Amidst the uproar over the Minister-President elections in Thuringia, federal leader of the liberal FDP party, Christian Lindner, asked the party’s executive board to hold a vote of confidence on Friday (7 February) during its special session in Berlin.
After convincing Thomas Kemmerich, who had been Thuringia’s Minister-President for just 25 hours, to resign, Lindner announced his intention to hold a confidence vote, saying he “would not be able to continue as party chairman if even a regional party affiliation of the FDP were to seek cooperation with the AfD or accept dependence”. EURACTIV Germany’s Sarah Lawton looks at how the events unfolded.
>> Read how liberal MEPs of the Renew group reacted in Brussels: here.
The move came after reports contradicted claims by the FDP and Lindner himself that they were shocked that Kemmerich’s candidacy was backed by the AfD.
The news began rolling in on Thursday morning (6 February), when Federal CDU Chair Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer revealed in a televised interview with ZDF that she had asked Lindner to dissuade Kemmerich from running, but to no avail.
Business Insider Germany later broke an exclusive story, stating that Lindner gave Kemmerich the green light to be elected with votes from the AfD in a telephone call on Monday (3 February). The party released a statement denying the claims, instead implying that the state FDP had acted on their own. Online news source Handelsblatt later corroborated Business Insider’s reporting.
Finally, a letter written by state parliamentary AfD leader Björn Höcke to Kemmerich and state CDU leader Mike Mohring also began circulating. Dated 1 November, just a few days after the parliamentary elections, Höcke proposed cooperating to prevent the continuation of the left-wing government under the previous Minister-President Bodo Ramelow (Die Linke). (Sarah Lawton | EURACTIV.de)