Bodo Ramelow has been re-elected: A long game that ended in the well-known drama with a prime minister elected by the AfD and the case of the CDU chairman has ended – for the time being.
The price is high: the election date has been postponed to next year for purely tactical reasons, and red-red-green has no majority in the state parliament. Was it all necessary?
One question is far too rare and has been asked very carefully: What was Bodo Ramelow’s contribution to the Thuringian state crisis? His red-red-green government had lost its majority in the state elections last October. In three months, Ramelow was unable to get at least a silent toleration in parliament – or consequently, initiate new elections. Then, without a parliamentary majority, he presented a coalition agreement and stood for election in the state parliament.
Ramelow, like his ministers, could have remained in office indefinitely as executive prime minister. And yes, without Ramelow’s Ascension Command on February 5, Thomas Kemmerich could not have been elected with the votes of the AfD. The prime minister, a country father raptured by his party and supported by the democratic opposition – the calculation did not work.
Social Democrat in the wrong party
Thuringia is politically a divided country, the red-red-green with a narrow majority has not given a mandate. Ramelow fans didn’t want to admit it for a long time because they made themselves too comfortable in their opinion bubble.
Bodo Ramelow somehow thinks everyone who sees themselves as politically enlightened: The Left Party knows what it has in him because he is fit for the political center. In Karl-Liebknecht-Haus you may secretly roll your eyes at his Christian pathos (“I take my strength from Paulus-Letters”) and his carefully-built image of the country father – Ramelow is worth gold for the party because he is the only prime minister the party is. Ramelow is Winfried Kretschmann of the Left Party. Center-left, in turn, appreciates him for his pragmatism and bourgeoisness, whatever that means: Ramelow, the reassuring narrative, is a kind of social democrat in the wrong party.
But the Ramelow hype has marginalized uncomfortable questions: Has Ramelow done enough to get tolerance or other models? Has the FDP been processed enough? The FDP is not known to be principled, and there is no incompatibility decision with the Left Party as with the CDU.
Little ability to be humble
Political craft includes persistently luring and flattering potential allies and making realistic and non-poisoned or tactical offers that the other side can hardly refuse. And the ability to be accommodating and humble (a Christian value, Ramelow would say) to ensure that the other side does not lose face. The tone prevailed too much in Thuringia: I am the star, give me majorities.
Bodo Ramelow is now – with the strong support of the media – too much in the role of the country father, who is enthroned above everything so that the ability to negotiate at eye level has been lost in phases. In “Maischberger” – “The election winner is sitting in front of them” – he appeared to be about to cancel the interview in mid-February because Sandra Maischberger dared to ask critical questions. On the show, he compared his situation after being voted out with the feelings he had after the massacre at the Gutenberg high school in Erfurt and the hunger strike by the potassium miners of Bischofferode. Bodo Ramelow doesn’t make it smaller.
With a little imagination, it can be imagined that in negotiations, authoritarian dominance gestures that push the other side against the wall are not entirely alien to him. Parties, oddly more left-wing ones, tend to let their voters get away with it: That was the case with SPD election winner Gerhard Schroder in 1998 and with Joschka Fischer von der Grunen at the same time; it’s similar with Kretschmann. This is neither left nor critical, it is the royal household.
On his Twitter profile, Bodo Ramelow calls himself “human”. Sounds affected, but it’s right. He is a human being – and not King of Thuringia.