Alternative for Germany
The Alternative for Germany ( short name : AfD ) is a right-wing populist , largely right-wing extremist political party in Germany. On the common basis of EU skepticism and nationalism, there are various, sometimes contradicting, intra-party associations , informal party wings and individual opinions in the AfD . In addition to the national-conservative , economically liberal , value-conservative , Christian fundamentalist and direct democratic forces that remained after the party splits , members have organized within the party who represent authoritarian , nationalist , homophobic , anti-feminist , anti-Semitic and historical revisionist positions. The völkisch-nationalist wing stands out as a reservoir for right-wing extremist forces within the party . Several state associations and other parts of the party maintain links with new right groups, for example the right-wing extremist Identitarian Movement and the Islamophobic organization Pegida . They have been observed by various state offices for the protection of the constitution since 2018. The AfD is the only party represented in the German Bundestag whose environmental and climate policy is based on the denial of man-made global warming .
In 2014, the AfD succeeded in entering a national parliament for the first time in the European elections. As a result, it moved into all German state parliaments and, after the 2017 federal elections, into the 19th German Bundestag with 12.6% of the votes . It is the third strongest force there and has been the largest opposition faction since the formation of the grand coalition .
At its founding party conference on April 14, 2013, the AfD decided on an initial election program, followed in 2014 by political guidelines, and later strategy papers and resolutions - including tightening asylum law , euro and foreigner policy , Islamism and gun law .
At the beginning of May 2016, the AfD adopted its basic program at the member party conference in Stuttgart, based on a draft that had been developed in working groups with the participation of around 1000 members. At a party congress in 2019, it should be expanded, among other things, socio-politically . Due to significant differences of opinion - especially on the pension issue - the so-called “Social Party Conference” was postponed to April 2020.
European, financial and economic policy
In its “Political Guidelines” from 2014, the party advocates the policy of the social market economy in the spirit of Ludwig Erhard . In its basic program of 2016, it rejects the EU as a political alliance and only advocates an economic community similar to the EU's predecessor, the EEC . The euro is described as an experiment that should be stopped; The party wants to call a referendum on remaining in the euro zone.
As with the British Brexit, individual representatives are required to leave the European Union for Germany. Officially and by the party leadership, an exit is seen as a last resort in the event that fundamental reforms of the European Union fail to materialize. Due to the “lack of legitimation” of the EU, the AfD is calling for the renationalisation of policy areas. It rejects joint liability for the euro zone. In 2015, Oskar Niedermayer did not see the AfD as an “anti-EU party”; rather, its criticism of the euro and the politics of the euro crisis was “purely socio-economically justified”. He saw it "embedded in a [...] market-liberal , one could almost say: market-fundamentalist position in the welfare state conflict ." In 2016, Dieter Plehwe recognized a "new right-wing liberal " policy that goes back to the criticism of the Maastricht Treaties . Marcel Lewandowsky emphasized the postulate of a "crisis of one's own national identity and sovereignty" and identified four dichotomies : " Sovereign nation versus European superstate ", "Subsidiarity versus Brussels centralism", "Citizens versus elites" and "German payers - foreign takers" .
The AfD is striving to further reduce Germany's national debt . Liability risks from guarantees, as in the case of the euro and bank rescue measures, should be shown in the financial planning. The tax law should, for example as in the churchyard model will be simplified. The AfD wants to abolish inheritance tax and review trade tax.
Foreign and Defense Policy
Apart from European policy, the AfD's foreign policy program initially remains fragmentary. However, there are a number of resolutions and resolutions, including on the Syrian question . The AfD is committed to NATO , which should serve the defense of the nation.
In its defense policy concept of 2019, the AfD parliamentary group calls for a “restoration of the Bundeswehr” through the reintroduction of conscription , deployments inside and for border protection and concentration on national and alliance defense within NATO. In addition, a German general staff , a separate military jurisdiction and a new understanding of tradition are to be introduced.
Environment and climate policy
The party's positions are based on a fundamental denial of man-made global warming . In its basic program of 2016, it fundamentally rejects climate protection policy. This is based on unsuitable computer models, and there has been no temperature rise since the end of the 1990s ( pause in global warming ). CO 2 is not a pollutant, but "an indispensable part of all life". The Renewable Energy Sources Act , the Renewable Energy Sources Act and the Energy Saving Ordinance are to be abolished without replacement and the service life of German nuclear power plants to be extended. In the EU Parliament , the AfD rejected all proposals on climate protection since the Paris Agreement in 2015 (as of February 2019). According to Alexander Gauland, the criticism of the government's climate protection policy is the third central topic of the AfD, alongside the euro and immigration issues.
The AfD's energy policy developed in the “Federal Committee on Energy Policy” was shaped by members of the lobby organization “ European Institute for Climate & Energy ”, which denies human-made global warming.
The AfD rejects a coal phase-out and a CO 2 tax in 2016 , but advocates continued research in the field of nuclear energy and nuclear reactors. The exit from nuclear energy is to be reversed, and the party advocates further research on fracking . Marine protected areas are to be created and the construction of wind turbines in the open sea is to be stopped. In addition to reducing plastic waste, the party calls for the fight against " invasive species ", since according to the AfD these are a danger to native plants and animals. In addition, the wolf population in Germany is to be subjected to a “sensible regulation”.
Family and Gender Policy
The AfD represents conservative anti-feminist positions in gender policy and rejects gender equality policy and gender mainstreaming . In doing so, it is based, among other things, on Christian fundamentalist and völkisch ideas. The AfD considers demographic issues to be relevant. She advocates the traditional family of men and women and opposes quotas for women as well as the alleged abolition of gender identities . The AfD attracts attention through campaigns such as “Stop the gender madness”, especially on social media . In the Magdeburg Declaration in 2016, the parliamentary parliamentary groups of the party turned against sex education in kindergartens and primary schools and especially against education about sexual diversity. Sections of the life protection movement find points of contact here and exert influence on the party, especially in the southern German state associations.
In its program, the AfD calls for the abolition of gender in several places , in a resolution from 2016 explicitly the abolition of gender-equitable language and "the return to the generic masculine as well as the renunciation of all gender-ideological expressions (artificial gerunds, superfluous male- female double forms, etc.) ".
