Stephan Brandner (born May 29, 1966 in Herten ) is a German lawyer and politician of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and since December 2019 one of three deputy national spokesmen for his party. He has been a member of the German Bundestag since 2017 and was Chairman of the Legal Committee of the Bundestag from January 31, 2018 until he was voted out on November 13, 2019 because of alleged previous abuse and anti-Semitic abuses . The process of voting out is unique in the more than 70-year history of the Bundestag. Stephan Brandner was also the top candidate of AfD Thuringia for the 2017 federal election . Before that he was a member of the Thuringian state parliament from 2014 to 2017 . He was assigned to the völkisch-nationalist " wing ".
Brandner passed his Abitur in 1987 at the municipal high school in Herten , then completed an apprenticeship as an industrial clerk until 1990 and then studied law at the University of Regensburg until 1994 . From 1994 to 1996 he completed his legal clerkship in Memmingen , Kempten and Munich . He has been working as a lawyer since 1997 , first in Munich, then in Gera .
Brandner is a longstanding member of the German Language Association . Before 1990 he was committed to the International Society for Human Rights . For almost 30 years he was a member of the Catholic student association KStV Agilolfia Regensburg in the cartel association of Catholic German student associations and was excluded from this in January 2020. According to the Agilolfia, this is the first exclusion of a member in the history of the corporation.
Brandner is married and has a multiple father. He lives in Gera.
As a teenager, Brandner became a member of the Junge Union (JU), and later the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU). During his studies and further training in Bavaria (Regensburg, Memmingen, Munich) he was a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), and after moving to Thuringia in 1997, he was back in the CDU. He later resigned from the CDU. Brandner has been a member of Alternative für Deutschland since November 2013. Since then he has been chairman of the AfD district association Gera-Jena-Saale-Holzland-Kreis together with Michael Kaufmann. In the municipal elections in Thuringia in 2014 , he ran on the list of Gera citizenship for a mandate in the Gera city council.
In the state elections in Thuringia in 2014 , Brandner entered the Thuringian state parliament via the state list of the AfD Thuringia . There he became chairman of the Committee on Migration, Justice and Consumer Protection.
After Brandner missed the necessary two-thirds majority in a first election in spring 2015, he was finally elected to the Thuringian judges' committee on November 4, 2015 by the state parliament . Since all political groups have to be represented in the committee, the committee was only able to function after its election.
In February 2017, Brandner was elected to first place in their state list for the 2017 federal election at the AfD Thuringia party congress with 201 of 220 delegate votes cast. The state chairman Björn Höcke had renounced the candidacy in advance and recommended Brandner for election. The AfD became the second strongest force in Thuringia, so that Brandner entered the Bundestag as one of five candidates on his party's state list. Klaus Rietschel was appointed successor in the Thuringian state parliament .
In the local elections in Thuringia in 2019 , Brandner moved into the city council of Gera.
On January 31, 2018, Brandner was elected chairman of the legal committee of the German Bundestag. The election had become necessary because several committee members had appealed against Brandner. Normally the nominees are chosen as chairperson without being elected. Brandner is also a full member of the Bundestag's mediation committee , the council of elders and the legal and consumer protection committee . He is also represented as a deputy member of the election committee , as well as the committee for election review, immunity and rules of procedure .
In an interview almost a year after the 19th German Bundestag met , Brandner highlighted the most important legislative initiatives in which he was significantly involved: “We want to protect diesel drivers, abolish the ' Soli ', lower taxes, abolish the Network Enforcement Act, German as Establish the national language , expand the age assessment of allegedly underage refugees and prevent knife crimes. ”The AfD was unable to enforce any of these contents from the opposition.
In addition to the demand for German as the national language, Brandner drafted another motion to amend the Basic Law. forfeiture rule according to . Specifically, Brandner had Muslim "hate preachers" in mind. The legal scholar Helmut Aust , on the other hand, referred to legal restrictions on religious freedom that are already possible. Since there have been only four, all unsuccessful, proceedings before the Federal Constitutional Court since 1949, for good reasons , the motion is "superfluous symbolic politics". However, Brandner saw the possibility that, in addition to the subsequent criminal prosecution of calls for violence, a future-oriented ban on preaching could be imposed on individuals.para. 2 ("The undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed") should be included in the
The application to abolish same-sex marriage introduced in June 2017 was rejected by the Bundestag . This violates GG , the protection of marriage and family . In her counter-speech, the SPD MP Barbara Hendricks emphasized the change in the concept of marriage and the acceptance of homosexuality, which was hardly imaginable at the time the Basic Law was passed .
Role within the party
Brandner is considered a confidante of the Thuringian AfD state chairman and the most influential protagonist of the party's national wing, Björn Höcke. Because Höcke was not running for a Bundestag mandate, the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung wrote that Brandner “could thus become a kind of Berlin representative for Höcke and the nationalist wing”.
