The man who allegedly leads the CDU in Thuringia looks exhausted and, yes, that's the appropriate word: exhausted. Mike Mohring has suffered from cancer this year, fought a tough, multi-month campaign, and then witnessed his country's October 27 election as his CDU plunged by nearly 12 percentage points to 21.8 percent. The party, which ruled Thuringia for almost a quarter of a century, lies in the new parliament behind the strengthened left under Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow - and also behind the AfD under Björn Höcke, which more than doubled its result.
Now Mohring also personally gets to feel the consequences of this result. In the election to the group leader on Wednesday afternoon Mohring was supported by only 14 of the remaining 21 CDU deputies. Seven voted against him in the secret ballot.
Then Mohring stands in front of the faction hall, in the light of the cameras, and tries to smile. He says what you just say, if you have been doing politics for almost 30 years: It is a "honest result" and in view of the electoral defeat also somehow "plausible".
What the state and parliamentary leader does not say and what he naturally would have considered completely different: The partial vote of no confidence is also plausible because he maneuvered his vicious country party since the election night in the self-destruction. The day after the election, he spoke of a possible cooperation with the left, which he expressly did not want to exclude anything - only then, when there was first resistance to exclude everything. And again two days later, he said that he could form a "coalition of the middle" with Social Democrats, Greens and liberals.
No distancing from the AfD
Above all, he admitted that Michael Heym, one of his deputies in the faction, repeatedly called publicly to talk to the AfD about a government. Even more: Mohring did not even distance himself from it. In feeble quotes, which his press office released on repeated demand, he described Heym's omissions as a "single opinion", for which in such a difficult situation as the one in which his party is, there must be room. This evidently encouraged some in his party: In an open letter, 17 officials and elected officials, including another Member of Parliament, supported Heym's position.
In the Federal Party, this kind of systematic refusal of leadership first led to confusion and then indignation. The parliamentary leader in the Bremen citizenship Thomas Röwekamp and Marco Wanderwitz, the head of the Saxon national group in the Bundestag, demanded the party exclusion Heyms. "Be it astray" is what Secretary General Paul Ziemiak summed up the situation in Thuringia.
But how could that happen? How could an experienced politician like Mohring, who sits in the CDU presidency and leads the Union's parliamentary group conference, make such a thing happen? Or was there a big plan behind it right from the beginning, which was supposed to lead him to power?
Is the dam breaking the AfD now?
At the beginning of the declaration is an election result that could hardly be more complicated and that brings Thuringia into a situation that did not exist in the Federal Republic of Germany so far. The old and the new political pariah, the Left and the AfD, are the first in a German parliament to form an involuntary but stable blocking majority. At the same time can not be governed against both, and certainly not by the election loser CDU.
This defines the dilemma of Mohring and his state party. He has to behave somehow new to the left. Or maybe against the AfD? That is the central question, which threatens to rupture the state party and which leads to the next fundamental, for all Germany important questions: Break now in Thuringia the dam to the AfD, which is already crumbling in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt or Brandenburg? Will it be the party led by Björn Höcke and dominated by his nationalist "wing" that will be ready for the Union?