The former head of Germany's domestic intelligence service who lost his job after appearing to downplay violence against migrants has announced his intention to resign from the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.
Hans-Georg Maaßen, a long-time CDU politician, announced his plans on Thursday in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
Earlier this week, Maaßen and other politicians had set the course for the foundation of a new German political party, the WerteUnion (Values Union), with Maaßen as party leader.
"When a horse is dead, you have to unsaddle it - and the CDU is not only heart-dead, but now also brain-dead," he told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper.
The arch-conservative WerteUnion said that Maaßen has been given the mandate to "initiate the foundation of a conservative-liberal party under this name."
A Maaßen party would be the second prominent new party in Germany to be founded in 2024.
The former Left Party politician's Sahra Wagenknecht alliance was founded as a party at the beginning of the year.
WerteUnion said it will establish itself as a party in order to participate in the state elections in Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg in September.
The conservative CDU has been conducting expulsion proceedings against Maaßen, a party member, since last year.
Maaßen has long been at loggerheads with the CDU leadership as they have accused him of using "language from the milieu of anti-Semites and conspiracy ideologues through to nationalist expressions."
"CDU members who continue to belong to the so-called WerteUnion must leave the CDU or face expulsion proceedings," a CDU spokesman said.
The former top spy was forced from his intelligence post in 2018 after he downplayed apparent right-wing violence in the eastern city of Chemnitz.