After the leaflet affair by Bavarian Deputy Prime Minister Hubert Aiwanger (Free Voters), the CSU and Free Voters prevented Hubert Aiwanger (Free Voters) and Markus Söder (CSU) from being questioned in a special session of the state parliament. The government factions rejected a corresponding request. The state parliament’s rules of procedure do not provide for this.

A motion to dismiss Aiwanger from the Greens and SPD also failed. 19 members of the interim committee voted in favor, 32 against, as the chairman of the committee, Thomas Kreuzer, announced. There were therefore no abstentions. The parties justified the application by saying that the explanations regarding the allegations surrounding an anti-Semitic leaflet from school days were “completely inadequate”. His handling of the affair makes him intolerable for his office, and Aiwanger damages Bavaria’s reputation in the world.

As a 16-year-old high school student, Aiwanger had an anti-Semitic leaflet in his school bag and was sanctioned by his school for it. According to Aiwanger, the leaflet came from his brother. Despite nationwide criticism, Söder continues to refrain from firing his deputy and economics minister.

After the failed request to question Aiwanger, Green parliamentary group leader Ludwig Hartmann asked the Bavarian deputy minister numerous questions. “What do you mean by repentance and humility?” or “How do you want to regain the trust of the Jewish communities?” asked Hartmann. He asked Söder whether he felt comfortable sticking with Aiwanger. There are many unanswered questions about the matter; this is “unworthy of a Bavarian government,” criticized the chairman of the strongest opposition faction.

SPD parliamentary group leader Florian von Brunn also called Aiwanger’s behavior in the affair unworthy. Von Brunn also referred to Aiwanger’s controversial appearance at a demonstration against the federal government’s heating law in Erding. Aiwanger showed clear signs of right-wing populism there. “In doing so, you are preparing the ground for those who threaten democracy.”

FDP parliamentary group leader Martin Hagen said he did not consider Aiwanger to be an anti-Semite. However, Hagen criticized the fact that the Free Voters leader had portrayed himself as the victim of a media campaign.

The parliamentary managing director of the CSU state parliamentary group, Tobias Reiß, also criticized the leaflet and Aiwanger’s handling of it. “You don’t just have to be open, courageous and direct in the beer tent,” said Reiß. The CSU and especially Söder are “the firewall against anti-Semitism and against the right”. “This fire wall doesn’t have a crack either.”

Florian Streibl, parliamentary group leader of the Free Voters, said that his group distanced itself “as much as possible” from the content of the leaflet. The discussion must only be about the question of whether Aiwanger is an anti-Semite. “The answer to this question is clearly: No, he is not.”

Representatives of the AfD criticized the fact that the state government’s political failings were not discussed in the Bavarian state election campaign because of the leaflet affair. Bavaria will elect a new state parliament on October 8th.

The AfD parliamentary group leader, Ulrich Singer, also defended Aiwanger: “What we saw there was political gossip.” The free voter boss was treated by Prime Minister Markus Söder with his catalog of questions “like a schoolboy”. In addition, the incidents were more than 35 years ago and Aiwanger has since apologized, said Singer. The fact that the Greens and SPD did not concede that he could have changed in the meantime was “outrageous”.

The state parliament in Bavaria had actually already finished its work, the next session was supposed to be the constitutive session after the state elections. A quarter of the MPs came together at the request of the opposition in a so-called interim committee. It was only the seventh time since the Federal Republic came into existence that such an interim committee had met.