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Haseloff wants talks: is CDU making a deal with AfD on broadcasting fees?

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The CDU in Saxony-Anhalt repeatedly argues about the right way to deal with the AfD. Now a joint voting behavior of both groups could stop the increase in the broadcasting fee nationwide. The coalition partner SPD is vehemently critical.

A higher broadcast fee could fail due to a joint veto by the CDU and AfD in the Magdeburg state parliament: Before the decisive vote in the parliament in Saxony-Anhalt in mid-December, Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff wants to organize several talks. A government spokesman said that what the CDU politician wants to negotiate about and with what procedures will not initially be communicated. The prime minister’s rejection of cooperation with the AfD is known.

Haseloff has been an opponent of any cooperation with the AfD for years. Representatives of his CDU parliamentary group, however, attracted attention several times with mental games about future cooperation. In addition, a few years ago it made headlines across Germany that the majority of the CDU, against their coalition partners SPD and Greens, approved an AfD application for a left-wing extremist study commission. Only a year ago, the state CDU agreed at a party congress to exclude coalitions with the “AfD, which is currently radical in many parts”.

The black-red-green coalition in Saxony-Anhalt is in a difficult situation when it comes to broadcasting fees. The SPD and the Greens are in favor of the increase. The CDU in the state parliament recognizes reform efforts in the public sector, but considers them to be insufficient and wants to vote against the state treaty including the premium. Prime Minister Haseloff is also a member of the state parliament and part of the CDU parliamentary group. The AfD is fundamentally against the contribution system and will reject it. CDU and AfD jointly have a majority.

Strong criticism from the SPD

If there is a disagreement in the coalition, it is actually agreed that their parliamentary groups abstain from voting. In this case, this is out of the question for the coalition, because the opposition alone then decides on a nationwide project: The higher broadcasting fee would then be stopped with the votes of the opposition because the AfD has more seats than the left, which wants to agree. The SPD still wants to persuade the CDU to give in, the Greens also rely on joint talks.

The situation is being discussed nationwide. The general secretary of the Federal SPD, Lars Klingbeil, accused the CDU of allying itself with the “openly right-wing extremist state AfD” in Saxony-Anhalt. The federal CDU initially did not want to comment.

On January 1, 2021, the license fee is to rise for the first time since 2009, by 86 cents to 18.36 euros per month. The contribution was determined by an independent commission, but has to be confirmed by all state parliaments. Numerous state parliaments have already agreed. The votes in Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt are still pending for mid-December.

A single veto nationwide puts the state treaty and premium increase on hold. It is considered likely that broadcasters will appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court in this case. It is the most important source of income for ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio.

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