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Brandenburg state parliament debates democracy and party system

Kathrin Schneider (SPD), Minister and Head of the State Chancellery, talks to Dietmar Woidke (SPD) / Photo: Bernd Settnik/dpa
Kathrin Schneider (SPD), Minister and Head of the State Chancellery, talks to Dietmar Woidke (SPD) / Photo: Bernd Settnik/dpa

The Brandenburg state parliament discusses the importance of democracy and the multi-party system. Broad majority promotes democratic principles.

During a heated debate, a large majority of the Brandenburg state parliament spoke out in favor of democracy and the multi-party system. "This democracy is damn exhausting, it is sometimes annoying, but it is necessary," said State Chancellor Kathrin Schneider (SPD) on Thursday in the state parliament in Potsdam. "We are struggling to find solutions in discussions and debates." Several parties ensured a broad range of opinions.

The AfD had requested the topical hour under the motto "Democracy instead of the party state" and criticized that the other parties were dividing up positions from various institutions among themselves. Schneider accused the AfD of ultimately wanting to abolish democracy.

The AfD accused some of the other parties of felting and corruption. It considers party funding, from which the AfD also benefits, to be too lavish. "We are talking about a party state that has become party rule," said AfD parliamentary group leader Hans-Christoph Berndt. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution classified the AfD Brandenburg as a suspected right-wing extremist party in 2020. Berndt is considered a proven right-wing extremist by the Brandenburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution. He rejected this as "insubstantial accusations".

The CDU parliamentary group leader Jan Redmann does not see the AfD MPs as democrats: "You may be democratically elected, ladies and gentlemen of the AfD, but that doesn't make you democrats." He said: "Parties are a thorn in their side because they believe they are the sole representatives of a homogeneous will of the people."

SPD MP Tina Fischer called for party diversity: "They don't want to sit at this family table of democracy," said Fischer, addressing the AfD. "We don't want them at our table either." Green parliamentary group leader Benjamin Raschke accused the AfD: "The AfD alone wants to determine what is truthful."

Left-wing parliamentary group leader Sebastian Walter drew a connection between the AfD and the National Socialists. "They think like the NSDAP, they talk like the NSDAP and they end up acting like the NSDAP," he said. During their reign from 1933 to 1945, the National Socialists persecuted several population groups and deported and murdered millions of Jews. In Walter's opinion, the AfD's criticism of the party system comes to nothing. "You're sitting in the institutions, you want to get your hands on the fleshpots of power!" he said, addressing the AfD.

The Free Voters see a decline in trust in democracy. The group's spokesperson in the state parliament, Péter Vida, therefore called for a "revitalization of democracy".

In a motion, the AfD believes that the holder of state power is being patronized by parties and their networks. It refers to Article 20 of the Basic Law, according to which all state power emanates from the people. The separation of powers between the government and the judiciary is undermined when parties occupy constitutional courts and courts of auditors.

AfD member of the state parliament Lars Hünich, who wants to become mayor of Kloster Lehnin, said at an AfD Falkensee citizens' get-together in January: "If we are in government tomorrow, then we must abolish this party state. (...) We don't need parties that are paid by the state that they are supposed to control." ZDF had reported on this.

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