AfD taps Björn Höcke to run for Thuringia state premier | News | DW | 02.03.2020

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AfD taps Björn Höcke to run for Thuringia state premier

The AfD in Thuringia has nominated its firebrand leader, Björn Höcke, to run for state premier. The vote comes after the election of an FDP candidate with right-wing support sent shockwaves through domestic politics.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the eastern state of Thuringia announced Monday that leader Björn Höcke would compete in the race for state premier in a vote on March 4.

Höcke, a highly divisive and controversial figure within the AfD, will run against the incumbent, Bodo Ramelow of the socialist Left party.

Ramelow is expected to win the vote, as was the case one month ago, but with a plurality not a majority. He can likely count on support from the Social Democrats and the Greens, which won't suffice for a majority. The CDU in Thuringia has agreed to abstain in the vote in exchange for an arrangement for early elections next year.

CDU abstention after February debacle

Wednesday's vote comes after an election in Thuringia last month caused an uproar across Germany. In that poll, Thomas Kemmerich of the business-friendly Free Democrats was elected premier with votes from the AfD and Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU). The AfD also withdrew its own candidate at the last minute. 

Read more: Why is everyone in Germany talking about Thuringia and AfD?

Watch video 26:05

Fiasco in Thuringia: Will the AfD Destroy Merkel's Legacy?

It was the first time a state premier had been elected with support from the AfD, and saw mainstream parties break their pact not to work with far-right lawmakers.

Kemmerich resigned the next day and said he would call another election, after Chancellor Angela Merkel called the vote inexcusable.  

nm/stb (AFP, dpa)

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