The Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder has made a decision regarding Hubert Aiwanger. Despite the leaflet affair, the head of the Free Voters can keep his position as Deputy Prime Minister and Economics Minister of Bavaria.

You can read how the German press landscape comments on the decision of the CSU leader in our press review:

The “world” writes: “Söder downplayed the matter as ‘unfortunate crisis management’. This decision is not appropriate. But pure election tactics.” Leaving Aiwanger in office was the right decision for him and his party. “Whether it is appropriate after the past few days remains another question.”

A leaflet that mocks the victims of the Shoah in an unprecedentedly disgusting way is not “a mess I made when I was young”. Carrying it around in your satchel is no stupid coincidence. “Just as little as the observations of classmates that Aiwanger showed the Hitler salute, was enthusiastic about the Wehrmacht, made jokes about Jews in a memorial.”

It goes on to say: “Hubert Aiwanger does not have to go just because Markus Söder apparently did not manage to agree with the free voters that the coalition can continue without Aiwanger. And because there will soon be elections in the Free State.

But Hubert Aiwanger should have been gone, not because he behaved as a young person, as he possibly did, but because as an adult he is not able to deal with the most serious allegations in a way that is appropriate for the office, that he exercises.

The debate about the past, about the culture of remembrance, must not end, it urgently needs to continue, especially in times of anti-Semitic threat. Ideally with due dignity.”

“The most important question remains: What is Aiwanger actually apologizing for?”

Die Image comments: “The most important question remains: What is Aiwanger actually apologizing for?” “I also made mistakes as a teenager, which I regret today. I regret hurting feelings through my behavior when I was young.”

However, one does not ask for an apology for the hurt feelings of others, but for one’s actions. Hubert Aiwanger continues to remain silent about his actions.

“To be clear: That’s no excuse! It’s an attempt to sweep the affair under the rug,” according to the “Bild”.

It goes on to say: “The adult Aiwanger should at least say what mistakes he made, for which he now asks for forgiveness.”

It is bitter that Aiwanger does not do that. It is just as bitter that Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (56, CSU) does not demand that from him either.

It remains to measure Aiwanger by whether he actually shows remorse, as Söder announced.

The “Kölnische Rundschau” wrote: The whole situation, characterized by miserable crisis management, would have called for determination. “But not a trace of that.”

“The ‘deliberation process’ that Söder spoke about was probably primarily about his own fate. What could ruin the election result for him more: Aiwanger’s dismissal or sticking with him? In the end, a break with the coalition partner would have been the greater risk. However, this decision has dangerous side effects. Because, as Söder himself says, not all of Aiwanger’s answers to the catalog of questions are really satisfactory.

Söder’s decision is a decision with risks and side effects

The Augsburger Allgemeine commented: Söder’s decision is a decision with risks and side effects. “The case is not settled. On the contrary.” Aiwanger’s non-answers are no more than a farce. “Because in the end it should have been about a single question that was not even listed in the catalogue: What does the Hubert Aiwanger case mean for Markus Söder?”

It goes on to say: “It is to be hoped that Aiwanger himself will go into himself again. That he asks himself whether he really wants to be the one who willfully shifts a boundary within society. The Holocaust has held a special, even a unique, place in this nation’s historical memory for good reason. If this civil accord gets derailed, it doesn’t bode well for our country.”

The “WirtschaftsWoche” says: Söder is tied to the free voters for better or for worse. It was clear that Aiwnger would keep his post, “even before Bavaria’s CSU Prime Minister Markus Söder went public on Sunday morning to announce the decision he had been waiting for days.”

Söder chained himself and his CSU too much to the free voters. “A majority in the Bavarian state parliament other than one with the free voters no longer seems conceivable since Söder and the CSU identified the Greens as the main opponent and the traffic light coalition in Berlin as a left-green threat to the well-being of German citizens,” said the “WirtschaftsWoche”.

Söder’s decision has less to do with fairness and more to do with calculation

t-online writes: Söder’s decision has less to do with fairness and more to do with calculation. “And in this case, fair means that the deputy head of government is allowed to stay. And: The CSU is keeping itself open to forming a coalition with the Free Voters again after the Bavarian election.”

“Of course, Söder’s decision has tactical reasons. On the one hand, the CSU leader has to think about his options for power after the state elections. An absolute majority of the CSU is highly unlikely at this point. The Greens have been excluding the Christian Socialists as a possible coalition partner for months. […] The free voters remain. And they are sticking to their party leader Aiwanger.”

In addition, Aiwanger has been portraying himself as the victim of a “smear campaign” for days. “With a dismissal, the prime minister would probably have run the risk of agreeing with the narrative and driving voters into Aiwanger’s arms.”

“Means: Söder’s decision has less to do with fairness and more with calculation,” says “t-online”.

The “General-Anzeiger Bonn” says: Behind Söder’s decision to leave Hubert Aiwanger in office, there is also the consideration of what the lesser evil is for him and the CSU. “All in all, the Bavarian Prime Minister has acted wisely so far.”

Every new allegation against Aiwanger is now also a problem for Söder

“ZDF Today” commented: “Bavaria’s Prime Minister has not opted for an end with horror, but for an endless horror: Hubert Aiwanger should stay.” It was a tactical decision to stay in power. The coalition was saved for the time being, but Söder chained his fate to Aiwanger’s credibility. “A risky move.”

With the decision to stick with Hubert Aiwanger as Vice Prime Minister, Söder is risking the continuation of the Aiwanger cause.

It goes on to say: “The answers are not all satisfactory, says Söder himself – there was a lot that was known and little that was new. It is a decision to stay in power with the free voters and against the self-demanded unequivocal clarification. Any doubt that remains about Hubert Aiwangers is now also attached to Markus Söder, who declared the matter closed today. Every new allegation against Aiwanger is now also a problem for Söder.

Die „FAZ“ meint: “But Söder will not sleep well.” Söder had to agree that, based on the allegations and what had been proven, it would have been disproportionate to dismiss Aiwanger from the state office.

“The dismissal of Aiwanger, for which Söder would have needed (and of course received) the help of the left-wing opposition in the state parliament, would probably have cost the CSU votes in the election and the free voters, who are already benefiting more from the affair than under it suffer, presumably brought even more growth. Söder could hardly have counted on a reward from the SPD and Green voters.”


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