BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s main opposition party launched an effort Monday to oust a former intelligence agency chief, weeks after he complained of what he said was a move toward “eliminationist racism against whites.”
The centre-right Christian Democratic Union gave Hans-Georg Massen an ultimatum two weeks ago to leave the party by February 5, which he ignored. Party leader Friedrich Merz said on Monday that the CDU leadership had unanimously decided to initiate expulsion proceedings and immediately withdraw his membership rights.
Maasen was sacked as head of the BfV domestic intelligence agency in 2018 after he appeared to downplay far-right violence against migrants in the eastern city of Chemnitz. He has since become a vocal, if marginal, figure in the hard-right CDU – the party once led by former chancellor Angela Merkel – and unsuccessfully ran for the national parliament in 2021.
Party leaders ran out of patience with Massen after a tweet in mid-January in which he said the direction of the “driving forces in the political and media spheres” was “anti-white elimination racism and a burning desire to kick Germany in the bucket. ”
Merz said that “this is not the kind of language we use in political discussions, no matter with whom.”
“A clear line was drawn today, and the party will thank us for that,” he added. “And above all, it will be recognizable by the population that we are conservative, liberal, Christian and social, but we are not right-wing radicals.”
Merz said the move also underlined the “protective wall” between his party and the far-right Alternative for Germany, which has established itself as a political force over the past decade and has been represented in the national parliament since 2017.
Despite Monday’s decision, it may be some time before the CDU can put Maassen behind it. In Germany, expelling party members is a complicated and often time-consuming process that often fails.