He was Germany’s top constitutional protection officer, and now Hans-Georg Maaßen wants to found his own, very conservative party to the right of the CDU – without a “firewall”. The union of values paved the way for the political experiment.
Ex-President for the Protection of the Constitution Hans-Georg Maaßen seems satisfied: “Together we will turn the country back on its feet. Thank you!” he wrote on X after getting into the car in Erfurt on Saturday. Previously, a general meeting of the very conservative Union of Values had given him a free hand for his project to found a party to the right of the CDU – with 95 percent, as Maaßen wrote. The public was not allowed at the meeting of the association, which had previously been close to the CDU/CSU. Journalists and camera teams waited on the street – until Maaßen drove away without comment.
No firewall to other parties
In contrast to the CDU, the newly founded party should not be a party with a “firewall” and therefore “ready to talk in all political directions”, the Values Union announced after its members had agreed to the transfer of the naming rights “WerteUnion” to the planned party foundation. The AfD, which is classified as proven right-wing extremist by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, is apparently not excluded. The aim is for the new party to run in the state elections in the fall.
Maaßen spoke of breaking away from the CDU/CSU values union – it is not a division of the Union parties. “It has been opposed by the party establishment since its founding in 2017,” he explained. The 61-year-old has been in constant conflict with the CDU leadership for a long time – they accuse him, among other things, of using “language from the milieu of anti-Semites and conspiracy ideologists, including ethnic expressions” – a party expulsion process has been ongoing since 2023, according to the lawyers and former top officials.
Second new party founded this year
A Maaßen party would be the second prominent new foundation in 2024. At the beginning of the year, the Sahra Wagenknecht alliance of the former left-wing politician had already been founded as a party. Both formations also aim to steal votes from the AfD. Maaßen wants to place his party between the CDU and AfD; he sees a gap there. However, the Free Voters are also still active on the site.
At the beginning of January, Maaßen surprisingly announced the founding of the party. In doing so, he attracted nationwide attention – now the CDU seems almost relieved – also with a view to the exclusion process: Anyone who becomes a member of the planned party of the conservative union of values cannot stay in the CDU, a CDU spokesman confirmed on Sunday. The party statutes exclude dual memberships. “CDU members who continue to belong to the so-called Union of Values must leave the CDU or face exclusion proceedings,” said the spokesman. CSU General Secretary Martin Huber made similar comments.
What Maaßen wants
Maaßen, who previously belonged to the Thuringian CDU regional association and who unsuccessfully ran for the Bundestag in southern Thuringia in 2021, is toying with the elections in East Germany. “The party could already run in the upcoming East German state elections and would work with all parties that support this program and that are ready for a change in politics in Germany,” he said at the beginning of January.
The party will be founded as soon as possible so that participation in the state elections should be possible, it said on the Values Union website. In terms of content, Maaßen stands, among other things, for a significantly restrictive refugee policy and the abolition of “toleration” for refugees.
Influx through founding a party
According to the Union of Values, the planned founding of a party has already gained popularity. The number of members is moving from more than 4,000 towards 6,000, said Vice Federal Chairman Hans Pistner to the dpa. After the announcement, there were a peak of around 700 applications in one day. Every application is examined carefully. “We don’t want to be overrun, especially not by extremists,” said Pistner. According to the Union of Values, many of its members belong to one of the Union parties – they say up to 85 percent. It remains to be seen how many measures will follow. “Many people want to change. The CDU doesn’t want us,” said a state chairman.
Maaßen versus Merkel-CDU
Many members would share Maaßen’s view that since the era of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), the Union parties have “been moving further and further away from their roots in terms of content and program.” Citizens expected a change of direction in almost all key policy areas, said Maaßen after the general meeting. However, the association does not want to be pushed into a right-wing corner: it “clearly, unequivocally and in all forms distances itself from ALL political-extremist efforts that are unconstitutional or anti-constitutional in nature!”, she explained. However, individual members are said to have right-wing extremist connections.
The potential of a Maaßen party
The chances of a conservative party between the CDU/CSU, Free Voters and AfD are controversial – some political scientists do not consider them to be very great. The first survey results have been available for a few days: According to a survey, around 15 percent of citizens can imagine voting for her. In a survey conducted by the Insa Institute on behalf of “Junge Freiheit”, five percent answered that they could “definitely” imagine Maaßen voting for a party, while ten percent could rather imagine it. The majority of those surveyed, on the other hand, are skeptical: 62 percent said they “not at all” or “not at all” could imagine it.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.