German Christian Democrat accused of neglecting his constituency for helping persecuted Christians


Central Europe


The CDU politician and prime minister of North-Rhine Westphalia is currently in a wide-open election race for becoming the next Chancellor of Germany. The commotion in his party in the largest city of his state will not help him. photo EPA, Federico Gambarini

The German Christian Democrat Heribert Hirte is being criticised for giving too much attention to persecuted Christians and thus neglecting his Cologne constituency.

The 63-year old Hirte is a German legal scholar and politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He has been serving as a member of the German Bundestag, the federal parliament, from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In May, Hirte was not nominated again as a direct candidate for the Bundestag elections in September. In an internal party vote, he was defeated by the former Vice President of the Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sandra von Möller.

An article in the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS), headlined “The illuminator” on August 22nd, suggested that people around Von Möller, Hirte’s opponent, accused Hirte of “neglected his constituency because he preferred to stand up for persecuted Christians all over the world in the church-related Stephanuskreis of the Bundestag faction”. The Stephanuskreis is an interdenominational association of members of parliament who advocate freedom of religion and help persecuted Christians. Hirte has been chairman of the group since 2014.

In the FAS article, anonymous voices from the environment of the two candidates were quoted, which, according to the newspaper, show “an abyss of personal hostility in the Cologne CDU city council”.

While Hirte’s supporters called for a closer look at the balance sheets of Möller’s company, a company specialised in retail lighting solutions for the presentation of products, and provided the media with material about supporters of the candidate from the Values Union. This union is a faction within the Christian Democratic Union of Germany and the Christian Social Union in Bavaria. It is known for advocating conservative and economically liberal policies.

Meanwhile, Von Möllers supporters tried to portray Hirte as an old white man who couldn’t stand it to have been ousted by a younger woman “and who neglected his constituency”.


Hirte said on Tuesday that the accusations hit him “very hard”. This wrote the internet magazine Katholisch.de. The fact that he was attacked and disavowed by his own party for his commitment to religious freedom left him “speechless”.

The 63-year old viewed his defeat as a conservative decision by parts of the Cologne CDU towards the end of the Merkel era. In addition, Hirte complained that the conservative Values Union ​​was exerting influence on Von Möller.

Hirte emphasised to kathisch.de that the commitment to religious freedom and persecuted Christians was “a power-pulling, fragmented and often ungrateful challenge” that he and his Bundestag office had always mastered with extra work. Neither the Stephanuskreis group nor its members had raised funds for this. “Prof. Hirte bears all costs and expenses voluntarily from his lump sum or privately,” said the MP’s office.



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