Labor and social policy
Labor and social policy should be part of the national responsibilities of the member states. The AfD advocates social security for low-wage earners . She has been in favor of maintaining the minimum wage since 2016 . Before the 2014 European elections , the AfD's European program said that a legally stipulated, nationwide minimum wage could not provide this protection and would also endanger jobs. The AfD demanded that the state should provide social support in the form of income subsidies.
Six years after it was founded, the party has not yet developed a uniform pension concept; a pension convention planned for 2019 has been postponed to 2020. There were a total of seven different concepts. The social researcher and mathematician Gerd Bosbach assumes that the party wants to "even sacrifice important parts of the statutory pension in favor of the unsocial private pension".
The pension concept of the Thuringian AfD by Björn Höcke, for example, provides for the contribution assessment limit to be retained for the time being. According to Bosbach, this is unsocial because it means that top earners have to pay a lower proportion of their income than low earners. The employers are the beneficiaries of this concept. In addition, an extension of the working life will be sought both by abolishing the upper limit for retirement and by lowering the working age. Tax-financed surcharges for recipients of small pensions should only be available for German citizens. This concept violates Article 3 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany .
A concept represented by party leader Jörg Meuthen provides for the abolition of the statutory pension, which is to be replaced by a tax-financed basic pension just above the livelihood.
Migration and Asylum Policy
The positions in migration policy are described as an ambivalent mixture of conservative and neoliberal understanding: On the one hand, the importance of the freedom of establishment , but also the free movement of workers in Europe is emphasized; “Qualified” and “ willing to integrate ” immigration based on the Canadian model is answered in the affirmative. On the other hand, one ties in with “ discourses with a racist connotation”. The AfD demand “clear criteria” for immigration ; they reject “immigration into the German social systems ”. Only those who pay social security contributions can also benefit from unemployment and child benefits . However, asylum seekers in Germany should be granted labor rights.
In its first election program, decided at the founding party conference in 2013, the AfD had called for both a more generous asylum policy and a stricter immigration policy. In response to the sharp rise in the number of refugees , the Federal Executive Committee presented a strategy paper on migration and asylum policy at the beginning of September 2015. In it, the party demands the reintroduction of controls at the German borders , a 48-hour asylum procedure near the border and the abolition of so-called "pocket money" for asylum seekers. In addition, people from countries that are classified as safe countries of origin should no longer be allowed to apply for asylum.
In November 2015, the federal party congress passed a resolution in which the party called for the right of asylum to be subordinated to the security of the state and its people, as well as upper limits on the admission of refugees and the abolition of family reunification .
According to an analysis in September 2017 by Human Rights Watch, the AfD's election manifesto in migration policy called for a tightening of the constitutional amendment and would like the Geneva Refugee Convention to be revised in order to adapt it “to the threat to Europe from population explosions and migration flows”.
Positions on Islam
In the basic program of the AfD adopted in 2016 it says: " Islam does not belong to Germany". In particular , the party calls for a ban on minarets , muezzin calls and full veils . In contrast to the French law from 2010, which refers to visible signs of all religions, according to the will of the AfD, no headgear should be allowed in the public service , and no burqas or niqabs should be allowed in public . According to its own admission, the AfD is committed to freedom of belief, but this must be lived out in accordance with the law and human rights. Muslims who are lawful and integrated are to be seen as accepted members of society. Unconstitutional associations should be prohibited from building and operating mosques, as well as foreign funding from Islamic states or private donors. In addition, imams in Germany would have to be trained in German at universities. In the Bundestag, the AfD parliamentary group requested in 2018 that the federal government should take “appropriate measures” against allegedly illegal content in the Koran, without specifying what content was meant and what should be done.
According to Alexander Häusler and Rainer Roeser (2016), the demand for “ direct democracy ” is central to the AfD's election manifesto. The AfD refers to the popular initiatives of the right-wing populist SVP " Against the building of minarets " and " Against mass immigration ". In doing so, she is making “clearly recognizable approximations to right-wing populist demands”. The party program delegitimizes the elected elite of the Federal Republic by claiming that sovereign in Germany is not the people , but “secretly […] a small, powerful political leadership group within the parties”, a “cartel” that is responsible for the undesirable developments of recent years is responsible and has an extensive information monopoly. This illegitimate state must be ended. The Americanist Michael Butter puts this statement close to a conspiracy theory , since it is claimed that all parties would cooperate in secret, while the AfD alone represents the “true interests of the people”.
Authoritarian model of society
According to the sociologist Wilhelm Heitmeyer , the AfD is “against the open society and liberal democracy”. Based on group-related misanthropy , discrimination and violence against immigrants, for example, are presented as self-defense. In response to personal or economic loss of control as a "rabid [n] globalized [n] financial capitalism " enforce controls will be sought. This “authoritarian national radicalism” aims at social and political institutions such as parliaments, courts, police, schools, associations or theaters. "He wants to destabilize, create fearful pressure and initiate a system change."
The Süddeutsche Zeitung cited statements in Björn Höcke's book Never twice in the same river as an example of “contempt for democracy” . In it he develops the idea that German democracy is "in the last stage of degeneration ", in the ochlocracy , which, in the sense of Niccolò Machiavelli's phase model , can only be overcome by an autocratic ruler . This mediator of the people must get rid of his “stunted male self-confidence” and learn to cultivate again the virtues of defensibility, wisdom, inexorability, hardship against himself and especially against others. Political opponents from Germany should be excluded in a “bloodletting”. Höcke drafts a strategy to “recapture” Germany from “foreign peoples”, quotes Hegel with the statement “Burning limbs cannot be cured with lavender water. Life close to putrefaction can only be reorganized through the most violent procedure ”and, with reference to Peter Sloterdijk's “ policy of 'well-tempered cruelty' ”, calls for a“ large-scale re-migration project ”. Hajo Funke concluded from an analysis of these statements: "If we measure Höcke by his language, he is concerned with not only ethnic but also political 'cleansing' and the use of state violence against any defined enemy."
Reference to the peaceful revolution in the GDR
In the state election campaigns in Saxony, Brandenburg and Thuringia in 2019, the AfD repeatedly referred to the peaceful revolution in the GDR of 1989. Höcke, for example, claimed at a meeting of the "wing" that it "feels like it was back then in the GDR ". With this and with slogans such as “Complete the Wende” or “GDR 2.0”, the party equated the political system of the Federal Republic with the SED state and called for resistance against political representatives who would not implement the will of the people supposedly represented on the street. This was sharply criticized by former GDR civil rights activists in an open letter , who saw it as a "historical lie". The historian Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk accused the AfD of not only playing down the GDR dictatorship with such slogans, but also aiming to "destroy [...] what the 1989 revolution and the civil rights activists of 1989 stood for and stood for: Establishing an Open Society ”.
