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Germany: Former spy boss founds new right-wing party

February 17, 2024

Hans-Georg Maassen on Saturday officially founded a new party based on a CDU splinter group. He says the Werteunion, or Values Union, intends to position itself between the center-right CDU/CSU and the far-right AfD.

Hans-Georg Maaßen (center) seen with bodyguards before boarding a river boat on the Rhine to sign papers formally founding the new, right-wing Werteunion party
Hans-Georg Maassen (center) founded the new Werteunion party along with supporters on SaturdayImage: Marc John/IMAGO

Hans-Georg Maassen, the controversial former head of Germany's BfV domestic intelligence service, founded Germany's latest political party on Saturday in Remagen, near Bonn.

Accompanied by a small entourage, Maassen signed the founding papers on a river boat on the Rhine, sharing an image and writing "Done!" online around lunchtime.

Maassen, who faced expulsion from the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) late last year, beat his former party to the point by cancelling his CDU membership and going on to found the Werteunion, or "Values Union."

Maassen has described the new party, which began as a group within the CDU, as "conservative-liberal."

Former spy boss now under surveillance from his old agency

A longstanding member of the CDU, the 61-year-old served as director of Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution between 2012 and 2018, when he was removed from his post by then-Interior Secretary Horst Seehofer for what were considered far-right statements.

Maassen recently announced that he was now under observation by his former agency for his potentially right-wing extremist leanings

On Saturday, Maassen announced his desire to become party chairman.

Maassen claims the Werteunion will fill a gap between the center-right CDU, which he claims has become too "left-Green," and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Though many platform points overlap with the AfD, Maassen claims the Werteunion will stand for freedom, rule of law, democracy and tolerance, but also for getting government out of peoples' lives. 

Recently, the Werteunion made headlines when it was documented that at least two people with ties to the party had attended a controversial Potsdam meeting in which far-right extremists and right-wing German politicians discussed, among other things, the mass deportation of migrants.

Werteunion candidates for state elections this year, but not European Paliament

Werteunion candidates will compete in upcoming German elections in the states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia this September, though Maassen said the party will not post candidates for this summer's European elections in June.

The Werteunion is the second political party to be founded in Germany this year, following the "left-wing conservative" Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance (BSW), which splintered off from the Left Party.

js/msh (AFP, dpa)