Hans-Georg Maassen should keep the CDU busy for a long time

CDU demands exit from the party
The Maassen case is likely to keep the CDU busy for a long time

Hans-Georg Maassen (CDU), former President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution

© Patrick Pleul / DPA

In the case of Hans-Georg Maaßen, a tough tug of war is on the horizon. The CDU wants to get rid of the former head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution – who leaves little doubt that he will not go voluntarily.

It doesn’t look as if the Christian Democrats will be able to wrap up the matter quickly or with any degree of noise. “The CDU is my party,” said Hans-Georg Maassen on Tuesday morning Deutschlandfunk, who put it on record that he still sees his political homeland among the conservatives. His party now has a completely different opinion – and would rather kick him out sooner rather than later.

The CDU presidium unanimously called on the former president of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution to leave the party, with an ultimatum: If he does not leave the party by Sunday, February 5, at 12 p.m., the federal executive should initiate expulsion proceedings against Maassen “and him revoke membership rights with immediate effect”, it said on Monday from the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus.

Maassen has been irritating for years with statements from the right-wing fringe, most recently with statements about a “green-red racial doctrine” or “eliminatory racism against whites”, who have now apparently overstretched the suffering of the CDU. In their decision, the party leadership clearly distanced itself from Maassen, who repeatedly used language “from the milieu of anti-Semites and conspiracy ideologues to ethnic expressions”. “The measure is full,” said CDU leader Friedrich Merz. He wants himself no longer be provoked by “Mr. Maaßen.”

It is questionable whether Merz will succeed. Maassen – who had to leave as head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in 2018 after he questioned right-wing extremist riots in Chemnitz – currently does not indicate that he will voluntarily hand over his party card. This points to a lengthy and complicated party exclusion procedure for the CDU, which could still get ugly.

How about Sarrazin?

The SPD spent many agonizing years expelling the controversial author Thilo Sarrazin from the party, who repeatedly came into the public eye with cross-shots during the arduous process. Even Maassen does not give the impression that he wants to exercise restraint in the future: “I will not let anyone take my right to freedom of expression,” he etched on Monday at the “World”defended his statements and gave the process no chance of success.

Instead, he presents himself as a political martyr who, in his opinion, did not say anything racist, “but what many people in the country think”. Accordingly, many simple members and party friends in southern Thuringia are behind him, he said on Tuesday. He only learned from the media that he should leave the party. He dismissed allegations that he was spreading ethnic ideas, among other things, as “pure allegations”.

In fact, Maassen does have supporters. His district association Schmalkalden-Meiningen in Thuringia, which nominated him with several district associations as a direct candidate for the Bundestag in 2021, sees no reason for his expulsion, even after the most recent statements, as the district chairman Ralf Liebauf responded to a request from “inSüdthüringen.de” communicated. The right-wing conservative “Union of Values”, which Maassen chaired at the weekend, is also defending its new boss: “Neither the Union of Values ​​nor its new federal chairman, Hans-Georg Maassen, can be forced to leave the CDU; not even by ultimatums,” it said it in a press release on Monday.

The association, founded in 2017, sees itself as a “conservative grassroots movement” within the Union and claims to have 4,000 members, 85 percent of whom belonged to the CDU/CSU. However, the “union of values” is not one of the official party structures and is increasingly becoming a thorn in the side of the federal party. Once started as an arch-conservative project of hope – the then Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) sent a greeting in 2018 – the club moved further and further to the right. Here, too, the measure now seems to be full.

Friedrich Merz, Hans-Georg Maassen and the “Course of the Union”

“The self-proclaimed one union of values’ has long represented values ​​that are incompatible with membership in the CDU,” said the chairman of the Junge Union (JU), Johannes Winkel, on Monday “Mirror”. He asked the parent party to adopt an incompatibility resolution. Deputy CDU federal chairwoman Karin Prien also called for membership in the “Union of Values” to be declared incompatible with membership in the CDU. The club is “clearly outside of the CDU,” she said “Sueddeutsche Zeitung”, and presume to want to “shift the discourse within the CDU clearly to the right, towards the AfD”. Maassen’s election as chairman was “after a large number of lapses, the final proof that membership in this group does not fit with Christian Democratic values”.

The possible exclusion of Maassen on the one hand, the official demarcation from the “union of values” on the other hand: This means both an opportunity and a risk for the federal party and its chairman. Merz had in the “Picture on Sunday” assured that “the course of the Union, to clearly demarcate us to the far right, will be adhered to with ironheads” – that could now be proven, in a coup d’état on top of that. However, a debate about the borders to the right is already in full swing, and the demarcation and exclusion of Maassen and his “union of values” should fuel this – and make a few headlines.

Sources: Deutschlandfunk, “Daily News”, “World”, “Picture on Sunday”, “The mirror”, nv, “inSüdthüringen.de”, “Southgerman newspaper”

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