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German schoolchildren. Photo supplied

Over 50 schools affected: German educators can not be AfD members

Educational experts from 54 Hamburg schools must contractually state that they are not members of the AfD. This is clear from contract documents leaked to the party through its online portal "Neutrale Schulen Hamburg", the AFD group said.

Published: May 25, 2019, 2:23 pm

    The personnel agency responsible for the contracts is “Lernzeit Schulpersonal-Service GmbH”, which has concluded cooperation agreements with 54 schools in the Hanseatic city.

    The school authorities responded to a request from the AFD and announced that they would review the contracts of the educators who give all-day care, such as promotion or sports courses, with the agency and, if necessary, terminate the cooperation.

    The chairman of the AFD faction in the Hamburg Parliament, Alexander Wolf, called the ban a scandal. “We therefore welcome the fact that the school board has now reacted and has the contracts checked for legal compliance.”

    In the past school year, the shameless agency had received around 550 000 euros in German taxpayers’ money.

    The seminal use of “cordon sanitaire” as a metaphor for ideological containment, is about isolating politically “diseased” competitors.

    French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau is credited with coining the usage, when in March 1919 he urged the newly independent border states that had seceded from the Russian Empire and its successor the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to form a defensive union to the spread of communism to Western Europe.

    Beginning in the late 1980s, the term was introduced into the discourse on parliamentary politics by Belgian commentators. At that time, the anti-immigration Flemish nationalist Vlaams Blok party had begun to make significant electoral gains.

    Because of their success, other Belgian political parties committed to exclude the party from any coalition government.

    In 2004, its successor party, Vlaams Belang changed its party platform in order to comply with the law. While no formal new agreement has been signed against it, no mainstream Belgian party will enter into coalition talks with Vlaams Belang.

    With the electoral success of nationalist parties on the right in recent European history, the term has been transferred to agreements similar to the one struck in Belgium. Since 2013, the established major parties have refused to form state-level coalitions with the AfD.

    In the Netherlands, a parliamentary cordon sanitaire was put around the Centre Party (Centrumpartij, CP) and later on the Centre Democrats (Centrumdemocraten, CD), ostracising their conservative leader Hans Janmaat.

    During the 2010 Cabinet formation, Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) charged other parties of plotting a cordon sanitaire. Since 2012, all major parties have refused to cooperate with PVV.

    In France, the policy of non-cooperation with Front National, together with the majoritarian two-round electoral system, has resulted in the permanent underrepresentation of the FN – now known as the National Rally – in the National Assembly.

    For instance, the FN won no seats out of 577 in the 2002 elections, despite receiving 11.3 percent of votes in the first round. In the 2002 presidential election, after the Front National candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen unexpectedly defeated Lionel Jospin in the first round, the traditionally ideologically-opposed Socialist Party encouraged its voters to vote for their opponent Jacques Chirac in the second round, preferring anyone to Le Pen.

    In 2017, his daughter and party successor Marine Le Pen reached the second round of the presidential election; both the Socialist Party and Republicans encouraged votes for her opponent Emmanuel Macron.

    In the Czech Republic, the Communist Party is effectively excluded from any possible coalition because of a strong anti-Communist presence in most political parties, including the Social Democrats. Also a cordon sanitaire was put around the Republicans of Miroslav Sládek, when they were active in the Parliament (1992–1998). When any of its members was set to speak, other deputies would leave the Chamber of Deputies.

    In Estonia and Latvia, “Russian-speaking” parties (LKS and Harmony in Latvia, and the Constitution Party and Centre Party in Estonia) had been excluded from participation in ruling coalitions at a national level until leadership change.

    In Spain, groups such as the People’s Party, have regularly been excluded from any government coalition in Catalonia.

    In Sweden, the political parties in the Riksdag have adopted a policy of non-cooperation with the Sweden Democrats. However, there have been exceptions where local politicians have supported resolutions from SD.

    In Norway, all the parliamentary parties had consistently refused to formally join into a governing coalition at state level with the Progress Party until 2005 when the Conservative Party did so.

    In Canada, resistance to the formation of coalition governments among left-of-center parties has often been attributed to an unwillingness to be seen as collaborating with the Bloc Québécois, which advocates for the independence of Quebec.

    In the United Kingdom, the British National Party is completely ostracised by the political mainstream.

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