CDU leader Friedrich Merz has expressed criticism of his party’s cooperation with the Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance (BSW). When asked whether he was prepared to consider a cooperation or coalition with the BSW in order to prevent AfD minister presidents in the east, Merz said on ARD’s “Brennpunkt”: “That is absolutely clear, we have always said that. We do not work with such right-wing and left-wing extremist parties.”

He added that both apply to Ms Wagenknecht: “She is right-wing extremist on some issues, but left-wing extremist on others.” Merz stressed: “We want to win majorities.”

In September, state elections are scheduled in the three eastern German states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia. In the European elections, the AfD was clearly the strongest force in the east. With a view to the state elections, forming a majority could therefore be complicated. Since the Wagenknecht party, founded at the beginning of the year, is particularly popular in eastern Germany, it could become a power factor.

The CDU ruled out coalitions or a similar form of cooperation with the AfD or the Left Party years ago by resolution of the party conference. There is no clear position on the BSW so far. The party achieved 6.2 percent nationwide from a standing start in the European elections.

A month ago, when asked about cooperation with the BSW in the East, Merz said: “We are not conducting coalition debates, not in the party and not in public, but we are fighting for the CDU.” Coalitions are not discussed before the election dates.

At the beginning of May, CDU federal vice-chair Karin Prien had not ruled out a collaboration between her party and the Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance (BSW) after the three East German state elections. Prien, who is also the Minister of Education in Schleswig-Holstein, said at the time: “In the states, we will have to look at which personalities are running for the BSW and what political goals are in the election manifestos. Then we can decide whether there is a basis for cooperation with the BSW locally.”