Union against changing the seating arrangement: The fight for the center in the Bundestag

Status: October 19, 2021 6:44 p.m.

The FDP wants to move away from the AfD – and move closer to the Greens and the SPD in the Bundestag. That is only possible with an exchange with the Union. But she rejects changes to the seating arrangement. The Left Party, in turn, can understand the FDP.

With the new legislative period, the dispute over the seating arrangements in the Bundestag has flared up again. After the 2017 election, the Liberals had already applied to swap places with the CDU / CSU in the plenary hall. So far – seen from the place of the President of the Bundestag – the AfD has been sitting on the far right, next to it the FDP, then the Union, the Greens, the SPD and on the left the Left Party. After the federal election, the FDP renewed its demand and submitted a request to change the seating arrangement – but this is rejected by the Union.

The parliamentary managing director Stefan Müller (CSU) said at the request of the news agency dpa: “The seating arrangement in the German Bundestag is not a merry-go-round that should be turned around at will. There is no conclusive reason to change the familiar seating arrangement.” A leading group member told Reuters news agency: “The seating is political.”

Politically sensitive

In any case, it is politically sensitive if a traffic light coalition is formed. Because with its motion, the FDP is on the one hand on the fact that the SPD and the Greens give the new partner the necessary majority against the CDU / CSU. On the other hand, the three traffic light parties want to create the impression that they are forming a coalition of the middle – this would be visually underlined if they took the middle seats in the Bundestag and the Union had to move to the right.

“No fun sitting next to the AfD”

For the FDP, the question is also about symbolism, as can be heard from the ranks of the liberals. The FDP is the party of the bourgeois center, while the CDU and CSU define themselves to the right of the center. There had to be a seat between the SPD and the Union because there was a coalition with both and with the Greens in the countries.

In addition, it was “not fun to sit next to the AfD,” said Vice-parliamentary group chairman Stephan Thomae recently the “Augsburger Allgemeine” and spoke of “vulgar” comments that women of his parliamentary group from the ranks of the AfD would have to listen to, as well as talks in which one gets involved, but does not want to lead at all.

“Full support” of the Left Party

The Liberals receive support from the Left Party. “Every democrat who no longer wants to sit next to the AfD has my full support,” said the parliamentary director of the Left Group, Jan Korte, the Reuters news agency. “In the opposition we had a trusting cooperation with the FDP, especially when it came to civil rights or the rights of parliament,” he added as a reason why the left wanted to support the liberals.

Korte provided another reason why his group wants to support the liberals’ wish: “I also see the desire to no longer sit next to the AfD as a sign that the door for cooperation with the right-wing extremists of the AfD is for is closed every time and processes like in Thuringia are never repeated, “he said, referring to February 5, 2020 in Erfurt. At that time, the FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich had himself elected Prime Minister in the Thuringian state parliament with votes from the AfD.

First of all, nothing changes

How the dispute over the places will end is questionable. In any case, at the constituent session of the Bundestag, everything will remain the same, the still incumbent Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) has made sure of that after consultation with the so-called Pre-Elders’ Council. But then, given the new balance of power in parliament, a new President of the Bundestag will be elected. And then the SPD and the Greens have to decide whether to follow their designated partner FDP or stick to the old tradition. Both groups emphasized that a decision had not yet been made.


Critic star
October 19, 2021 • 7:13 pm

No party ..

want to sit next to the AfD. So the old seating arrangement remains.

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