Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) and his deputy Hubert Aiwanger (Free Voters) used a rally of around 13,000 people against the planned heating law to launch violent attacks on the federal government. Both received a lot of criticism for their participation in the demonstration on Saturday in Erding near Munich, which also included AfD sympathizers. The SPD and the Greens accused them of "destructive populism" and voting for votes on the far right, within sight of the state elections on October 8. Aiwanger was reproached for a choice of words à la AfD on Twitter.
The rally was organized by the cabaret artist Monika Gruber. She had previously distanced herself from the AfD and denied the party the right to speak. Nevertheless, the AfD called for people to come to Erding, to a parallel rally right next door. According to various posters, climate change deniers, lateral thinkers and opponents of vaccination were also represented in Erding. On other signs, the Greens in particular were denigrated, some of them very violently.
At the beginning, however, Söder was booed himself, apparently by AfD sympathizers, among others, from whom he was the only speaker who sharply differentiated himself and was whistled at in turn. "The middle-class has nothing to do with the AfD, has nothing to do with anti-democrats," he said. Gruber had to ask for respect for Söder several times. You say yes to climate protection, "but no to this heating law," said Söder. When replacing the heating system, significantly longer periods are needed, he demanded, and all pensioners should be exempted from the obligation.
The CSU leader also rejected alleged "compulsive veganization" and "compulsive gendering": "The Greens have the philosophy of banning and re-educating. And we don't want our country to be re-educated by a few green officials all day long." In his speech, Aiwanger launched into a verbal all-round blow. "Now the point has been reached where the silent large majority of this country must finally take back democracy and say to those in Berlin: You've got your ass open up there," he exclaimed.
The CDU politician Ruprecht Polenz then criticized on Twitter: "Aiwanger from the Free Voters talks like the AfD." CDU member of the Bundestag Matthias Hauer wrote on Twitter: "Anyone who seriously thinks that a "silent majority" in Germany must "take back democracy" has reached the end of the populist flagpole and is repeating AfD fairy tales."
With the Building Energy Act next year, the Federal Government intends to finally herald the departure from oil and gas heating systems. According to the traffic light bill, from 2024 every newly installed heating system should be operated with 65 percent renewable energy. The FDP is still calling for fundamental improvements.
Greens and SPD sharply criticized the rally. "Today, Erding shows in a nutshell why the strategy of talking to the right wing does not work," wrote the Green Party leader Ricarda Lang on Twitter. "When middle-class people use the right-wing culture war, they lose. And the original wins." Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) wrote that Söder was "the key witness of the ignorant, who then mocked him and voted for the AfD".
The political scientist Ursula Münch told the dpa that "playing with the fire of populism" could not be won by serious politicians or organizers. There is nothing for Democrats to gain from such events - they should keep their hands off it.