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Dispute over license fees escalates: Saxony-Anhalt’s interior minister dismissed

The coalition dispute in Saxony-Anhalt about the increase in the radio license also plunged the CDU into severe turbulence: Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff dismissed Interior Minister Holger Stahlknecht (both CDU) on Friday after a controversial interview. The main reason for this is that Stahlknecht publicly raised the coalition break and the possibility of a CDU minority government uncoordinated during the ongoing efforts to stabilize the coalition, the State Chancellery in Magdeburg announced.

The relationship of trust with Stahlknecht was so severely disturbed that he could no longer belong to the state government. The head of government continues to pursue the goal of leading a government that is capable of acting in all respects and has a reliable majority in the corona pandemic, it said. The SPD and the Greens welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision.

Stahlknecht had a conversation with the Magdeburg People’s Voice not only excluded that his party would move away from their no to an increase in contributions, but also justified the criticism, among other things, with the image of East Germany in the public broadcasters and reporting with the “raised index finger of moralization”.

At the same time, he had announced that in the event of the Magdeburg coalition breaking up with a CDU minority government, he would continue until the regular state elections in June 2021. Prime Minister Haseloff has always categorically excluded a minority government – as well as a dependence on votes from the AfD.

CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer called on the coalition to ensure stable conditions. “I hope that in Saxony-Anhalt all responsible forces work together with the Prime Minister to ensure political stability,” said the federal chairwoman of the dpa. “The CDU stands for the fact that people can rely on them, especially in difficult times.”

The cause of the dispute is the planned increase in the license fee. In the coalition agreement, contribution stability is agreed. The SPD and the Greens want to support the increase, the CDU parliamentary group wants to prevent it. The AfD is also against the increase. Should the CDU enforce its position with the help of the AfD, the SPD and the Greens want to leave the coalition. You see in the project a collaboration with the AfD, which all three coalition partners had actually excluded.

At the beginning of the week Haseloff worked out a proposal with the State Chancellery to avoid a vote in the state parliament. The increase of 86 cents could not come into effect as planned on January 1st as a result of the failure to address the issue. The SPD and the Greens had refused. Kramp-Karrenbauer still sees the coalition partners’ duty after the proposal: “The decision now lies in particular with the SPD and the Greens, who have to become aware of their political responsibility.”

The federal Greens saw it differently on Friday and called on the federal CDU to intervene. “I very much hope that the CDU still has some sort of regulatory influence in the federal government so that the CDU in Saxony-Anhalt stays in the middle and does not drift to the right,” said Federal Managing Director Michael Kellner the “Handelsblatt”.

Haseloff’s colleague from North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, showed on Friday that Haseloff’s demarcation from the AfD applies. He had “the solidarity and support of the entire German CDU for his course,” said the candidate for the CDU federal chairmanship of the dpa. “The course in the middle was and remains the right one.” Previously, Laschet had also been in the image voiced.

Laschet emphasized that the Union was “the mainstream people’s party of the second German democracy”. “This includes our firm anchoring in the middle of society with a clear compass of values.” There are moments when a clear stance is required. Haseloff had “the solidarity and support of the entire German CDU for his course. The middle course was and remains the right one.”

Stahlknecht has been Minister of the Interior since 2011, has been CDU regional chief since 2018 and for years was considered to be the successor to Prime Minister Haseloff. Only a few weeks ago, the incumbent thwarted this ambition and announced that he would run for a third term as the top CDU candidate.


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