Clear crack in the much-vaunted firewall: The Dresden city council has approved an AfD application to introduce a payment card for asylum seekers – also with votes from the CDU parliamentary group.

This emerges from a recording of the city council meeting. The decision was narrow with 33 votes to 32. The FDP and Free Voters factions also supported the motion. Before the vote, Thomas Lehmann from the CDU parliamentary group said that his group supported the motion because he feared that the introduction of a planned nationwide payment card could take a long time.

That’s what the CDU parliamentary group in the city council says

When asked, CDU parliamentary group leader Heike Ahnert once again explained the genesis of the case. “The CDU parliamentary group tried to bring its own motion from November last year to the vote yesterday. There was no majority for this in the city council,” she said German press agency.

So only the current hours remained with the AfD’s proposal, to which the CDU parliamentary group had to respond. “Yes, it would have been better if we could have discussed our proposal in the city council instead of agreeing to the AfD proposal. It would have been better if there had been a separate proposal from the middle of the city council. This must be the common claim of the parliamentary groups “Be the center for the future. And that’s how we will handle it,” said Ahnert.

Merz wants to investigate the matter

Last year, CDU leader Friedrich Merz made it clear after a debate about the AfD’s “firewall” in local politics: “There will be no cooperation between the CDU and the AfD at the local level either.” Merz announced to “Welt” that he wanted to take a closer look at the situation in the Dresden city council.

“The decision is correct in substance, unacceptable in procedure,” said Merz in Berlin. “That was a mistake. And we will talk to those affected about everything else.”

The AfD parliamentary group’s proposal stipulates that, in a model experiment, a payment card will replace the current cash payments for asylum seekers. The card should then only be able to make payments within Germany, and there should also be further restrictions on use. The Saxon Office for the Protection of the Constitution classifies the state association of the AfD as “certainly right-wing extremist”.

The federal government has a cabinet decision on a payment card for refugees, but it is unclear when the nationwide regulation will be decided in the Bundestag. In some federal states, individual municipalities have already moved ahead and introduced their own payment cards.

Left criticizes CDU

Ahnert recalled that there were unanimous decisions by the Prime Minister’s Conference with the Federal Government on the introduction of the payment card. “What was written down and decided upon is nothing other than this cross-party agreement. Cities and districts are directly responsible for the implementation of this project. That’s why it is also right that a city council discusses this important issue.”

Left-wing parliamentary group leader André Schollbach is displeased and accused the CDU of now “dropping all inhibitions”: “It is clear: the previous assurances that they were clearly distancing themselves from the right-wing extremist AfD were nothing more than lip service. Who in Saxony CDU Voters must expect that their vote will ultimately serve to gain a majority for AfD politics.”