With this extreme political positioning, Brandner was elected on November 30, 2019 by the AfD federal party conference in Braunschweig as one of three deputy federal spokesmen for his party. He prevailed against the more moderate candidates Uwe Junge and Albrecht Glaser .
During state parliament speeches and rallies, Brandner attracted attention several times by insulting political opponents. In the three years of his membership in the state parliament, Brandner received 32 calls to order, which he meticulously listed on his personal website. In the previous legislative period, a total of 42 calls to order were issued in the Thuringian state parliament within four years against all 88 members. On May 19, 2016, Brandner was excluded from a state parliament session after several verbal attacks against the parties Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen (“Climate protection, child molesters and coke noses”) and the CDU, and on June 1, 2017 he was expelled from the hall again. In his farewell speech from the state parliament he spoke of himself as the “mob from the state parliament”.
At a performance in Jena on September 12, 2017, he described the counter-demonstrators present as “the result of sodomy and inbreeding ” and also compared them with the SA . Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas he called a “result of political inbreeding in Saarland” and his partner Natalia Wörner a “State radio and GEZ chick”. At the same appearance he also wanted to send Angela Merkel , whom he called a “thumb”, “to jail” for at least 35 years. Brandner told MP Madeleine Henfling in the state parliament: "The next time I see you, I'll pull my pants down". During an election campaign appearance in Erfurt, he said of Merkel: “Accusations. Snap. So. "In a speech on September 20, 2017 in Erfurt, Brandner said on family reunification for refugees that Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière , in his estimate of a small number of applications to be expected, was probably based on" the notorious Syrian nuclear family ":" Father, mother and two Goats ". In November 2018, in a speech in the Bundestag, Brandner accused the Federal Minister of Justice Katarina Barley of having met a "dodgy, dubious, internationalist puller", which Brandner used to describe the entrepreneur and philanthropist George Soros , who is subordinated to the right in a conspiracy-theoretical manner that he is directing streams of refugees to Europe and wants to build a “ new world order ”. At the end of October 2019, Brandner posted a photo of an Advent calendar from the Kinder company on Twitter , which was labeled “Presents-Lager”, and wrote: “It used to be called #Adventskalender, wasn't it?” Other users have shown that Brandner only had photographed and distributed the back of the cardboard box and the product certainly bore the words "Advent Calendar" on the front. Shortly thereafter, Brandner presented his tweet as a (won) bet as well as a test and made derogatory comments about “do- gooders ”, “ Antifa ” and “Krampf gegenRechts | ler”.
At the end of April 2020, Brandner demanded that public service broadcasting “be obliged to broadcast party information”. Brandner's justification was the ban on major events until August 31, 2020, which, according to Brandner, was not due to the corona virus , but to "silence the AfD". According to Brandner, the party hardly had a say in the broadcasters. The private broadcaster Tele 5 then sent a fictional AfD commercial. In the video, which was supposed to "inform about the AfD as a party [...]", racist quotes from AfD representatives were reproduced. Channel boss Kai Blasberg also announced that he would donate 9999 euros to the refugee organization Pro Asyl for 999 retweets . Within a short time, the video received more than 1200 retweets on Twitter , whereupon the donation was rounded up to 10,000 euros. In May 2020, Brandner said at an AfD event that the corona restrictions would violate, among other things, the right to free expression and the right to demonstrate. He described the group of prime ministers and the chancellor coordinating the action of the federal and state governments in the corona crisis as the “epidemic politburo ”. The federal government indirectly compared Brandner with hostage-takers by relating the positive reactions of people to the Corona measures and the increasing polls for Chancellor Angela Merkel with the Stockholm Syndrome . The Germans would like to thank them for the loosening and reversal of the restrictions, said Brandner, although there was no reason to do so, as it was a matter of course.
Conversation at the Buchenwald Memorial
A conversation on August 8, 2018 at the Buchenwald Memorial with, among others, Volkhard Knigge , the director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau Dora Memorial Foundation , brought no approximation in the assessment of historical revisionism within the AfD. Knigge had previously named as examples:
- Björn Höcke's criticism of a “ guilt cult ”, for which he received approval from wide circles of his party wing.
- Comments by AfD chairman Alexander Gauland in 2018 that "Hitler and the Nazis" are "just a bird shit in over 1000 years of successful German history", as well as on his pride "of the achievements of German soldiers in two world wars".
- The activity of employees of the Thuringian AfD parliamentary group in " right-wing extremist fraternities" and the "close [...] cooperation between members and candidates of the Thuringian AfD with neo-Nazis ".
Brandner announced that he was disappointed with the conversation. He had not received any answers to his questions, "how the foundation works, which receives tax money", why it "agitates" against the AfD or why political opponents such as representatives of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation or Benjamin-Immanuel Hoff , the head of the Thuringian State Chancellery, could give lectures in Buchenwald, but the AfD cannot. He does not want to interpret Mr. Gauland and Mr. Höcke. According to the Foundation, however, Brandner had "clearly and unambiguously" acknowledged Höcke's demand that the culture of remembrance in Germany had to be "turned 180 degrees". In addition, he had “ trivialized ethnic and anti-Semitic statements as brief derailments by a few individuals”. For this reason, "there was no substantive discussion about the work of the foundation."
