Dhe chairman of the conservative Values Union, Max Otte, does not rule out running for the AfD as a candidate for the office of Federal President. “Being offered the candidacy for Federal President is one of the greatest honors that can happen to you,” said the CDU politician to the German Press Agency when asked whether he would run for the AfD. “The office offers the chance to heal, to reconcile, to admonish. I consult with my family and think about it intensively.”
The AfD had previously nominated Otte as a candidate for the office of Federal President, according to corresponding reports in the magazines Der Spiegel and Zeit Online. In a joint conference call between the federal executive board and the state heads, a majority decided in favor of Otte, reported “Der Spiegel”. The AfD initially did not comment on the reports on Tuesday morning when asked, but announced a press conference for the afternoon.
The Union of Values, which claims to have around 4,000 members, sees itself as representing the conservative current in the Union, but is not an official party organization. Internal critics have long accused Otte of wanting to move the Union of Values to the right and open it to the AfD. Otte announced in an interview in 2017 that he wanted to vote for the AfD in the federal elections – also because of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s (CDU) course. Until January 2021, the fund manager was chairman of the board of trustees of the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation, which is close to the AfD.
Election on February 13th
Otte has practically no chance of becoming President. Incumbent Frank-Walter Steinmeier is running for a further five years with the support of the governing parties and the Union. A good two weeks ago, the left had nominated the Mainz social doctor Gerhard Trabert as another candidate.
The Federal Assembly meets on February 13 to elect the Federal President. It will have 1472 members – the 736 members of the Bundestag and an equal number of people who send the 16 state parliaments. With the votes from the SPD, Greens, FDP and CDU/CSU, Steinmeier can almost certainly count on re-election. Opposition parties have repeatedly entered their own candidates in the race for the highest office, even if this was hopeless.