Links to the extreme right
The political offer of the AfD with “restrictive positions in immigration policy, a conservative social policy” and an attitude against the political establishment is suitable as a “radical substitute for the disoriented political center” and serves among other things “resentment, hatred of the elite and alienation from the system”. As a result, right-wing small parties recorded some significant loss of membership in the AfD.
In response to this development, the then federal spokesman Bernd Lucke wrote to the state associations in autumn 2013, recommending a nationwide admission freeze for former members of right-wing splinter parties. Membership in the AfD is incompatible with xenophobic, racist , anti-Semitic , Islamophobic , right-wing and left-wing extremist attitudes. Frauke Petry, then chairwoman of the Saxon state association and member of the federal executive committee, as well as other East German state associations contradicted Lucke and announced that she would continue to examine applications for membership from defectors of the right-wing radical party Die Freiheit .
There is an incompatibility list in which, among other things, various right-wing extremist groups are listed whose members should not be accepted into the party. However, it is not consistently observed, nor is it a mandatory requirement for the recruitment of members of parliament.
Of the 91 AfD MPs represented in the 19th German Bundestag, 13 were in contact with right-wing extremist parties or associations such as the Identitarian Movement. At least 27 parliamentary groups and members of parliament have, according to research on the time, “a clearly right-wing to right-wing extremist background”. The paper speaks of a "Nazi network in the German Bundestag".
The AfD member of the Bundestag Jan Nolte employs a Bundeswehr officer in his office who was suspected of planning a right-wing terrorist attack with former Lieutenant Franco Albrecht . Despite being classified as a right-wing extremist by the MAD and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, he was given a house ID for the Bundestag and thus access to information and files relating to his case.
In the AfD regional association of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Haik Jaeger, a member of the right-wing extremist prepper group Nordkreuz, was elected deputy chairman of the state committee for "Internal Security, Justice and Data Protection". Investigations are underway against the suspended police officer on suspicion of "preparing for a serious, state-endangering act of violence". With his service computer for Nordkreuz he is said to have obtained registration data from people who are on a death list of the right-wing extremist network.
Many AfD MPs and AfD employees belong to right-wing fraternities , including those of the Deutsche Burschenschaft (DB), a völkisch-nationalist umbrella organization of Austrian and German student associations.
According to estimates by the chairman of the party Die Freiheit , René Stadtkewitz , around 500 members of his party joined the AfD by September 2013, some of whom held leadership positions in the AfD. After the 2013 federal election, the small party decided not to participate in further elections in favor of the AfD. Stadtkewitz and Matthias Wohlfarth, spokesman for the Thuringian AfD , agreed that the programs of both parties agreed on many points. The former Bavarian state chairman of Die Freiheit , Christian Jung, as the person responsible for the AfD-related media portal Metropolico / JouWatch for the AfD parliamentary group , explores “synergy effects and opportunities for cooperation” with selected media.
Although the AfD passed an incompatibility resolution regarding the racist Identitarian Movement in 2016 , AfD members of the Bundestag employ supporters of this movement in their offices after research of the time , for example the former state chairman of the Junge Alternative in Brandenburg, Jean-Pascal Hohm and the federal chairman of the Identitarians, Daniel Fiß . AfD federal spokesman Gauland also repeatedly employed supporters of neo-Nazi groups.
The then state spokesman for the AfD in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Holger Arppe , campaigned for cooperation with the identities. Petr Bystron , head of the Bavarian AfD until 2017, had described the Identitarians as the “apron organization of the AfD” and was observed by the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution because he wanted to see the AfD as a “protective shield” for Identitarians and Pegida. The observation was discontinued because with Bystron's election to the Bundestag there are higher legal hurdles.
At the federal level of the AfD, the right-wing national patriotic platform calls for “closer cooperation between the Identitarian Movement and the AfD, because the AfD is also an Identitarian Movement and the Identitarian Movement is an alternative for Germany”. The AfD's youth organization, the Junge Alternative , also has diverse connections to the identities. JA boss Markus Frohnmaier openly expressed support for the spokesman for the Identitarian and head of the Identitarian Movement Austria , Martin Sellner .
AfD MPs in the Bavarian state parliament have employees with ties to the NPD .
In the run-up to the state elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in 2016 , AfD top candidate Leif-Erik Holm did not rule out voting in the state parliament for proposals from the NPD parliamentary group . Party leader Meuthen also spoke out in an interview with Mannheimer Morgen against the so-called Schweriner Weg , which provides for all of the right-wing extremists' motions to be rejected. He had "put the previous official line of the federal party in the form of strict demarcation from the NPD to the files".
Björn Höcke , a prominent representative of the völkisch-nationalist wing and chairman of the AfD parliamentary group in the Thuringian state parliament , was proven, according to the AfD federal executive board at the time, that he was “under the name ' Landolf Ladig ' in the NPD publications People in Motion and Eichsfeld Voice Article “in which he not only praised the right-wing extremist ideas of the NPD, but also glorified the Nazi regime . He shows "an excessive closeness to National Socialism". An application for expulsion of the federal executive committee from February 2017 was rejected by the regional arbitration court of the AfD Thuringia in May 2018, because Höcke did not violate the statutes or party principles. The Federal Executive Committee, which has now been made up of different members, unanimously waived legal remedies.
A decision of the federal executive committee from May 2016, which refused to cooperate with Pegida , was partially overturned by the federal arbitration court at the beginning of August 2016 at the request of the Patriotic Platform . A general ban on appearing at Pegida would interfere with member rights in an inadmissible manner. To date, Pegida has not been observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution - which at least for Bavaria and Thuringia does not correspond to the truth. A position paper adopted by Pegida in December 2014 also shows a considerable degree of substantive agreement with the AfD's basic program. A ban on appearances by Pegida representatives at AfD events, however, is permissible.
