Jörg Meuthen, the co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), announced in a letter to members that he will not run the party again at the next congress scheduled for December. Meuthen did not give specific reasons for the decision, but many analysts they ruled It was dismissed as a victory for the most extreme party of the AfD, after September 26 elections.
Jörg Meuthen, 60, has been the leader of the AfD since 2015, first alongside Frauk Petri and Alexander Gauland, and then from 2019 with Tino Chrupala. An economist, he has been a member of the European Parliament since 2017, and is considered a proponent of the more moderate current of the AfD. However, in the last elections, party members chose Shrupala and Alice Fidel as candidates for the chancellorship, both of whom are at the head of the party’s parliamentary group and are considered close to more extreme positions. Instead, Meuthen backed the more moderate candidates Joanna Cottar and Joachim Wondrak.
For the AfD, the election ended in a heavy defeat, especially when compared with the results of 2017. On that occasion, the AfD received 12.6% of the preference (nearly 6 million votes), becoming the third most voted party in Germany. But in the last elections, the party won 10.3%, lost more than 1 million votes and was overtaken by the Liberal Democratic Party and the Green Party.
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At a press conference after the vote, Meuthen said the AfD’s disappointing results were a symptom of the need to initiate a moderate turn, and said that during the election campaign, the party had only managed to attract far-right voters. All the most moderate potential right-wing voters.
His view of the results contrasts starkly with that of Shrupala and Wedel, who said after the election instead that the campaign was too moderate.
The AfD has been around since 2012 and has been in the German parliament since 2018. The consensus towards the party has grown in particular since 2015, when Merkel started the immigration policy, and it has been particularly successful in East Germany, the poorest part of the country. .
But in recent years, he has had to face a serious crisis linked to the internal struggles of the party between a more extreme and more moderate wing (but also Unclear management of the coronavirus emergency). Before Meuthen’s decision to leave the party leadership, there were already major disagreements between these two factions, and many representatives of the AfD had left the party in controversy with the more extreme party: for example, Bernd Locke, leader of the AfD since 2013 to 2015 as well as the founder of the party, Frauk Petrie, leader from 2015 to 2017 with Meuthen.
The most extreme faction of the AfD is called Der Flügel (“The Wing”): has about 7,000 affiliates and in 2020 rated By the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) as a “right-wing extremist against the free democratic order” and incompatible with German laws, he was thus placed under the surveillance of Germany’s domestic intelligence services. The head of the faction, who is also the leader of the AfD in the eastern state of Thuringia, is Bjorn Höcke, a politician known for his most controversial positions on the Holocaust: a few years ago he called the Holocaust memorial in Berlin a “monument of shame ».
Muthen has long fought to thwart the advance of members of Der Flugel into the party, and among the main supporters of the AfD in support of the expulsion of Andreas Kallitz, in May 2020: Kalbitz, leader of the AfD in the eastern Brandenburg land. He was accused of failing to inform the party of his former membership in the neo-Nazi youth movement, HDJ, which was banned in March 2019. Kalbitz’s expulsion was highly questioned by more radical members of the party, including Höcke in particular.
Over the past few years There was a lot of talk Also, Höcke himself and all members of Der Flügel could be expelled from the party, but their political influence within the AfD has so far prevented this from happening. Moreover, Chrupalla and Weidel themselves were selected as candidates in the election above all thanks to the support of more radical members, including Höcke, whom Weidel has said in the past expelled.
The importance of the more extreme wing and the eastern states for the AfD is made more clear by observing the results of the recent elections, where the party, despite a general decline in consensus, was for the first time the most voted in Thuringia, and confirmed that it was the most voted in the state Saxony, where he won already in 2017.
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