EFor the first time since 1957, the Christian-conservative Center Party has had a representative in the Bundestag. Member of the Bundestag Uwe Witt, who left the AfD in December, announced his change of party on Tuesday. He was happy “to be able to make Christian, social and humane politics for the Center Party in the German Bundestag,” said Witt. The member of parliament from Schleswig-Holstein justified his resignation from the AfD by saying that the party did not differentiate itself clearly enough from right-wing extremists.
The Center Party had played an important political role in the Kaiserreich and in the Weimar Republic as a representative of political Catholicism. In the Weimar Republic, she provided the Chancellor on several occasions. In the Federal Republic, however, it quickly lost influence because a large part of its base turned to the newly founded CDU.
Most recently, the party entered the Bundestag in the 1953 federal election with 0.8 percent of the votes – at that time there was still no five percent hurdle. In recent decades, it has played no role in state or federal elections.
The Center Party welcomed the accession of the member of the Bundestag. She hopes that he will sharpen her profile and program, explained Secretary General Christian Otte. He pointed out that Witt had given 61 speeches in the Bundestag in the previous legislative period. For the Center Party he was an “excellent figurehead”.
Witt, who was considered a representative of the moderate current in the AfD, had cited “border crossings” by AfD members as one of the reasons for leaving the party. Among other things, he reported on a lecture event last August in which he took part. A team recommended by the AfD provided security, which later turned out to be related to a right-wing terrorist group. He was also “deeply shocked” that MP Thomas Helferich from North Rhine-Westphalia, who does not deny having described himself as the “friendly face of the NS” in an older chat, came to the Bundestag via an AfD ticket .
After concerns from members of parliament, including Witt, Helferich decided not to apply for membership in the AfD parliamentary group and is now a non-attached member of parliament. The discussion within the parliamentary group on the subject shook him “to the core” of his conviction that there were “no sympathizers with right-wing extremists, if not right-wing extremists, in the parliamentary group,” said Witt. He expects that Helferich will be included in the parliamentary group in the course of the year.
MPs with badges of right-wing extremist associations
The ex-AfDler also reported on a meeting in the Bundestag with a member of his former party who had “visibly attached the badge of a right-wing extremist association” to his jacket lapel. “At that moment, I felt as if my legs were going to buckle. I suddenly had a lump of ice in my stomach.” When asked, Witt did not give the name of the MP or which association it was about.
He also mentioned the reports of radical statements by Bavarian AfD politicians in an internal Telegram chat and also criticized “illegal behavior” in the employment of parliamentary group employees, without explaining this in more detail. Basically, Witt criticized the course of his ex-party: Some AfD greats have managed to make any conservative policy almost impossible with “completely exaggerated actions” in the last four years. “The overall approval of the population is becoming smaller and smaller, because people let themselves be carried away by fact-oriented politics and populist circus acts.” He did not name any specific names.
The step of leaving the party and parliamentary group was unavoidable for him and the logical consequence, he said. Some former party friends now called him a traitor.
After Witt and Huber announced their resignation, AfD co-head of parliamentary group Tino Chrupalla called on them to renounce their mandate in the Bundestag so that AfD politicians could move up. The parliamentary group currently has 80 members, up from 93 at the beginning of the last legislative period. Witt said you could ask for a lot. The scientific service of the Bundestag has clearly checked legally that a mandate is always personal and never party-related.