According to Felix Korsch (2016), the relationship with Pegida developed in four phases of “attraction and rejection”. According to a survey from December 2014, AfD supporters understood the Pegida demonstrations, but there was no “actual cooperation” until then. The Dresden AfD has been in favor of the Pegida rallies since November 2014, and Pegida also supported the völkisch-nationalist " Patriotic Platform " under the then Saxon AfD board member Hans-Thomas Tillschneider from the start. While Lucke and Henkel in particular took a distant stance on the federal executive board, Gauland and several parliamentary group colleagues attended a Pegida rally in December 2014 and described their supporters as “natural allies” of the AfD. Frauke Petry met with Pegida's board of directors in the state parliament of Saxony and saw “overlaps” in terms of content. In other state associations, the attitude remained ambivalent: The Hessian AfD criticized the participation in "Fragida" because this Frankfurt Pegida offshoot was co-organized by the NPD, but not the participation in "Kagida" in Kassel, which was led by an AfD member . Ultimately, several "cautiously approving expressions" were recorded.
In July 2015, the then NRW state chairman, Marcus Pretzell, described the AfD as the “Pegida party” in his greeting to the Essen party congress . In 2016, Häusler sees the AfD as a “party political anchor” for “initiatives directed against immigrants and refugees” such as Pegida; the demands articulated at the demonstrations in Dresden "[are] congruent in many questions with the positions of the AfD". Of all parties, the AfD is the closest to Pegida.
On November 11, 2017, the right-wing extremist citizens' movement pro Germany decided to dissolve itself and called on members and their municipal elected officials to join the AfD. They want to make the AfD strong and pursue their own goals within the AfD in the future. AfD parliamentary group spokesman Christian Lüth said that Pro Germany was on the incompatibility list of his party, whose members could not be accepted.
Classification of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BFV) classified according to the matching media reports from early March 2021 total party as extreme right-wing suspected case in order to observe them nationwide with intelligence means. On March 5, 2021, the Cologne Administrative Court prohibited the BfV from classifying the AfD as a suspected case and observing it until a decision was made on an urgent application submitted by the AfD. Until then, the party had set great store by not being an object of observation by the BfV at the federal level as a party as a whole.
At the beginning of 2019, the BfV described the party as a " test case ". However, one month later the Cologne Administrative Court forbade the authority to continue to publicly name the party as there was no legal basis for this. The designation had a “negative effect” in public, with the result that the BfV intervened in an illegal and disproportionate manner in the fundamental rights of parties and personal rights of the AfD. The authority had previously removed a corresponding press release from its website and, after announcing the decision, stated that it did not want to contest it.
In January 2019, the BfV also asked its employees to disclose contacts to the AfD internally. This should prevent possible conflicts of loyalty when examining the question of observation. The AfD also brought an action against this measure before the Cologne Administrative Court, as it violated the principle of equality and the state's duty of neutrality.
On January 26, 2021, the Cologne Administrative Court rejected an application by the AfD, with which it wanted to achieve an interim solution in the dispute over the classification as a suspected case. In a further decision of January 27, 2021, the Cologne Administrative Court refused to issue an interim regulation according to which the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution would be forbidden from announcing the current number of members of the disbanded right- wing extremist wing . Both decisions were confirmed by the Münster Higher Administrative Court . The AfD intends to lodge a constitutional complaint in both cases .
In addition to the BfV, the constitutional protection authorities of North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Thuringia, Bremen and Lower Saxony made the classification of the regional AfD state associations as a "test case" public. Classification of a group of people as a “test case” serves to sift through openly accessible material and then to decide whether it should be declared an object of observation or not.
National associations, associations and groups
In January 2019, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution declared the youth organization “ Young Alternative for Germany ” and the inner-party current Der Flügel around the Thuringian state chairman Björn Höcke to be suspected cases of extremist efforts.
Suspected cases are understood by the constitution protection authorities as groups “that are not clearly extremist, but where there are ' actual indications ' of anti-constitutional efforts.” In Saxony and Berlin, the Young Alternative for Germany and the wing are also classified as suspected cases by the local constitution protection authorities been. In Bavaria, where the intermediate stage of the suspected case does not exist, both the youth organization and the völkisch-nationalist Der Flügel are monitored by the protection of the constitution. In contrast, the AfD filed a lawsuit with the Cologne Administrative Court in January 2020.
In March 2020, the BfV declared in a press conference that it would lead the wing as a "proven right-wing extremist endeavor". It counts around 7,000 people in the group. BfV President Thomas Haldenwang characterized the two leading figures Björn Höcke and Andreas Kalbitz as right-wing extremists. Also in March 2020, the Thuringian Office for the Protection of the Constitution upgraded the local AfD state association to a suspected case.
In June 2020, the Brandenburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution classified the regional association there as a suspected case and made this public. He justified this step with the extremist positions of members attributable to the regional association, the strong influence of the wing as well as connections to right-wing extremist organizations such as the Identitarian Movement , the association Zukunft Heimat and the magazine Compact .
In January 2021, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Saxony-Anhalt classified the regional association there as a suspected case of right-wing extremist activities. At the beginning of February 2021 it became known that the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Saxony is also leading the State Association of Saxony as a suspected case.
In 2017, Petr Bystron, the party's Bavarian state spokesman, was temporarily targeted by the protection of the constitution in Bavaria . After his election to the Bundestag, however, the observation was discontinued. The same applies to the observation of three members of the same regional association who moved into the Bavarian state parliament in 2018, as the Federal Constitutional Court set higher hurdles for observing MPs . On the other hand, seven other AfD members are still being observed, three of whom sit in municipal district meetings. In contrast to other authorities for the protection of the constitution, the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution can also observe individuals who do not belong to any group of persons.
According to the then Interior Minister Markus Ulbig (CDU), “individual members” of the AfD were under observation in Saxony in 2017 because of their activities in the right-wing extremist scene, explicitly “not because of their party membership”. The state of Lower Saxony reported something similar at the beginning of 2018. At the same time, the Thuringian Constitutional Protection President Stephan J. Kramer saw an increase in “right-wing extremist statements by individual members”, whose impact on the party as a whole remains to be seen.
According to media reports, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution has been using intelligence services since the beginning of 2020 to monitor the three right-wing extremists, Björn Höcke, Andreas Kalbitz and Hans-Thomas Tillschneider. However, this only applies to extra-parliamentary activities.
The AfD is not organized in any European party.
After the European elections in 2014 , the AfD was accepted into the parliamentary group of European Conservatives and Reformers (EKR) in the European Parliament with 29 to 26 votes . The British Prime Minister David Cameron had called on the MEPs of his party to reject the AfD's application, since Chancellor Merkel would see the admission of a competing party as "hostile" and the admission would have a negative effect on the relationship between Great Britain and Germany. According to a report by the Spiegel , Merkel had tried to prevent admission in order not to further enhance the political value of the AfD.
