Admittedly, the story that is told in Thuringia tastes a bit sweet. But it fits similar anecdotes, and it only happened again a few days ago, in a purpose-built Protestant building in the north of Erfurt, where the less wealthy of the city live. On a dark, cold evening, a man mingled with the churchgoers, who despite dark anoraks was recognizable to everyone as Bodo Ramelow, the incarnate and currently managing prime minister.
He had come unannounced and came alone not to see the bodyguards if they were sitting around somewhere. The head of government has neither been officially welcomed nor adopted; it has been his community, here he is a Christian among Christians, for a long time. But of course, the people of the country recognized him, there was chatter, laughter and a little prayer.
Another story: Kurt Biedenkopf, known by the old Union nobility and once as "King of Saxony", is 90 years old. On Tuesday there will be a big reception in the Albertinum in Dresden, with Chancellor and all conceivable Christian conservative Pipapo. Ramelow also wants to be there, the Saxon State Chancellery invited him specifically, at the urging of Biedenkopf. "We both talk on the phone from time to time," says the left. "We value each other."
At the beginning of February, the head of government wanted to stand for re-election in the Thuringian state parliament - and this despite the fact that the party alliance that had brought him into office five years ago no longer had a majority there: the seizing SPD and the disputed Thuringian Greens lost in the state election in October, while Ramelow's left clearly gained and became the country's strongest party for the first time. And so the 48 seats of a very heterogeneous majority are divided between the previous opposition parties AfD, CDU and FDP, in exactly this order.
The AfD wants to put up a counter-candidate
The fact that Bodo Ramelow can still form a minority government is due to the fact that in Thuringia, the left and the AfD, the two antagonists of German politics form an involuntary majority in parliament. This means that all majority coalitions are automatically impossible without the participation of at least one of the two parties.
The rest follow the logic of the exclusion principle. CDU and FDP don't want to go with the left. SPD and Greens do not want with CDU and FDP. And everyone doesn't want to join the AfD. At least still.
The isolated demands from the CDU to try under the Left were almost panicked in the committees in Berlin and Erfurt. In addition to the traditional anti-communist reflexes, there is justifiable fear that opening the CDU to the left would bring about parallel opening to the AFD.
So only Ramelow and Red-Red-Green remain in the minority variant. The CDU should not compete against each other, since their country chief MikeMohring cannot even be sure of their own votes. The AfD has indeed announced a candidate who should not be the head of state Björn Höckes in order to convince willing Christian Democrats or liberals of the very right thing. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that even in a secret vote larger sections of the bourgeois parties will overflow to the AfD.