Maassen new chairman of the Union of Values – Merz calls for party exit
In recent years, Hans-Georg Maassen has repeatedly caused a stir and caused trouble in the CDU with right-wing populist statements. Now he has a new post. Criticism came promptly – and party leader Friedrich Merz asked Maassen to leave.
Dhe former President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maassen, was looking for a new platform for his political activities: On Saturday, Maassen was elected chairman of the right-wing conservative union of values with 95 percent of the votes at a general meeting, as the group announced. The current President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, has sharply differentiated himself from his predecessor Maassen, whom he attested to be dangerously radicalized.
Haldenwang said on Deutschlandfunk with a view to Maaßen: “I also notice that he appears through very radical statements.” These are statements “that I can actually only perceive in a similar way from the extreme right-hand side of political endeavors”.
Haldenwang referred to assessments by the federal government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, and others who clearly saw anti-Semitic content in Maassen. He agrees with these assessments, said Haldenwang. “Dr. With his statements, Maassen repeatedly harms the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, because we are then repeatedly associated with such things.”
The federal board of the Union of Values, whose boss Maassen was elected on Saturday, rejected Haldenwang’s allegations. These are “an unsuitable attempt to move Hans-Georg Maassen close to anti-Semitism,” it said in a statement. Haldenwang’s allegations are “just as unfounded as they are absurd”.
CDU leader Friedrich Merz, on the other hand, sees no more room in his party for the former President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. “This is the limit. We asked Mr. Maassen to leave the party,” Merz told the “Bild am Sonntag”. “Excluding a party is not easy, but we are currently examining carefully what options we have.” Maassen’s language and ideas no longer have a place in the CDU.
The Union of Values, founded in 2017, sees itself as a group of conservative Christian Democrats. She argues that the CDU, under the then party leader Angela Merkel, had shifted too far to the left and had to take more conservative positions again. It operates as a registered association and is not one of the official party organizations. The federal CDU is a thorn in the side of the union of values because of their criticism of the official party course. The group says it has around 4,000 members.
Before his election, Maassen had declared that he wanted to lead the union of values ”to work for the implementation of Christian-democratic goals, for conservative and liberal values and against any kind of eco-socialism and gender wokism”.
The CDU, which is examining a party exclusion procedure against him, accused Maassen of a “shabby dirt campaign” against him. In recent years, Maassen has repeatedly caused a stir and caused trouble in the CDU with right-wing populist statements.
The union of values has been marked by internal disputes over the past two years. In 2021, the AfD-affiliated economist Max Otte was surprisingly elected to succeed founding chairman Alexander Mitsch. Otte had to give up the presidency after running as a candidate for the AfD for the office of Federal President last year.
The CDU is examining a party exclusion procedure
Founding chairman Mitsch told the AFP news agency on Saturday that he believed Maassen could “put the union of values back on the right course after the Otte disaster and exert a constructive political influence”. The CDU must change “to correct the disastrous policy of the Merkel era and the ‘traffic light’,” said Mitsch.
The federal CDU announced on Tuesday that it was examining a party exclusion procedure against Maassen. The reason for the criticism was an interview by Maaßen with a right-wing populist Internet portal. “According to green-red racial theory, whites are an inferior race,” he claimed there, among other things. He blamed “politicians and attitude journalists” for “racism practiced against the native Germans”.
Maassen was President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution from 2012 to 2018. He had to vacate the post after questioning right-wing extremist riots in Chemnitz. In 2021 he failed at the federal election as a CDU direct candidate in Thuringia.
“Kick-off Politics” is WELT’s daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast at Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.