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New seating arrangement in the Bundestag for AfD?

Parties in the German Bundestag want nothing to do with their 93 new AfD colleagues and nobody wants to sit next to them. Since the deputies can not be placed in the hemisphere of the Reichstag or a floor lower, a solution will have to be found.

Published: October 2, 2017, 8:12 pm

    According to an opinion of the Scientific Service of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, as the former President of the Bundestag, will “basically have to find an amicable solution”.

    In 1983 there was a similar dispute over the seats of the Greens, the German weekly Junge Freiheit noted. It could mean that “the acting (old) Bundestag president would be obliged to establish the sitting capacity of the newly elected German Bundestag, taking into account the ideas expressed by the political groups requiring seats in the plenary chamber “. Lammert would then have to make a “disputed decision” on the matter.

    In 1983, when the Greens moved into the Bonn Plenary Hall for the first time, they wanted seats in the center of the hall. But both the Union and the FDP, wanted the Greens the to the left outside the view of the media. “This was based on the calculus that the new Bundestag parties would not be, or would be perceived only to a limited extent, by the TV cameras in these places at least,” the Scientific Service found by studying the archives.

    The SPD, however, had categorically rejected this because, the SPD did not believe that there should be another opposition group to the left. An SPD deputy had suggested in a sarcastic way that the Greens should rather be placed between the CDU and the CSU.

    So in 1983, the political groups agreed at the last minute on a Green party in the middle of the plenum between the SPD and the CDU/CSU, after the CDU/CSU changed their attitude on the seating question. The Greens are still in the middle today, while the FDP was on the right of the presidium until the end of 2013. Now the FDP does not want the AfD to be next to them and is seeking seats in the middle of the plenary hall.

    Frauke Petry, who is not a member of the AfD any longer, can not hope for a seat in the first row, but will have to be at the back of the plenum. An attempt by Thomas Wüppesahl, who had been expelled from the Greens in 1987, to try and obtain a court-appointed table and telephone in the first row of the plenary hall, had been refused.

    Petry shocked the party last week after announcing she would not sit in parliament with AfD members and would instead sit as an individual MP for her regional constituency of Saxony, citing a “disagreement over content” within AfD ranks. Her co-leader Jörg Meuthen likened her announcement to “dropping a bomb,” according to various news reports, and said her sudden surprise move had not been discussed beforehand.

    In the so-called “Wüppelsahl” decision, high court judges rejected the request of the deputy as inadmissible “since the non-attached applicant could not conclusively demonstrate that this refusal violated his own rights with regard to the constitutional legal relationship with the German Bundestag” The ruling was noted in file: BVerfGE 80, pages 188, 227.

    Petry, alongside three regional MPs quit the party last week. Petry’s husband, Marcus Pretzell, also left the party only hours after Sunday’s election.

    She said she plans to form a new political group in the German parliament after leaving the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD). She told newspaper Welt am Sonntag in an interview on Sunday that she wants to form a new party in the Bundestag, but would not reveal what it would be called. She also said that she and her colleagues would “soon form a group and perhaps a faction” to run in the 2019 Saxony regional parliament election.

    Petry’s new group will shun relations with Russia. “Take the relationship with Russia: I wish that this could become better. But because of my experience with the East German dictatorship under Russian domination, on no account do I want to exchange the stable partnership with the USA for a Germany dominated by Russia,” Petry said.

    “Furthermore I define patriotism through common cultural values with a European dimension,” she added.

    She said that she had walked out of the AfD because it had become an “anarchic” opposition party that could not make any realistic proposals for government.

    The anti-immigrant, anti-euro party saw a 7.9 percentage point increase from the last election in 2013, the year in which the AfD was formed. Germany’s main two parties, the CDU/CSU alliance and its former coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), saw their support decline dramatically.

    The AfD is now represented in 13 out of Germany’s 16 state parliaments, although more predominantly in the former Communist east.

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