Because of his candidacy for the office of Federal President on an AfD ticket, the CDU leader has withdrawn Values Union boss Otte’s membership rights. Now the economist draws his own conclusions.
Berlin – The chairman of the arch-conservative Values Union, Max Otte, wants to withdraw from active party politics after his candidacy for the office of Federal President on an AfD ticket.
“The office of Federal President or the candidacy is above the parties and at the end of a political career. What should come after that?” said the economist of the German Press Agency in Berlin. “So this candidacy also means my departure from the party-political stage.”
He is also resigning from the chairmanship of the Values Union with immediate effect, said Otte. He wants to keep his membership in the association.
As a consequence of his candidacy for the AfD, the CDU leadership had withdrawn the 57-year-old’s membership rights with immediate effect on Tuesday and initiated a procedure for his exclusion from the party. CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak justified the procedure by saying that it was an “urgent and serious case of behavior that is seriously damaging to the party” that requires immediate intervention.
No change to another party
Otte now categorically ruled out a move to another party. He was a scholarship holder of the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation and has been a CDU member since 1991. At the end of the 1970s, as a teenager, he supported his father, who also belonged to the CDU, in the election campaign. “The CDU is my political home. I will fight to stay in this homeland,” he said.
Otte called the candidacy for the office of Federal President “one of the most honorable tasks and highest honors in the country that one can be asked to do”. Counter-candidates are traditionally used to draw attention to important issues in the country, he said, referring to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who should be able to secure a large majority for a second term at the Federal Assembly on February 13.
Otte said he shares the concern of the left-wing candidate and Mainz social doctor Gerhard Trabert, for whom the issue of poverty and impoverishment in the middle class is important. In addition, he, Otte, has repeatedly taken a stand against restrictions on democracy and fundamental rights in the wake of the corona pandemic. He turns against the brutalization of political discourse and increasing exclusion.
return “no longer possible”
The fund manager ruled out accepting a paid mandate in politics in the future. “I will not seek a seat in the Bundestag or any other mandate.” He had been asked more often whether he was aiming for a seat in the Bundestag and had always declined. “After this candidacy for the office of Federal President, a return to party politics is no longer possible,” emphasized Otte.
After the CDU leadership’s decision, Otte announced that he would suspend the presidency of the Values Union and all other party-political activities “out of respect for the office of the Federal President and his dignity” until after the Federal Assembly on February 13. Otte had repeatedly been held close to the AfD. Until January 2021 he was chairman of the board of trustees of the AfD-affiliated Desiderius Erasmus Foundation.
The Union of Values, which claims to have around 4,000 members, sees itself as representing the particularly conservative current in the Union, but is not an official party organization.
Otte has no chance of becoming President. In a joint letter to Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (SPD), the party and faction leaders of the traffic light partners SPD, Greens and FDP as well as the leaders of the CDU and CSU proposed Steinmeier for re-election. This means that he is assured of a large majority in the Federal Assembly on February 13th. dpa