At the beginning of 2016, Frauke Petry and Marcus Pretzell met with the FPÖ party leader Heinz-Christian Strache and the FPÖ general secretary Harald Vilimsky in Düsseldorf for the “European Visions - Visions for Europe” congress. The Bavarian AfD regional association then agreed to cooperate with the FPÖ under the title “Blue Alliance”. As a result, Harald Vilimsky appeared together with Alexander Gauland and Andreas Kalbitz at an election event in Nauen .
After MEP Beatrix von Storch had advocated the use of firearms against refugees in January 2016, the AfD MPs in the European Parliament were asked in March 2016 to leave the Group of European Conservatives and Reformers (EKR) on March 31, 2016. Otherwise, the group will request a formal exclusion. The request to leave goes back to the initiative of the Dutch Christian Democrat Peter van Dalen . On April 8, 2016, Beatrix von Storch then left the ECR parliamentary group and joined the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy parliamentary group (EFDD). Three days later, Marcus Pretzell was expelled from the parliamentary group. On May 1, 2016, he joined the Europe of Nations and Freedom Group . After Beatrix von Storch was elected to the Bundestag, Jörg Meuthen moved up to the European Parliament and, like her, joined the EFDD.
In June 2019 the European parliamentary group of nationalist parties Identity and Democracy (ID) was founded, which after the European elections in 2019 joined the FPÖ , the Lega Nord , the Rassemblement National and others as well as the AfD.
On March 7, 2018, Alice Weidel met in Zurich for a one-and-a-half hour long conversation with the American publicist Steve Bannon , who is assigned to the Alt-Right , in order to find out details about his concepts of right-wing public relations and to explore possibilities for cooperation.
The organizational structure of Alternative für Deutschland is divided into the federal association, regional associations and sub-associations. Organs of the federal party are the federal party congress, the convention, the federal executive committee and the European election assembly.
Federal party congress
The federal party congress is the highest organ of the party. It meets at least once a year and takes place regularly as a representative assembly (delegate party convention). In addition, it must be convened if the Federal Executive Committee or the Convention decides by a majority or at least six regional associations apply. The party congress consists of 600 delegates sent by the regional associations and members of the federal executive committee who are not elected delegates. The latter have the right to propose and speak, but not to vote. The seats are allocated to the regional associations according to the Hare-Niemeyer procedure . The delegates for the federal party congress are elected for a maximum of two years by member or delegate assemblies in the regional associations.
The federal party congress determines all fundamental organizational questions of the AfD. It adopts the party program and decides on the federal statutes and all other regulations applicable to the federal party. The party congress elects the federal executive committee every two years. He also elects the Federal Arbitration Court and the auditors . In addition, the party congress can issue instructions to the federal executive committee and the convention and refer motions for decision to the convention. The federal party congress is the only organ that can dissolve the AfD or decide to merge with other parties.
According to the regulations of the party congress, the European election meeting is also held.
|No.||date||place||Federal spokesman /
Party Congress (1st Federal Party Congress)
|April 14, 2013||Berlin||
|Foundation of the federal association; Election of the federal executive board;
Adoption of the federal statutes and the election platform for the 2013 federal election
|European election meeting||January 25, 2014
February 1, 2014
|Bernd Lucke||86%||Election of the list of candidates for the 2014 European elections|
|2nd Federal Party Congress||22./23. March 2014||Erfurt||Decision on the election program for the 2014 European elections; By-election of federal board members|
|3rd Federal Party Congress||January 30th - February 1st, 2015||Bremen||Resolution of a new federal statute|
(4th) federal party conference
|4th / 5th July 2015||eat||
|New election of the federal executive committee|
(5th) Federal Party Congress
|28/29 November 2015||Hanover||Amendment of the federal statutes|
(6th) Federal Party Congress
|April 30th - May 1st, 2016||Stuttgart||Decision of the basic program|
(7th) Federal Party Congress
|22./23. April 2017||Cologne||
|68%||Decision on the election program and election of the top candidates for the 2017 Bundestag election|
|8th Federal Party Congress||2nd / 3rd December 2017||Hanover||
|New election of the federal executive committee|
|9th Federal Party Congress||June 30th - July 1st, 2018||augsburg||Election of the federal arbitration tribunal; Decision of a party affiliated foundation|
|European election meeting||16. – 19. November 2018
11th-14th January 2019
|Jörg Meuthen||91%||Election of the list of candidates and decision on the election program for the 2019 European elections|
|10th Federal Party Congress||November 30th - December 1st, 2019||Braunschweig||
|New election of the federal executive committee|
|11th Federal Party Congress||28/29 November 2020||Kalkar||Resolution of a social and pension concept; By-election of federal board members|
|12th Federal Party Congress||10/11 April 2021||Dresden||Resolution of the election program for the Federal Parliament election 2021 ; Decision of a corona resolution|
The convention is also responsible for political and organizational questions of the AfD and makes decisions that are not reserved for another body by law or statutes or that conflict with the decisions of the federal party congress. In particular, it decides on the distribution of funds from state party funding, the budget and financial planning. It also decides on the establishment of associations, the rules of procedure for the bodies and the rules of procedure for members' decisions.
The convention consists of the federal treasurer, four other federal board members and fifty representatives from the regional associations. The seats are allocated to the regional associations based on their number of members using the Hare-Niemeyer procedure . The convention is headed by two spokespersons with equal rights, with the federal board members and the representatives of the regional associations each designating a spokesperson. A meeting of the Convention takes place at the request of one of the two speakers in consultation with the other. In addition, the convention must be convened if the federal executive committee or three state executive committees or a quarter of the members of the convention so request.
