Leaflet affair: reactions to Söder’s decision to keep Aiwanger in office – Bavaria

The Bavarian opposition criticizes the fact that Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) is sticking to Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger (free voters). “Tactics come before attitude at Markus Söder,” said Green parliamentary group leader Ludwig Hartmann. “He made a bad deal for our beautiful Bayern today.” Because he now continues to tolerate a deputy prime minister “whose democratic attitude there are doubts”.

Florian von Brunn, chairman of the SPD parliamentary group in the state parliament, Aiwanger called “Bavaria’s disgrace” and spoke of a sad day for the reputation of the Free State. “The fact that the CSU under Markus Söder accepts an active right-wing populist and formerly a right-wing radical activist as a deputy in the government is a negative high point in the history of post-war Germany.” Aiwanger apologized too late and incompletely and was “too unreasonable”.

Söder acted “out of simple power calculations” and harmed Germany’s reputation, criticized Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD). Dealing with anti-Semitism should not be a tactical question. “Mr. Aiwanger has neither apologized convincingly nor been able to convincingly clear up the allegations.” Instead, he declares himself a victim “in an unspeakable way”. In doing so, he “doesn’t think for a second of those who are still massively suffering from anti-Semitism today. This is how borders are shifting that shouldn’t be shifted.”

Aiwanger’s answers didn’t convince him, explained FDP parliamentary group leader Martin Hagen. Everything that the Vice Prime Minister says and does in the future will now fall back on the Prime Minister himself. “I’m curious to see how much Hubert Aiwanger will use this free ticket.” For Hagen, the events from Aiwanger’s school days are not decisive, “but how he deals with them today. Instead of sincerity and remorse, we experience gaps in memory and defiant media scolding.”

Söder’s decision was “to be accepted politically,” she wrote President of the Jewish community in Munich and Upper Bavaria, Charlotte Knobloch, in an opinion. “It remains to be seen to what extent Hubert Aiwanger will be able to use words and deeds to refute the allegations that are still being made. He must restore trust and make it clear that his actions are democratically and legally sound. The doors of the Jewish community were always open to him.” The Federal Government Anti-Semitism Commissioner, Felix Kleincriticized Aiwanger’s handling of the allegations and suggested: “It would now be a good sign if he not only sought dialogue with the Jewish communities but also with the memorial sites in Bavaria and strengthened their important work, for example by visiting Dachau .”

The Free Voters (FW), on the other hand, praised Aiwanger’s performance as Economics Minister and the coalition with the CSU, which will now continue to work “stably and in unanimity”. FW parliamentary group leader Florian Streibl said. “We are of the opinion that Hubert Aiwanger bears no political responsibility whatsoever for the irresponsible and completely unacceptable actions of a family member more than three decades ago.” Anyone who knows him knows that Aiwanger “strictly rejects any form of anti-Semitism and has distanced himself from the content of the document as much as possible”.

The CSU politician and state parliament president Ilse Aigner nonetheless criticized Aiwanger’s crisis communication: “Timely, clear, honest statements – even on the tiniest reporting of suspicions – and a faster distancing from this disgusting pamphlet would not have led to this unspeakable impasse, which harmed Bavaria as a whole.” The fact that Aiwanger said at a rally in Erding in June that the silent majority must now “take back democracy” was “not exactly helpful for classifying what happened 36 years ago”.

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