The Free Democratic Party (FDP) announced yesterday (3 March) its plan to walk out of the plenary during this afternoon’s vote to protest the two minister-president candidates for the state of Thuringia, former incumbent Bodo Ramelow (Die Linke) and AfD state party leader Björn Höcke.
“If you want to document that you reject both candidates, you will not be able to take part in the ballot… An abstention is not a ‘no’ vote,” explained a spokesperson for the FDP parliamentary group.
Tilman Kuban, head of the young wing of the national CDU, has suggested that his Thuringian colleagues should follow the FDP’s lead.
The CDU and FDP want to register their disapproval with the two candidates, as both parties refuse to work with the political extremes.
However, in light of Höcke’s previous inflammatory statements, and accusations of racism and anti-Semitism, many from the left and centre are criticising the move.
Besides, the Left’s Ramelow is a popular figure in the state with a more than 70% approval rating.
There were concerns of a potential election cancellation after the CDU parliamentary group announced yesterday (3 March) that one of its members had been quarantined for COVID-19 after a recent ski vacation in Italy. That evening his test came back negative, allowing the vote to proceed. (Sarah Lawton | EURACTIV.de)