The federal executive directs the federal party. It implements the resolutions of the Federal Party Congress and the Convention and convenes the Federal Party Congress. According to the federal statutes, the federal executive committee consists of two or three federal spokespersons, three deputy federal spokespersons, the federal treasurer, the deputy federal treasurer, the secretary and six other members. The current federal executive committee was elected at the federal party conference on November 30 / December 1, 2019 in Braunschweig.
|Federal spokesman||Jörg Meuthen , Tino Chrupalla|
|Deputy Federal Spokesperson||Alice Weidel , Stephan Brandner , Beatrix von Storch|
|Federal Treasurer||Carsten Hütter|
|Deputy Federal Treasurer||Christian Waldheim|
|Assessor||Sylvia Limmer , Jochen Haug , Stephan Protschka , Alexander Wolf , Joachim Paul , Joana Cotar|
|Honorary Chairman||Alexander Gauland|
Federal Program Commission and Federal Technical Committees
The Federal Program Commission is responsible for drawing up proposals for the party program , for specialist programs on key political issues and for the election programs for the Bundestag and European elections . In doing so, it is supported by the federal technical committees, which also develop proposals for the programmatic statements on the respective topics and, on request, support state associations in creating state programs. According to the statutes, the party members are to be involved in the development of the programmatic positions. This is done through member surveys that are decided by the Federal Program Commission. The position papers of the state and federal technical committees must also be taken into account by the commission and incorporated into the programs.
The Federal Program Commission consists of two members of the federal executive committee, one representative from each of the state associations sent by the state executive boards, one representative from each of the federal technical committees, and one representative from each of the AfD parliamentary groups in the Bundestag and in the European Parliament. The federal board elects a chairman; a vice-chairman and a secretary are elected by the members of the commission. Albrecht Glaser is currently the chairman and Beatrix von Storch is the deputy chairwoman (as of January 2017).
The federal technical committees are composed of one member of the federal executive board and one representative each of the AfD parliamentary groups in the Bundestag and in the European Parliament, representatives of the regional associations, who can send a representative from the regional technical committees for every 1,000 members or part thereof. The members of each federal technical committee elect a head, at least one deputy head, a secretary and optionally a deputy secretary to lead it.
|No.||Federal Technical Committee||ladder|
|BFA 1||Foreign and security policy, development policy and foreign trade||Georg Pazderski|
|BFA 2||Monetary and currency policy||Alice Weidel|
|BFA 3||Economic and financial policy||Joachim Keiler|
|BFA 4||Family and demographics||Sebastian Maack|
|BFA 5||Internal security , justice and data protection||Roman Reusch|
|BFA 6||Education, science, culture and media||Nicole Höchst|
|BFA 7||Environment, nature and animal protection, agriculture and consumer protection||Ingo Hahn|
|BFA 8||Health policy||Hardi Schumny|
|BFA 9||Democracy and Core Values, Europe||Werner Meier|
|BFA 10||Energy, technology and infrastructure||Burkard Reimer|
|BFA 11||Social security systems and pensions, labor and social policy||Uwe Witt|
|BFA 12||Immigration, asylum, nationality||Dieter Amann|
Federal Arbitration Court
A federal arbitration tribunal exists for internal party disputes. This consists of nine arbitrators who are elected by the federal party conference for a period of two years. Nine substitute arbitrators are also elected every two years. The arbitrators elect a president and a vice-president to direct the arbitral tribunal. The Federal Arbitration Court , for example, was called on in the disputes over the Saar Regional Association .
The AfD has regional associations in all 16 German states . According to the federal statutes, the state associations have statutes, financial and personnel autonomy, but the state statutes may not contradict the federal statutes. Some of them are classified as right-wing extremists by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The chairmen of the AfD regional associations are called state spokespersons in some countries. The AfD has been represented in all 16 state parliaments since October 2018.
The state associations of Brandenburg , Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia are under observation by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution because of suspicion of being right-wing extremists. The Brandenburg State Association filed a lawsuit against this with the Brandenburg State Constitutional Court in January 2021 .
|Regional association||founding||Chairperson or state spokesperson||Members
as of the end of 2018
|State election||Bundestag election
|Baden-Wuerttemberg||April 22, 2013||Alice Weidel||4710||2021 )9.7% (||12.2%||10.0%|
|Bavaria||March 31, 2013||Corinna Miazga||4946||10.2% ( 2018 )||12.4%||8.5%|
|Berlin||April 27, 2013||Kristin Brinker||1507||14.2% ( 2016 )||12.0%||9.9%|
|Brandenburg||April 28, 2013||vacant||1485||23.5% ( 2019 )||20.2%||19.9%|
|Bremen||May 12, 2013||vacant||168||2019 )6.1% (||10.0%||7.7%|
|Hamburg||April 7, 2013||Dirk Nockemann||564||2020 )5.3% (||7.8%||6.5%|
|Hesse||May 5, 2013||Robert Lambrou , Klaus Hermann||2873||13.1% ( 2018 )||11.9%||9.9%|
|Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania||April 21, 2013||Leif-Erik Holm , Hagen brewer||749||20.8% ( 2016 )||18.6%||17.7%|
|Lower Saxony||1st of May 2013||Jens Kestner||2823||2017 )6.2% (||9.1%||7.9%|
|North Rhine-Westphalia||April 12th, 2013||Rudiger Lucassen||5147||2017 )7.4% (||9.4%||8.5%|
|Rhineland-Palatinate||April 9, 2013||Michael Frisch||2209||2021 )8.3% (||11.2%||9.8%|
|Saarland||May 3, 2013||Christian Wirth||480||2017 )6.2% (||10.1%||9.6%|
|Saxony||April 28, 2013||Jörg Urban||2360||27.5% ( 2019 )||27.0%||25.3%|
|Saxony-Anhalt||April 5, 2013||Martin Reichardt||1028||24.3% ( 2016 )||19.6%||20.4%|
|Schleswig-Holstein||April 27, 2013||vacant||1119||2017 )5.9% (||8.2%||7.4%|
|Thuringia||April 27, 2013||Björn Höcke , Stefan Möller||1204||23.4% ( 2019 )||22.7%||22.5%|
In addition to the state associations, there are district associations, district associations and city associations. If a regional association has no district associations, there are only district associations and, if necessary, city associations instead of district associations.
Christians in the AfD
As in other parties, different groups of Christians were founded in the AfD. They mostly represent positions that also represent evangelical- conservative communities and, according to Andreas Kemper, belong to the “ Christian-fundamentalist ” wing. In the federal party they are strongly represented by Beatrix von Storch . The Pforzheimer circle represents, according to the daily newspaper taz Christian fundamentalist positions. Together with the working group Christians in Alternative for Germany , it forms the Association of Christians in the AfD (ChrAfD), which rejects abortions, euthanasia and the equality of civil partnerships with marriage in its declaration of principle .
