World Gera: AfD politician Reinhard Etzrodt elected city council chairman

00:35  25 september  2020
00:35  25 september  2020 Source:   spiegel.de

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An AfD politician is the new city council chairman in Gera. Reinhard Etzrodt also received votes from other parliamentary groups when he was elected.

  Gera: AfD-Politiker Reinhard Etzrodt zum Stadtratsvorsitzenden gewählt © Jens Meyer / AP

It was a triumph for the right: In the local elections in May 2019, the AfD won the most votes in Thuringia in many places - including Gera. In the city with more than 90,000 inhabitants, the AfD came to 28.8 percent - and thus became the strongest force in Gera. This sparked a violent dispute in the city, after all, according to the main statute, the largest parliamentary group has the right to propose the presidency of the city council.

A representative of the right-wing populists at the head of parliament? After a 15-month long hanging game, it is now clear: From now on, the post will actually be held by an AfD politician. The city council elected Reinhard Etzrodt as chairman in the session on Thursday evening.

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The retired doctor received 23 votes out of 40. That is also quite remarkable: Because the AfD itself only has 12 seats in the local parliament. In addition to the Left (8 seats), the CDU (6), the citizenship of Gera (3), Für Gera (3), the Greens (3) and the SPD (3) have more than one seat on the city council . The vote took place in writing. He was proud of the result, said Etzrodt. "It is certainly a novelty that the chairman of the municipal council is an AfD member in a larger city."

Who voted for the AfD man?

In the past few months, the disputes had mainly revolved around the legality of the Gera main statute for this office. Shortly before the first municipal council meeting after the local elections, the state administration office criticized the passage that regulates the right to make proposals. According to Mayor Julian Vonarb (independent), the office currently no longer sees any illegality in the paragraph.

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Vonarb, who won a runoff election against an AfD candidate in spring 2018, chaired the city council meetings. He handed this task over to Etzrodt after the election on Thursday.

The events in Gera are already making waves over the city. The main question is which politicians who do not belong to the AfD could have helped Etzrodt into office. Susanne Hennig-Wellsow, head of the Left Party in Thuringia and candidate for the party's federal chairmanship, accused the CDU on Twitter of "repeatedly being the stooge of an extreme right-wing party". The Thuringian CDU parliamentary group leader Mario Voigt rejected this vehemently. The CDU did not vote for the AfD man in Gera, wrote Voigt. "The city council group has a clear stance."

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