Visit to the Bundestag: BSW and majority of the AfD boycott Selenskyj’s speech

Visit to the Bundestag
BSW and majority of AfD boycott Selenskyj speech

The absence of the BSW MPs and a large part of the AfD parliamentary group during the speech of the Ukrainian President in the Bundestag has caused sharp criticism (symbolic image). Photo

© Gregor Fischer/dpa

Ukrainian President Selenskyj gives his first speech in person in the Bundestag. The majority of the Sahra Wagenknecht alliance and the AfD stay away from the speech. This is causing sharp criticism.

The majority of the AfD parliamentary group and the Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance (BSW) demonstratively opposed the speech of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj in the Bundestag. The AfD parliamentary group executive had previously recommended this.

Only 4 of the 77 AfD MPs appeared in the plenary session for Selenskyj’s speech. None of the ten BSW MPs were present. Representatives of other parties sharply criticized this.

“We refuse to listen to a speaker in camouflage,” said the parliamentary group leaders Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla. “The federal government should not give him a platform to beg for reconstruction. The citizens pay more than enough for military aid, EU aid and citizens’ allowances for Ukrainians.” Ukraine needs a peace president who is willing to negotiate. The BSW said: “Unfortunately, President Selenskyj is currently helping to promote a highly dangerous spiral of escalation and is accepting the risk of a nuclear conflict with devastating consequences for the whole of Europe (…) Therefore, he should not be honored with a special event in the German Bundestag (…)”.

SPD parliamentary group vice-chairman: “Rarely have I experienced such disrespect”

Other parties were sharply critical. SPD parliamentary group vice-chair Dirk Wiese told the “Rheinische Post”: “The Kremlin probably ordered us to stay away. I have rarely experienced such disrespect.” The first parliamentary manager of the Union parliamentary group, Thorsten Frei (CDU), said: “With this, AfD and BSW are once again underlining their contempt for the victims of the Russian war of aggression.”

Left-wing politician Dietmar Bartsch criticized his former parliamentary colleague Wagenknecht and called the behavior “absurd”: Whatever one’s stance on Selenskyj or on arms deliveries, democracy is about at least listening and not about attracting attention, he told dpa.

Merz: AfD and BSW’s absence a low point

CDU/CSU parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz has sharply criticized the absence of the Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW) coalition and most AfD MPs from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj’s speech in the Bundestag. “People can have different opinions about aid for Ukraine,” said the CDU chairman in Berlin. “But the fact that a member of the German Bundestag refuses to respect the president of this country threatened by war is a real low point in the culture of our parliament.” He was somewhat appalled by this.

The four AfD MPs Norbert Kleinwächter, Joachim Wundrak, Albrecht Glaser and Rainer Kraft were the only AfD representatives in the plenary hall and some of them also applauded. “For us, it is a matter of course to listen to other heads of state when they are here on a state visit, even if we may not share their opinion,” Kleinwächter told the dpa afterwards. “The applause was calm, in the places where one can support it,” but one could not read any euphoric enthusiasm from it, said Wundrak.

dpa

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