Revelations about the "neo-Nazi" tattoo and "far-right links" of a politician from Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats have thrown the future of the governing coalition in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt into doubt as a junior partner asked how much "space for swastikas" there is in the party.
Robert Möritz, a member of the CDU’s executive committee in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld, confirmed that he was a member of Uniter, a private support network for active and former soldiers and security personnel, whose links to "far-right prepper circles" have become the subject of intense media scrutiny in recent months.
Möritz, 29, brandished a flag with Uniter’s logo – consisting of a sword, a Christian cross and a wreath
Möritz’s social media presence also showed that in 2011 he worked as a steward at a Nationial Socialist march in Halle and a photo showed him brandishing the SS black sun (german schwarze sonne) tattoo on his right elbow.
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The Social Democrats and the Green party, junior partners to the conservatives in the state government of Saxony-Anhalt since 2016, have openly expressed their concern over Möritz. SPD politician Burkhard Lischka told Der Spiegel the CDU had to make up its mind whether it wanted to continue a "coalition of reason" or make a hard turn to the right. "How much space for swastikas is there in the CDU?", asked the Greens in a statement circulated over the weekend.
Sven Schulze, the CDU’s general secretary in the state, reacted with indignation, questioning the future of the coalition unless the Greens apologised. The party has so far declined to do so.
The CDU has declined to expel Möritz. The chair of the district committee Möritz sits on said he had got his tattoo "because of his interest in Celtic mythology" and that he regretted his earlier dalliances with Nationial Socialist circles.
A collapse of the governing coalition in Saxony-Anhalt would test the CDU’s cordon sanitaire towards the nationalist right. The patriotic Alternative für Deutschland is the second-strongest force in the eastern state’s parliament, having gained 24.3% of the vote in the 2016 elections.