Immediately before the visit, Brandner had declared: “Buchenwald in particular is a warning to everyone that every dictatorship, be it politically red or brown, produces crimes and criminals.” In the conversation, Knigge saw this as a relativization. Instead, it is important to strive for historical “accuracy and depth of field”.
Advice from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution?
In mid-August 2018, Brandner's conversation with Hans-Georg Maaßen , the head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution , was publicly discussed that had taken place two months earlier. The background was allegations that Maaßen gave the then AfD chairwoman Frauke Petry advice in 2015 on how the AfD could avoid being monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Policy advice of this kind is not permitted. Brandner said, however, that his conversation with Maaßen was about the work of the Bundestag legal committee and the current report on the protection of the constitution. Maassen had not had a conversation with Brandner's predecessor Renate Künast . She noted critically that the responsibility for the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution lies with the Interior Ministry, thus also with the Interior and not the Legal Committee.
On the other hand, Brandner reported from a conversation with the Thuringian constitution protection president Stephan J. Kramer that he had given him “tips” on how to work with external groups. In particular, one should not maintain any contact with the Identitarian Movement . Kramer, on the other hand, made it clear that he had only repeated his public clarification. “Even a party that runs the risk of being infiltrated by extremists has a right to have us tell it where things are going in the wrong direction. We don't do strategic advice. Of course, we also do not communicate what measures we may take. "
In October 2019, the German Lawyers Association (DAV) and the German Association of Women Lawyers (djb) demanded Brandner's resignation as chairman of the legal committee in the Bundestag. The background was Brandner's tweets in connection with the attack on a synagogue in Halle in October 2019, in which he described the publicist and former Vice President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Michel Friedman as a “ German Michel ” (“Every minute of broadcasting this German Michel drives us new followers in droves - keep it up! "), provided with the hashtags #Paolo Pinkel , #Koksnase and #Zwangsfunk . He had also shared a report that read after the attack that politicians were “lounging” in front of synagogues , although “a German who liked to listen to folk music” and “an organic German” had perished in Halle.
On October 31, 2019, Brandner described the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class, which was awarded to the musician Udo Lindenberg at the beginning of the month, in a tweet as " Judas wages ". He referred to a post by Lindenberg on Facebook about the election results of the AfD in Thuringia , in which the AfD had declared that there was no need for “backward-looking racists, agitators and misanthropic arsonists”. Politicians from the SPD, Greens, FDP and CSU then questioned Brandner's suitability as chairman of the legal committee. On behalf of the parliamentary groups of the Union, SPD, FDP, Left and Greens, the CDU member Jan-Marco Luczak asked Brandner to resign voluntarily, as he lacked “decency, respect and dignity” for the office. If he does not withdraw, he will be voted out of office at the next committee meeting.
Deselection as chairman of the legal committee
Brandner was voted out of office by the members of the Legal Affairs Committee on November 13, 2019 as a result of the renewed escalations that all other parties in the Bundestag considered untenable - a previously unique event in the Bundestag. The SPD parliamentary group vice-chairwoman Eva Högl said in November 2019: “Mr. Brandner is neither personally nor politically qualified to chair the Legal Affairs Committee. He has repeatedly demonstrated that. ”The committee members of all other parties adopted this point of view when they were voted out of office. The legal situation of being voted out of office was examined in advance by the Bundestag's committee of rules of procedure. The AfD parliamentary group initially refrained from appointing a new chairman, which it is entitled to under the current rules of the Bundestag. The meetings of the Legal Committee are therefore initially chaired by Deputy Chairman Heribert Hirte (CDU). Against the criticism after Brandner was voted out of office, including Alexander Gauland , who spoke of an "unreasonable demand for democracy", Severin Weiland stated in the Spiegel that "[v] considerable and callous remarks towards political competitors [..] the limit" that a parliament that "respects its dignity" cannot accept. Brandner was the "imposition for democracy". A democratic parliament has to "endure a lot", but it does not have to "put up with everything".
Mask refusal in the corona pandemic
On August 12, 2020, Brandner triggered an operation by the Federal Police because he refused to wear a mask on the ICE Berlin - Rügen , which violated the mask requirement applicable at the time . According to his own statement, he was eating a pastry when the conductor spoke to him. He said to the conductor: “Eating, won't work, then I'll think about it.” The conductor then informed the police and Brandner is said to have locked himself in the toilet. The SPD politician and physician Karl Lauterbach then criticized Brandner on Twitter as a "self-righteous mask refuser who shows where we would have come in the corona crisis if the AfD had co-governed."
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|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German politician (AfD), MdB, MdL|
|DATE OF BIRTH||May 29, 1966|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Herten|