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Carsten Meyer-Heder

Photo: Mohssen Assanimoghaddam / dpa

The state chairman of the Bremen CDU, Carsten Meyer-Heder, resigns. This was announced by the Bremen CDU state association on Friday. "The decision was made in consultation with the party," the CDU said in a press release. As a reason, Meyer-Heder cited a statement on a possible cooperation with the AfD, which he had made in an interview with the NDR regional magazine "buten un binnen".

In the interview, Meyer-Heder had explicitly not ruled out cooperation with the AfD. The entire conversation is to be shown on Saturday, so far only a short excerpt and a written summary of the editors have been published.

"Where there are correct points in terms of content that the AfD promotes at the municipal level, you can't say: 'That's nonsense,'" Meyer-Heder said in the video published so far. It's all about the content and nothing else. If we want to make things happen, and we agree with the AfD, why not?" says Meyer-Heder. He is more afraid of the left in the Bremen parliament than of some people in the AfD.

According to "buten un binnen", Meyer-Heder criticized the Thuringian AfD leader Björn Höcke in the further course of the interview. Accordingly, he called him "an asshole", Höcke destroyed the whole AfD, Meyer-Heder is quoted as saying. You can't pretend that Höcke doesn't exist. "But it's not all right-wing radicals in the AfD, that's too short-sighted. We have to deal with it. We can't pretend that they're all completely confused people."

The statements produced "a completely different effect in the public" than he intended, Meyer-Heder said in a statement, according to "buten un binnen". I have never been and am not suspected of being close to the AfD."

Merz: Cooperation "unimaginable"

The CDU has been discussing how to deal with the AfD for weeks – especially at the municipal level. Party leader Friedrich Merz recently attracted attention with controversial statements about asylum seekers. On Monday, he described cooperation with the AfD as "unimaginable".

"The CDU would sell its soul if it worked with this party," he said. "These are people who do not clearly distance themselves from National Socialism. People who want to abolish Europe. People who want to make common cause with Putin."

Nevertheless, he did not consider the vote in Thuringia, where a motion by the opposition CDU to reduce the real estate transfer tax with the approval of the AfD had found a majority, as problematic: "There has been no cooperation with the AfD in Thuringia either." The Thuringian CDU first held talks with the SPD and the Greens. That didn't help. "Then the CDU has submitted a motion in the state parliament that corresponds to our conviction." His party, he said, "does not allow itself to be dictated by either side as to which political positions we take."

Merz, on the other hand, expressed his disapproval of a proposal by historian Andreas Rödder, head of the CDU's Basic Values Commission, who can also imagine CDU minority governments that are tolerated by the AfD. "That's an absolute no-go!" said Merz.