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Unconstitutional? That’s why the AfD is dismissing its Corona investigation committee today | hessenschau.de

Lockdown, mask requirement, vaccination: The AfD seemed to have achieved its goal of settling accounts with Corona policy in the state parliament. But now there is a huge row with her opponents – and probably a lawsuit before the Hesse Constitutional Court.

From
Wolfgang Turk

She speaks of an open-ended process, her opponents of an attempt at a reckoning: the AfD’s struggle to unite through minority rights Corona investigation committee in the state parliament To achieve this, a decisive round is taking place this Wednesday.

The debate before the planned vote in Wiesbaden in the evening is likely to be heated, and constitutional proceedings before the Hessian State Court are likely. Because things have taken a turn:

The government coalition of CDU and SPD does not want to let the AfD get away with its initiative, for which it has the legally required support of a fifth of all MPs. Reason: The proposal goes far too far and is essentially unconstitutional.

Too much federal politics?

This finding comes from a legal report commissioned by the governing parties. The AfD is therefore overstating the state parliament’s leeway, especially by the fact that the committee should also deal with the work of important non-Hessian institutions such as the Prime Minister’s Conference or the Robert Koch Institute.

After a brief initial period of support, the AfD was the only categorical opponent of the pandemic policy in the state parliament and continues to speak of an exaggerated “politics of fear”. She is the only one who wants the matter to be dealt with in the form of a committee of inquiry.

Lockdown, school closings, vaccinations – she wants to have examined 43 aspects of Corona policy and, above all, the restrictive measures. But according to SPD parliamentary group leader Tobias Eckert, a lot of this goes “well beyond the federal state of Hesse,” which is not allowed.

Expert from “Case number XY” known

CDU parliamentary group leader Ines Claus also says that this is not the scope of the examination for the state parliament about the AfD template. The report that the coalition had quickly drawn up on the AfD application, which has been available since April 30th, has 16 pages.

It comes from the lawyer Butz Peters, who specializes in the rights of committees of inquiry. The man has become known as an author, among other things, with publications about the terror of the Red Army Faction (RAF). For several years he was also the presenter of the ZDF program “Aktenzeichen XY unsolved”.

Replacement for failed Bundestag plans?

According to the CDU and SPD, Butz came to the conclusion that the AfD was violating further legal conditions for investigative committees. In her application, she already anticipates assessments, for example in connection with the condition of the clinics when the pandemic broke out. In other points the application is too vague.

CDU parliamentary group leader Claus suspects that given the enormous scope of the commission for the committee in Hesse, the AfD wants to make up for what failed in the Bundestag. The AfD was unable to set up an investigative committee there due to a lack of votes.

Collaboration without collaboration

In Hesse, however, it became the second strongest force in the state elections last October and announced the establishment of a Corona committee as its first measure.

With originally 28 mandates, the party initially secured the necessary 20 percent of the total 133 state parliament seats. But then MP Dirk Gaw left the AfD at the beginning of this year. Another MP, Sascha Herr, had previously done this and was not even accepted into the parliamentary group because of neo-Nazi contacts. Now the AfD only has 19.55 percent.

However, the missing signature for the application was provided by a gentleman with whom the AfD officially does not want to work. The opposition Greens, for example, call the AfD proposal for the Corona Committee a “document of shame”. According to their own statements, the black-red coalition has already negotiated further joint action with them and the FDP on Wednesday.

Coalition: Don’t want to build walls

“We have no interest in stonewalling. But we want a clean process,” says Ingo Schon, parliamentary director of the CDU. His parliamentary group and the SPD have the idea that the state parliament will not immediately decide on the AfD initiative as planned. He should be relegated to the main committee of parliament.

Then, on behalf of Parliament, independent and more detailed reports from three different constitutional lawyers will show whether the expert Butz, interviewed by the CDU and SPD, is correct in his assessment.

The procedure makes it clear that it is not easy to weigh up the minority right to set up the investigative committee and constitutionality, say the Union and the SPD. We therefore contacted the AfD on Wednesday and informed them.

What the law says

It is urgent. “If the appointment of a fifth of the legal number of members of the state parliament is requested, the state parliament must decide on it immediately,” says the Hessian Investigative Committee Act. This prevents government majorities from blocking investigations that could make them uncomfortable.

However, the law also states: “If the state parliament considers an application for establishment to be partially unconstitutional, the committee of inquiry must be set up with the proviso that its investigations are to be limited to those parts of the subject matter of the investigation that the state parliament does not consider to be unconstitutional.”

In the coalition’s opinion, however, the proposal is riddled with an unconstitutional approach. The most questionable parts with reference to non-Hessian institutions such as the Prime Minister’s Conference or RKI are preceded in a passage to which all individual questions relate.

AfD is not thinking about backing down

If the desired reports confirm the coalition’s opinion, it will reject the AfD application. This would then have to call off the matter, make improvements or take legal action before the state court.

The latter is most likely, as an initial reaction shows. The AfD will stick to its proposal, the group says. The company has had its own initiative legally examined and is assuming that it is “legally compliant,” says a spokesman.

It is remarkable that the CDU and SPD informed the AfD of their concerns one day before the decisive parliamentary vote. The AfD expresses the suspicion that completely different motives are involved: “We have the impression that this maneuver is intended to pull the committee’s teeth,” says the parliamentary group spokesman.

New territory in Hesse

The government coalition, on the other hand, emphasizes that they have no other choice. “The state parliament cannot pass a motion that is unconstitutional,” says SPD parliamentary group leader Eckert.

What will happen next and what the outcome will be is uncertain. There has never been a case like this or the approach proposed by Black and Red in Hesse.

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