In the Bundestag, the members of the CDU / CSU have to swap places with those of the FDP.

The Union parliamentary group is moving further to the right in the plenary - seen from the parliamentary presidium - the FDP is moving further into the middle next to the parliamentary group of the Greens.

The change was decided after a sharp debate in the plenary against the votes of the Union with the new government majority of the SPD, Greens and FDP with the consent of the Left Party, the AfD abstained.

Johannes Leithäuser

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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The first parliamentary manager of the Union parliamentary group Thorsten Frei accused the new parliamentary majority of wanting to form a "monolithic block" in the middle of the plenary and move the Union to the edge.

He recalled that in 1983 the Union parties had been ready to give the Greens who had entered the Bundestag for the first time a place in the middle of the plenary session.

"Signs of small-mindedness"

The change in the seating arrangement had been requested jointly by the factions of the Ampel-Coalition, it went back to the instigation of the FDP. The parliamentary manager of the SPD parliamentary group, Anja Mast, stated that the real question on this topic was: “Who is sitting next to the AfD?” You can understand any MP who is “ashamed to sit next to you”. AfD MP Stefan Brandner invited the CDU / CSU to take the places next to the AfD “to learn good opposition work”; He called the FDP "depraved cucumber troop".

The parties of the traffic light coalition wanted to decide on the change of the seating arrangement without a debate in the plenary; the Union faction had insisted on a discussion. Frei argued that the seating arrangements in the Bundestag had existed since it was founded. It is "a sign of small-mindedness and great weakness" if it is now changed. He quoted the President of the Bundestag Bärbel Bas (SPD), who had spoken out against the change in the seating arrangement a few weeks ago.

The parliamentary managing director of the FDP faction, Johannes Vogel, argued, however, that the position of the parties in the Bundestag basically follows the “left-right scheme”, so the FDP “as a force of the political center” also belongs in the middle of the plenary. Vogel countered the argument of customary law by pointing out that the liberals had already sat in the middle in the National Assembly of the Paulskirche in Frankfurt; the same applied to the German Democratic Party in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. Incidentally, in Hesse and Bavaria, the Union parties had taken majority decisions to ensure that the FDP was moved from the middle of the plenary to the outside world.

For the Left Party, its parliamentary director Jan Korte let it be known that the Left was satisfied with its place in the plenary: "We like to sit here on the far left."