FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich announced he would step down as minister president of Thuringia, just one day after he was narrowly elected with the support of the CDU and far-right AfD in a move that shocked the country.
The pro-business leader called his own resignation “inevitable.”
“Nobody forced us. We have evaluated the events of the last 24 hours, reactions from the media and on social media, and also the situation in the state parliament,” Kemmerich said. “The AfD tried to damage democracy with a perfidious trick, we’re trying to avoid that.”
Earlier on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel weighed in from South Africa, where she’s taking part in talks on the economy, renewables and international cooperation.
“It was a bad day for democracy,” Merkel said. “It was a day that broke with the values and beliefs of the CDU.”
Prior to Kemmerich’s announcement on Thursday, FDP federal chairman Christian Lindner had traveled to Erfurt to discuss the situation. The FDP faction is now looking to dissolve Thuringia’s parliament and hold new elections.
Germany’s former Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel along with more than a hundred other politicians, artists and journalists are demanding the release of Julian Assange.
The Wikileaks founder is currently being detained in a maximum-security prison in London and is said to be in poor health. A U.N. official previously reported Assange showed signs of psychological torture.
Assange is wanted in the United States for leaking classified military documents. If extradited and convicted of violating the Espionage Act, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
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