From 2015 the völkisch and nationalist alliance “ Der Flügel ” came into being within the party . The then federal spokesman Alexander Gauland said in a TV talk show in January 2019 that the wing would receive support from up to 40% of the delegates at party congresses. At the beginning of 2020, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution attributed around 20 percent of all AfD members to the group.
The most important protagonists were Björn Höcke and Dubravko Mandic , who is also a member of the Patriotic Platform . They created the controversial " Erfurt Resolution ", in which they demanded that the AfD must be "a movement of our people" against "social experiments" and a "resistance movement" against an alleged "undermining of the sovereignty" of Germany.
In March 2020, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution classified the entire “wing” as “secured right-wing extremist efforts against the free democratic basic order”, and its representatives were immediately observed by the intelligence service. At the end of March 2020, the federal executive asked the party group to disband by the end of April. In a letter to “the friends of the wing”, Björn Höcke and Andreas Kalbitz announced that they would cease activities under the name of the “wing” until April 30, 2020.
The classification of the wing as a case of observation of the protection of the constitution has, according to the assessment of the time, impaired the external image of the unit of the AfD. If the party had apparently acted closed to the outside world by then, obvious disputes over direction would now break out, which had only been discussed behind closed doors. In view of the brutality with which the right-wing extremists now proceeded against colleagues in their own party, the question arises as to how they would only treat their political opponents if they ever came to power. In May 2020, the AfD's federal board declared that Andreas Kalbitz's membership was invalid because he was said to have not indicated previous memberships in the neo-Nazi organization Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend and the Republicans when he joined. The Berlin Regional Court decided in an urgent procedure initiated by Kalbitz that he could remain a member of the party and take part in board meetings until a final decision by the Federal Arbitration Court of the AfD. On July 25, 2020, the Federal Arbitration Court confirmed the cancellation of Kalbitz's membership, so that he is no longer an AfD member.
In October 2020, the President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, certified that the "wing" had an ever greater influence despite the formal dissolution, which led to an increasing radicalization of the party as a whole. In internal party elections, “wing” supporters would come in key positions and there would continue to be cohesion and exchange among each other.
The “ Patriotic Platform ” with its chairman, Hans-Thomas Tillschneider , also takes a völkisch-nationalist course. In September 2018, the association's board requested the association's self-dissolution, as the goal had been achieved of doing everything and saying what one wanted at all levels of the party.
Other organizations in the AfD
At the beginning of 2014, the platform KOLIBRI - Conservatives and Liberals in the AfD - was founded in contrast to the Christian-national positions represented in particular by Beatrix von Storch . In addition, there is a federal homosexual working group in the AfD , which advocates full equality for homosexuals , but at the same time “does not want to lose sight of traditional families”.
On October 3, 2017, the interest group Alternative Mitte Deutschland was founded as a further internal party association . The supporters are considered moderate liberal conservatives within the AfD. The alternative center sees itself as a counterweight to the “national revolutionary” wing around Björn Höcke and Alexander Gauland.
The Federal Association of Jewish AfD Members Jews in the AfD (JAfD) was founded on October 7, 2018 in Wiesbaden. Vera Kosova was elected chairman. One third of the 24 founding members come from states of the former Soviet Union.
In November 2015, the Young Alternative (JA) was recognized by the AfD's federal party congress as a youth organization of the AfD. Their positions are largely congruent with those of the right-wing conservative wing of the party. At the beginning of September 2018 it became known that the three JA regional associations in Bremen , Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg were being monitored by the local authorities for the protection of the constitution . The JA then dissolved the Lower Saxony state association on November 4, 2018 at a federal congress in Barsinghausen .
|Male||17,495 (84.5%)||1,036 (85.1%)||18,531 (84.5%)|
|Female||3,211 (15.5%)||181 (14.9%)||3,392 (15.5%)|
After it was founded, the party was very popular. Seven weeks after the activation of their website, 10,000 members have already been registered. According to their own information, of the 10,476 members registered by the end of April 2013, 2,795 came from other parties: 1,008 from the CDU , 587 from the FDP , 558 from the SPD , 220 from the CSU , 143 from the Pirate Party and 106 from Alliance 90 / The Greens . There were also converts by the free voters . Large parts of the Berlin state association, including the state chairman, joined the new party. Some Hamburg party members joined later, including the later state chairman Jörn Kruse . According to estimates by the chairman of the party Die Freiheit, René Stadtkewitz, around 500 members of his party had converted to the AfD by September 2013 .
As of May 2013, around 14 percent of the members were women; the average age of AfD members was 51 years.
Since the summer of 2014, the media have reported more frequently on the resignation of party members, including former officials. Especially members of the liberal wing left the AfD because of the shift to the right. The resignation of party founder Bernd Lucke after the Essen party congress in July 2015 was followed by a wave of resignation. According to the party, around 20 percent of AfD members had left the party by the end of August.
Before the party congress in Hanover at the end of November 2015, the AfD had almost 20,000 members, which was roughly the same as before the Lucke supporters moved out. In May 2016 the number of members was 23,400. In July 2017 the number of members increased to 28,000.
According to the party, in September 2019 a total of 82 percent of the almost 35,000 members were previously not members of any party. 6.23 percent came from the CDU, 3.30 percent from the SPD, 2.03 percent from the FDP, 1.77 percent from the SED and 0.63 percent from the Greens. Party spokesman Pfalzgraf did not give figures on previous memberships with NPD or Republicans .
According to the statutes, the acceptance of former members of extremist organizations is fundamentally excluded. A corresponding list of incompatibility is based on the reports of the constitution protection authorities .
See also: Links to the extreme political right
The party newspaper of the Alternative for Germany is called AfD Kompakt . The newspaper is published by the federal board and appears monthly.
On December 10, 2016, the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation was founded as an association and was supposed to function as a party-affiliated foundation for the AfD. Konrad Adam was elected first chairman . The association was named after Desiderius Erasmus von Rotterdam , the author of In Praise of Folly , and, according to the party statement , should stand “for the party's pro-European, but euro-critical stance”. In April 2017, Adam was voted out again at a member assembly.
In March 2017 it became known that other party members had founded a competing association, the Immanuel Kant Foundation . The chairman is the author Bruno Bandulet .
In December 2017, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that Alexander Gauland would like the Gustav Stresemann Foundation , founded in 2011 and named after the national liberal politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner Gustav Stresemann , to be recognized as a party-affiliated foundation of the AfD; The Gottfried Herder Foundation for Democracy e. V. called.
