News from Berlin and Germany, 11th October 2023

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Right-wing demonstration in Berlin on German Unity Day

On October 3rd around 5,000 right-wingers and Alternative for Germany (AfD) supporters gathered on Museum Island for a protest which was seemingly in favour of “Transparent Political Dialogue.” However, according to Taz, some participants openly declared their hostility towards the reunified Germany, chanting “East East East Germany”. Police presence at the event was minimal. A police spokesperson did confirm that arguments between the demonstrators and passers-by took place. Around 50 individuals from the left-wing group “Omas gegen Rechts” had a counter-protest nearby. Source: exberliner

GEW calls for three-day warning strike

The Berlin Education and Science Union (GEW) has called for a teachers’ warning strike, from next Tuesday to Thursday. The union wants smaller classes in schools. Currently, up to 29 children learn in a primary school class, and up to 35 in secondary schools. For teachers, this means grading piles of class tests, writing more reports, and having many discussions with parents. The Berlin education administration and the financial administration call the strike irresponsible, asking the union to suspend it since the Senate is already using possibilities to improve the staff situation at schools. Source: rbb24


‘No evidence’ of attack on AfD leader Chrupalla

German prosecutors and police issued a statement last Thursday there was “no evidence” to suggest there was an attack on Alternative for Germany (AfD) co-leader Tino Chrupalla. According to the statement, Chrupalla had been taking selfies with several people at an event, when contact with others was involved. He was found to have “a surface-level redness on his arm as well as swelling.” The AfD earlier said Chrupalla was involved in a ‘violent incident’ but police said there’s no evidence of an attack. The incident came before the key state elections in Bavaria and Hesse. Source: dw

Bavaria and the draft law for legalising cannabis

Cannabis is likely to be legalised in Germany in 2024, but politicians in Bavaria are planning to limit its availability. Last week, the Bavarian Health Minister, Klaus Holetschek, announced that the local government would set up a “central cannabis control unit” once legalisation has been enshrined. Considering procedures, the draft law is expected to return to the Bundestag for tweaks before being read by the Bundesrat. According to Holetscheck, the government in Bavaria plans to “submit a motion to reject the bill” in the Länderkammer. However, Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said such action will not stop that law since it does not require the approval of that chamber. Source: iamexpat

AfD achieves record results

Beaming broadly, AfD leader Alice Weidel roared into the microphone amid applause. “We are on the right track!” she shouted at the election party, once again underlining the course of fundamental opposition. Meanwhile, the first projections of the state elections in Bavaria and Hesse caused shockwaves nationwide. In its soaring popularity, the AfD benefited from a strong focus of the public debate on migration and from other right-wing populist campaigns, especially in Bavaria with a lot of populist competition from Markus Söder (CSU) and Hubert Aiwanger (Free Voters). The AfD instrumentalises fears of social decline and provides racist answers to social distribution efforts. Source: taz

Hesse and Bavaria: The Left departs into the unknown

If one thing can be said about the elections in Bavaria and in Hesse, it is that federal policy issues were the determining factor. Together with the fact that CDU/CSU has shown a populist pose – whether done by Markus Söder or Friedrich Merz. And the Free Voters owe their success to the people who cheer for a reactionary and self-righteous beer tent speaker. Considering such scenarios, the most delicate point comes from the Left Party, which struggles for its existence in Hesse. What is being witnessed is a farewell in chapters into the unknown. Source: nd-aktuell

Self-made defeat

The CSU in Bavaria and the CDU in Hesse won the state elections with comfortable margins, and the incumbent minister-presidents Markus Söder and Boris Rhein can look forward to another term in office, although, in Söder’s case, with the worst CSU result ever. In contrast, the SPD, the Greens, and the FDP, who govern together in the federal government, are experiencing a double defeat. In Hesse, where the SPD announced a change of government with aplomb in the spring, it clearly chose the wrong candidate: Nancy Faeser could not separate herself from the office of Federal Minister of the Interior. Source: taz

Around 60 members of the Left call for Wagenknecht’s expulsion

Almost 60 party members of the Left Party have filed a motion for the expulsion of Sahra Wagenknecht from the party. The reason is that Wagenknecht has been hinting at founding a new party for several months. In the motion, she is accused of “particularly damaging and disloyal behaviour” towards the Left Party. However, excluding Wagenknecht from the party could jeopardise the Left’s parliamentary group status in the Bundestag. In the 2021 Bundestag elections, the party fell short of the five-percent hurdle but was able to enter parliament thanks to winning three direct mandates, two of them in Berlin. Source: rbb24

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