Petition against Dual Citizenship (January 16, 1999)
In the winter of 1998/99, the CDU/CSU led a petition drive against the reform of the citizenship law planned by the red-green government coalition. Under the slogan “Yes to integration – No to dual citizenship,” citizens were urged to speak out on behalf of greater efforts toward integration and against dual citizenship. Various political candidates exploited the debate surrounding dual citizenship, especially Hessian CDU-chairman Roland Koch, who employed it to great political advantage in the 1999 Hessian state parliamentary elections. This photo shows Koch collecting signatures in downtown Wiesbaden in January 1999. Representatives of other parties, spokespersons of various organizations, and even members of Koch’s own ranks sharply criticized the campaign and accused the CDU of stirring up xenophobia with their polemics. In the end, the CDU won the elections in Hesse, and Koch became the state’s new minister president. This shift was attended by the loss of the red-green majority in the Bundesrat [the upper house of the federal parliament], which in turn meant that lengthy negotiations were eventually required to pass even a watered-down version of the citizenship law originally envisaged by the red-green coalition. Photo: Stephanie Pilick.
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