German opposition party seeks to expel former head of intelligence agency

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s main opposition party is trying to get rid of a member and former head of the country’s domestic intelligence agency after he complained about what he called a move toward ” eliminatory racism against whites”.

The leadership of the center-right Christian Democratic Union on Monday unanimously approved a resolution calling on Hans-Georg Maassen to leave the party. He said he would seek to initiate eviction proceedings if he did not voluntarily do so by Sunday.

Maassen was removed from his post as head of the domestic intelligence agency BfV in 2018 after he appeared to downplay far-right violence against migrants in the eastern city of Chemnitz. He has since become a fringe but vocal figure on the hard-right CDU, the party once led by former Chancellor Angela Merkel, and ran unsuccessfully in the national parliament elections in 2021.

Party leaders’ patience with Maassen ran out after a mid-January tweet in which he said the direction of the “driving forces in the political media sphere” is “eliminational racism against white people and burning desire for Germany to kick the bucket”.

“His language and the body of thought he expresses with him have no place in the CDU,” party leader Friedrich Merz told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper over the weekend. “The limit has been reached.”

Monday’s resolution said Maassen “repeatedly uses the language of the anti-Semite milieu and conspiracy ideologues.”

In Germany, the expulsion of party members is a complicated and often lengthy process that frequently fails. Merz acknowledged it was “not entirely straightforward”, but said the party was looking at the options available to it.

On Saturday, Maassen was elected head of the Werte-Union, a group that describes itself as representing conservative CDU members but is not officially linked to the party. CDU leaders have struggled in recent years to agree on an approach to Union Werte, which is politically fringe but has sometimes attracted a lot of attention.

The post had been vacant since Maassen’s predecessor, Max Otte, resigned after agreeing to run as the far-right Alternative for Germany party’s candidate for the German presidency last year. Otte was subsequently expelled from the CDU.

Monday’s party resolution called on CDU members to leave the Werte-Union, which it says is increasingly incompatible with the values ​​of the centre-right opposition bloc.

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