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Germany: Höcke and Voigt have a heated TV duel

Thuringia's AfD leader Björn Höcke and CDU state leader Mario Voigt fought the TV duel that had been discussed for weeks on Thursday - and it got heated.

Erfurt (dts news agency) - Topics included the future of the European Union, the general economic situation and, above all, migration. Höcke's repeated demand that "This EU must die" and a debate about it on social media with Voigt were the original trigger for the TV duel, which the Welt-TV broadcaster broadcast live from its Berlin studio. In the broadcast, Höcke said that bureaucracy and control in the EU had become “unbearable”. Voigt admitted that the European Union is not perfect and that things like the ban on combustion engines would annoy him too, but that stability through the EU was essential.

Höcke accused Voigt of the fact that the CDU itself had included the ban on combustion engines in the European election program - there was the sentence "We want to abolish the ban on combustion engines again". When it came to the topic of migration, Voigt spoke of a situation that “can no longer be accepted”. The fact that Germans don't get a place in some daycare centers because it is reserved for foreigners is not the right approach. The only German AfD district administrator in Thuringia is not doing anything in this regard, and a payment card for asylum seekers has not yet been introduced there.

Höcke accused Voigt of saying that Angela Merkel and the CDU had caused the current migration situation in the first place. With regard to the general shortage of skilled workers, Höcke said that there are three million young people without a vocational qualification and they need to be trained first before skilled workers are brought in from abroad. In addition, there must be incentives to have children again. Höcke's public statement "Everything for Germany", for which he will be on trial in Halle (Saale) next week, also became an issue. According to the former history teacher, he did not know that it was a banned SA slogan.

At the same time, he criticized that freedom of expression in Germany was too restricted. “Please don’t cry here,” Voigt snapped at him. There had been an excited debate about the TV duel for weeks, and on the day it was broadcast, politicians had spoken out and criticized the implementation, especially from the ranks of the SPD and the Greens. Thuringia's CDU state leader Mario Voigt justified his participation.

"This discussion has been avoided for 10 years. It has achieved nothing. Today the AfD stands at 29 percent in Thuringia," wrote Voigt on Twitter/X. There are state elections in Thuringia on September 1st, Voigt and Höcke are each running as top candidates for their parties and both want to become Prime Minister. The CDU-Thuringia is in second place with 20 percent in the last Infratest survey, while incumbent Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow's left is in third place with 16 percent.

The SPD faction sharply criticizes the TV duel with Höcke
Berlin - "Björn Höcke is a fascist, that has to be made clear again and again, he is not a democrat," deputy chairman of the SPD in the Bundestag, Dirk Wiese told the Rheinische Post (Friday edition). "Giving him and his AfD the opportunity to present themselves as a realistic alternative for Thuringia is fatal. The CDU in Thuringia is making Björn Höcke socially acceptable "He is against the interests of Germany, he represents the interests of Russia," said the SPD politician. "I won't watch the duel. Höcke is a right-wing extremist and Nazi and will certainly try to act like a wolf in sheep's clothing tonight," said Wiese. “I can do without the idea.”

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