Germany AfD: Merkel rejects election of Thuringia PM

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New Thuringia Prime Minister Thomas L. Kemmerich (L) of FDP shakes hands with Bjoern Hoecke of AfDImage copyright
EPA

Image caption

There was shock as the new state premier, Thomas Kemmerich (left), shook hands with local AfD leader Björn Höcke

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the election of a liberal leader in eastern Germany with help from the far-right AfD party is “unforgivable” and must be reversed.

Thomas Kemmerich of the liberal FDP became premier of Thuringia after the AfD, in a surprise move, voted for him.

The situation is being described as a political earthquake, as the mainstream parties have always refused to do deals with Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The AfD has broad support in Thuringia.

But the state election in October was won by the far-left Die Linke, whose leader Bodo Ramelow was ousted in Wednesday’s vote.

Speaking on a visit to South Africa, Chancellor Merkel said the Thuringia vote had to be reversed – implying that the state election would have to be re-run.

The Free Democrats (FDP) leader, Christian Lindner, was heading to the state capital Erfurt on Thursday for urgent talks with Mr Kemmerich, who is under intense pressure to quit. He has refused to step down so far.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

A protester in Erfurt held a banner stating that “fascists are never partners”

Some have compared the AfD’s surprise move to the Nazis’ rise to power and there were protests in several German cities after the election.

In 1930 a Nazi entered the Thuringia government – the party’s first big breakthrough in the Weimar Republic, culminating in Adolf Hitler’s appointment as chancellor in 1933.

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