Germany’s Horst Seehofer downplayed mounting pressure on the government following calls for the country’s security chief to resign, saying the far-right Alternative for Germany party posed a greater threat to the country’s stability.
“They’re turning against the state,” the interior minister told German news wire dpa in an interview published Friday, describing the anti-immigrant party as radicalized. “They just got cocky on the wave they’re surfing, and let their masks drop.”
Seehofer said he was “shocked” by the party’s “emotional outbursts” during discussions about the national budget in parliament earlier this week, which also touched on the violence that took place during far-right rallies in the eastern German town of Chemnitz late August. The AfD had called for a discussion of the budget of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, claiming that texts glorifying violence were sung on stage at an anti-racism event in Chemnitz he had promoted.
The AfD’s intervention was a “frontal attack,” according to Seehofer. “You cannot act like this, not even when you’re part of the opposition,” he said, describing the party’s behavior as “highly dangerous for the country.”
Seehofer also dismissed suggestions that the governing coalition between Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democrats was under strain after the SPD called on the country’s security chief to resign.
Hans-Georg Maaßen came under pressure following his claim last week that videos of Chemnitz protesters “hunting down” foreigners could be fake. Calls for his resignation intensified following reports that he allegedly shared confidential government reports with the AfD. Seehofer, too, faced heavy criticism for his defense of Maaßen’s assessment of the Chemnitz violence.
The governing parties held an emergency meeting Thursday evening to discuss Maaßen, but postponed a decision until next week.