He evaluated and weighed all the facts, Söder said on Sunday morning in his statement, in which no questions were allowed. There are serious allegations, but no proof that Aiwanger wrote the controversial document. There is also a statement from Aiwanger that it was not him. Aiwanger also confirmed this in a long personal conversation with Söder. Since then, there has been nothing comparable in Aiwanger; it all happened at least 35 years ago, Söder said. “None of us today are the same as we were when we were 16.”
In any case, a dismissal is not proportionate, but “sponging the bullet” and simply moving on is also the wrong approach. Many feelings were hurt and credibility was also damaged. Anyway, he, Söder, has some “serious and well-intentioned” advice: showing remorse and humility is now important. It’s not important what you say at 16, but what you actually do at 52.
APA/EPA/Lukas Barth-Tuttas Markus Söder wants to continue the coalition with Hubert Aiwanger
Aiwanger also apologized and distanced himself – albeit a little late, Söder criticized his management of the crisis. Aiwanger should have clarified the allegations earlier, more decisively and comprehensively, Söder said. The apology came “late”, but “not too late” and was right and necessary.
Söder: “Definitely” no black and green in Bavaria
The matter was also discussed intensively in the coalition committee; there was a common opinion that Aiwanger needed to regain trust, including within the community and the Jewish community. He, Söder, discussed this with, among others, Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria. He regrets everything, but the matter is now over for him. Bavaria will vote on October 8th.
Söder finally said that it was clear to him that not everyone would like his decision, but that the bourgeois coalition could continue in Bavaria – there would “definitely” not be a green-black coalition in Bavaria. Politics must focus on the essentials, not on one person, but on the concerns of the population. But it is also clear that this “unpleasant week” has harmed the State and put pressure on the coalition. As Prime Minister, he tried, to the best of his knowledge and belief, to limit or avoid damage and ensure a stable government.
APA/dpa/Sven Hoppe No questions were allowed on Söder’s statement
FDP wants to see catalog of questions and answers
Aiwanger recently had to respond in writing to Söder’s extensive list of questions about the allegations. New accusations were made against the leader of the Free Voters for a week. On Saturday a week ago, he initially denied in writing that he had written an anti-Semitic pamphlet when he was at school, which was first reported by the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. At the same time, he admitted that “one or a few copies” were found in his school backpack. Shortly afterwards, Aiwanger’s older brother declared that he had written the pamphlet.
The Bavarian SPD offered the CSU that the state parliamentary group will tolerate a minority government until the state elections – if Prime Minister Söder dismisses his deputy Aiwanger and breaks the coalition with the Free Voters. The CSU always stated that it wanted to continue the coalition with the Free Voters after the election. Until recently, all the research left almost no doubt that this was possible. The opposition FDP called for the catalog of questions and answers to be published.
Apologize with a “but”
On Thursday, in an appearance that lasted just a few seconds, Aiwanger apologized for the first time for possible mistakes in his youth, but again spoke of a political campaign against him and his party. Söder described this apology as overdue. On Friday, Aiwanger also defended himself in an appearance at a folk festival in Lower Bavaria and spoke of a smear campaign that had been planned well in advance.
Portal/Louisa Off Aiwanger’s apology lasted just a few seconds on Thursday
“Yeah, I fucked up when I was younger too. Yes, I did something wrong too.” But he doesn’t think it’s right to confront someone later in life with things that happened 35 or 40 years ago, “to the point where their professional existence was destroyed.” There are many things that would no longer be done later.
Aiwanger sees no reason to resign
In an interview with “Bild am Sonntag”, Aiwanger stated that he saw no reason to give up his position in Bavaria: “If this witch hunt does not stop and is successful, no one will enter politics or other leadership positions outside of afraid that his past will be scrutinized for every bad joke.” He doesn’t know what assessment Söder reached, “but based on my answers I see no reason whatsoever for a resignation or dismissal,” Aiwanger said.
Last weekend, shortly after the anti-Semitic leaflet became known in a report in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, Aiwanger had already denied in writing that he had written it while he was at school. At the same time, he admitted that “one or a few copies” were found in his school backpack. Shortly afterwards, Aiwanger’s older brother said he had written the pamphlet.
Criticism of the way Aiwanger handled the case
Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews, criticized Aiwanger for his handling of the case. It is problematic that “at the same time as this apology, the theme that he sees everything as a campaign against himself arises again.”
He also criticizes Aiwanger’s statements to Die Welt that, in his opinion, the Shoah, the genocide of European Jews during the Nazi era, was being misused for partisan political purposes. For Schuster, this attempts to “turn victims into perpetrators.”
Aiwanger, however, receives support from former SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel. “Why should young neo-Nazis abandon the right-wing extremist scene when they experience, using the example of Hubert Aiwanger, that even 35 years later they are still being publicly marked by the madness of their own youth?” asked Gabriel on Twitter (X).