadership.”

On Wednesday, Lindner tried to distance himself from the events, and on Thursday, one day after his election, Kemmerich resigned the position, amid popular outrage across Germany – both in the media and on the streets.

Germany’s CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, found clear words to distance herself from the decision of Thuringia’s CDU – which serves to show that she has lost authority within her own party, Römmele says in the article.

“There is only one solution to this dilemma: the resignation of those responsible, Kemmerich and Lindner, and new elections in Thuringia,” Römmele writes. “Enforcing this solution is the democratic duty of the political elite.”

Read Andrea Römmele’s full opinion piece from 6 February in Der Spiegel (in German).


More about Andrea Römmele

  • Andrea Römmele , Dean of Executive Education and Professor of Communication in Politics and Civil Society