Potsdam – After three decades, not only people are ready for a new phase. Brandenburg’s state constitution, which came into being after the peaceful revolution and was passed in a referendum on June 14, 1992, should move with the times. Before the start of the plenary session on Wednesday, the Potsdam state parliament held a ceremony to commemorate the birth of the legal text – and then cleared the way for important changes. The fight against anti-Semitism and antiziganism should be anchored as a state goal, the special relationship with neighboring Poland should be strengthened in the text of the constitution. In addition, this should be formulated in a gender-fair manner.

This is provided for in a joint draft law by the government factions of the SPD, CDU and Greens as well as the opposition left, which is to be finally voted on this Thursday. The necessary two-thirds majority seems safer after the second reading on Wednesday – provided that enough representatives of the pro camp appear. 59 of the 88 members of the state parliament would have to agree. The government factions come to 50 MPs. With the ten leftists you would have 60 votes. The Free Voters, with five members, are still keeping a low profile when it comes to their vote. The AfD, the second largest parliamentary group with 23 MPs, rejects the changes.

Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) during the celebration of the anniversary of the Brandenburg Constitution. Photo: dpa

AfD speaks of hypocrisy

Saying that combating anti-Semitism is a state goal is hypocritical, said the parliamentary director of the AfD parliamentary group, Dennis Hohloch, in the debate. With their migration policy after 2015, the governing parties “let the biggest haters of Jews into the country”. Hohloch, who was elected to the AfD federal executive board at the weekend, is mentioned in a Facebook post in the Brandenburg constitutional protection report because of “xenophobic positioning”.

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In addition, the AfD would lose the post of vice president of the state parliament with the constitutional amendment. Because an innovation introduced in 2015, with which the offices of the president and the two deputies are assigned according to faction strengths, is to be abolished.

CDU faction leader relies on Angela Merkel

Interior Minister Michael Stübgen (CDU) campaigned for the planned changes. The fact that 150 anti-Semitic crimes were committed in Brandenburg in 2021 was “a shame for our country,” he said. In addition, the fate of the Sinti and Roma had “been given far too little importance for far too long”. The CDU had a hard time with gender for a long time. “The majority of people do not identify with gender language,” wrote CDU parliamentary group leader Jan Redmann in October in a contribution to the debate in the Potsdamer Latest News.

On Wednesday, Redmann referred to Angela Merkel when he changed his mind. When she was elected head of government in 2005, the Basic Law did not provide for the wording “Federal Chancellor”. From today’s perspective, calling Merkel “Frau Chancellor” seems absurd, said Redmann. If at some point there should be a head of state in Brandenburg, she should also be addressed as Prime Minister. Currently, the text of the constitution provides for only one prime minister.