Presidential election: Otte accepts AfD nomination

Status: 01/25/2022 2:36 p.m

Values ​​union chairman Otte accepted the AfD’s nomination for the office of federal president – despite warnings from his own party. This asks him to leave the CDU.

The head of the right-wing conservative value union, Max Otte, wants to run for the AfD for the office of Federal President. “I’m happy to accept the AfD’s nomination,” said the CDU politician to “Spiegel”. He added: “I consider the proposal to be a great honor.”

He also told the “world” that he agreed to the nomination. The office is “independent of parties, you shouldn’t look at the office from a party-political point of view.” He rejected demands to leave the CDU: “There are no reasons for me to think about leaving.”

CDU demands exit from the party

The CDU leadership had asked Otte to leave the party after he had initially not accepted the candidacy through the AfD, but had not ruled it out either. Anyone who considers something like this as a Christian Democrat “is violating the values ​​of the CDU and has no place in our party,” said the incumbent General Secretary Ziemiak together with his successor Mario Czaja at a press conference. “We also expressly call on Dr. Otte to leave the CDU.”

The CDU leadership gave Otte an ultimatum until 5:30 p.m. to explain whether he would accept the nomination. At 6:00 p.m., the federal executive board will discuss the further procedure, Czaja announced. A possible party exclusion procedure is “clearly included”. Ziemiak underlined that the first statement on the Otte case had been coordinated with the outgoing CDU chairman Armin Laschet, his successor Friedrich Merz and the state association of North Rhine-Westphalia and Otte’s Cologne CDU district association.

Laschet himself had previously written on Twitter: “To be nominated by the AfD as a presidential candidate is not an honor, but a shame. Anyone who, as a Christian Democrat, even considers this damages the reputation of the Union, violates its values ​​and has no place in the CDU. ”

After his nomination by the AfD, Otte said: “To be offered the candidacy for Federal President is one of the greatest honors that can happen to you.” He consults with his family and thinks “intensely about it”.

“Party-damaging behavior”

The parliamentary manager of the Union faction in the Bundestag, Thorsten Frei (CDU), described a candidacy for another party, especially for the AfD, as “absolutely out of the question”. Such “party-damaging behavior” must necessarily lead to an exclusion, he said.

CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt also suggested that Otte leave the party. He expects that after Otte did not immediately actively contradict the AfD’s request.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister and CDU state leader Hendrik Wüst also spoke out in favor of an exclusion procedure in the event of a candidacy and calls on the politician to leave. “He hasn’t lost anything with us,” he told the “Rheinische Post”. The CDU in Cologne sees the conditions for a party expulsion as given, the newspaper quoted district chairman Bernd Petelkau as saying. Otte is a member there.

Criticism of Otte for a long time

Internal critics have long accused Otte of wanting to move the union of values ​​to the right and open it to the AfD. According to its own statements, the Union of Values ​​has around 4,000 members and sees itself as representing the conservative current in the Union, but is not an official party organization. Otte announced in an interview in 2017 that he wanted to vote for the AfD in the federal elections – also because of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s (CDU) course. Until January 2021, the fund manager was chairman of the board of trustees of the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation, which is close to the AfD.

CDU leadership calls on Otte to leave

Vera Wolfskämpf, ARD Berlin, 25.1.2022 · 14:31

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