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Chairman of the CDU Basic Values Commission Andreas Rödder

Photo: IMAGO

In an interview with Stern, Andreas Rödder called on the CDU to change its strategy in dealing with the AfD. The CDU must no longer argue about false firewalls. This only has the effect that the AfD can show off the CDU again and again. The CDU must appear self-confident and formulate its own positions. It has to come out of the defensive," said the historian and chairman of the CDU Basic Values Commission.

According to the 56-year-old, the CDU should not close itself off from the outset to parliamentary initiatives of the AfD in the future. There are clear red lines to the far right. These included the relativization of National Socialism or the advocacy of the war against Ukraine. "Otherwise, it's the matter that counts," he said. "What if the AfD brings in earlier proposals from the CDU? Should the CDU vote against its own convictions as a matter of principle? Parliamentarism means putting content first.«

Criticism from within our own ranks

According to Rödder, the AfD has the goal of destroying the Union, "because this is the only way it can conquer the political right. The CDU must understand this logic." He considers the word firewall itself to be wrong, Rödder continued. "It divides the world into two camps: 'us' and 'them', on one side the green Shire, on the other hand the scorched earth. This term makes us gasp all the time.«

Rödder is also open to minority governments of his party in the east, even if these are occasionally supported by the AfD. "The crucial question would be: Is it a minority government that has to look for its majority again and again? Then it's perfectly fine," Rödder continued in the interview. It would only be problematic if the CDU were to be officially tolerated by the AfD and enter into agreements to do so. That would be a red line."

Polenz demands consequences for Rödder

Rödder's statements quickly drew criticism from within his own party. Ex-CDU General Secretary Ruprecht Polenz wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that the statements must have consequences for Rödder. "Anyone who loses his compass of values to such an extent that he recommends that the CDU allow itself to be tolerated by a fascist party on a case-by-case basis can no longer lead the CDU Basic Values Commission."

The CDU has been under criticism since the Thuringian parliamentary group in the state parliament pushed through a reduction in real estate transfer tax last week with the votes of the AfD. Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister and CDU state chairman Daniel Günther distanced himself from the behavior of his party in Thuringia. "The attitude of the CDU Schleswig-Holstein is clear: any kind of cooperation with the AfD is excluded," said Günther. This also applies to his own initiatives, which foreseeably only have a chance of success with the help of this party, he continued.