On April 13, 2018, the federal board of the AfD spoke out in favor of recognizing the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation; the final decision should be made at the federal party conference in June 2018. According to WDR and NDR, the foundation wanted to rename itself to Gustav Stresemann at a later date, if legally possible. However, following a lawsuit brought by Stresemann's grandchildren against the original Gustav Stresemann Foundation to refrain from using their grandfather's name, this is no longer permitted.
Since the alternative for Germany was not entitled to state funding until the 2013 federal election , it financed its election campaign mainly from membership fees and donations . According to Joachim Starbatty , the AfD received a total of 2.3 million euros from party members until August 2013 . She also received two loans from the Hamburg shipowner Folkard Edler, each amounting to EUR 500,000. The first loan was granted for a period of six months and was secured with 40 percent of the government reimbursement of election costs . The second loan provided for an annual repayment of 100,000 euros, provided the party had the financial means to do so. Otherwise, the remaining debt would be canceled after five or eight years. The loans were made public for the first time through the Internet platform “Alternative Newsletter”. According to the constitutional lawyer Jörn Ipsen , the prospect of converting the loan into a donation is problematic in terms of party law , as it would affect the transparency requirement of party financing. A call for donations on the weekend before the election brought in an additional 430,000 euros, according to the party.
Based on the election results of the Bundestag election and the state election in Hesse, the AfD met the requirements for receiving government grants for 2013. Based on the share of the vote, a maximum rate of around 1.9 million euros was set. Since the party was only founded in 2013, it was unable to file an accountability report for 2012. Instead, the party provided the proof of its own financial resources required under the Political Parties Act through certified information on the income it had achieved in 2013. The party is thus entitled to the full state grants.
According to its first statement of accounts, the AfD achieved income of 7.72 million euros and expenditure of 5.39 million euros and thus a surplus of 2.34 million euros in 2013. In addition to government funds amounting to 1.86 million euros, it received donations from natural persons amounting to 4.14 million euros and donations from legal entities amounting to 170,000 euros. According to the report, the number of members of the party was 16,134 at the end of 2013.
|Overview of the AfD's income and expenditure in 2013|
In April 2014, the deputy party spokesman Hans-Olaf Henkel granted the party a loan of 640,000 euros, as it was financially severely disadvantaged compared to other parties. As a result, he increased the loan offer to one million euros "to compensate for damage caused by 'violent attacks' on the AfD in the European election campaign."
Overall, the AfD initially expected income from membership fees and donations of three million euros for 2014. In order to get the full state reimbursement of election campaign costs of five million euros from the Bundestag administration, the AfD decided to raise at least another two million euros through the sale of gold bars and gold coins, as otherwise only three million euros would have been paid out. The Bundestag administration checked and determined that the turnover from the sale of gold was to be assessed as income within the meaning of the Political Parties Act. This was followed by criticism of the regulation of the Political Parties Act, which regards the turnover from business activities of parties as income, and a reform of the law was considered in the German Bundestag.
According to its second annual report, the AfD achieved income of 12.57 million euros and expenditures of 10.73 million euros and thus a surplus of 1.84 million euros. In addition to government funds amounting to 5.41 million euros, it received donations from natural persons amounting to 2.01 million euros and donations from legal entities amounting to around 50,000 euros. According to the report, the number of members of the party was 20,728 at the end of 2014.
|Overview of the AfD's income and expenditure in 2014|
At the beginning of December 2015, the German Bundestag passed an amendment to the Political Parties Act as of January 1, 2016, through which - retrospectively for 2015 - only profit will be taken into account in the entrepreneurial activities of the parties. As a result, the AfD published an appeal for donations and raised 3.1 million euros in donations in just over three weeks. The AfD thus succeeded in closing the looming financing gap of two million euros.
According to its third annual report, the AfD achieved income of 14.79 million euros and expenditures of 8.92 million euros and thus a surplus of 5.86 million euros. In addition to government funds amounting to 5.21 million euros, it received donations from natural persons amounting to 4.54 million euros and donations from legal entities amounting to around 133,000 euros. According to the report, the number of members of the party was 17,703 at the end of 2015.
|Overview of the AfD's income and expenditure in 2015|
According to its fourth annual report, the AfD achieved income of 15.61 million euros and expenditures of 11.1 million euros and thus a surplus of 4.51 million euros. In addition to government funds amounting to 6.13 million euros, it received donations from natural persons amounting to 5.8 million euros and donations from legal entities amounting to around 185,000 euros. According to the report, the number of members of the party was 25,015 at the end of 2016.
|Overview of the AfD's income and expenditure in 2016|
In 2017, the AfD received donations of at least 10,000.00 euros each from 29 private individuals and companies. Among them was a donation of 50,000.00 euros from Bangkok-based German Mortimer von Zitzewitz. In the 1970s, a person of the same name was the managing director of a Hamburg company that was suspected of having carried out arms deals in crisis areas for the Federal Intelligence Service .
In February 2020 it became known that the AfD was the recipient of the largest known individual donation to a party in the history of the Federal Republic. An engineer had used the party as the sole heir of his fortune of more than seven million euros. The testator was not a member of the AfD.
In November 2020, the Bundestag administration charged the AfD with bills totaling around half a million euros for accepting disguised donations (“ straw man donations”). Furthermore, in the same month, the AfD received a further penalty bill of around 72,000 euros from the Bundestag administration for not disclosing donations in kind.
The federal spokespersons are comparable to party leaders in other parties.
2013 to 2015
2013 to 2015
2013 to 2017
(resigned from office)
2017 to 2019
|2013-2015||Bernd Lucke||Frauke Petry||Konrad Adam|
|since 2019||Tino Chrupalla|
Founding phase 2012–2013
The forerunners of the founding of the party are liberal, conservative and national political associations such as the Federation of Free Citizens , the Friedrich A. von Hayek Society , the New Social Market Economy Initiative , the Citizens' Will Alliance, the 2013 election alternative and the civil coalition . As a guiding spirit of the founding applies Thilo Sarrazin . Later AfD functionaries came mainly from the "second row" of the CDU and FDP .
In September 2012 Konrad Adam , Bernd Lucke , Alexander Gauland and others founded the “Association for the Support of Electoral Alternative 2013”, which wanted to join the Free Voters in the 2013 Bundestag election . The founding appeal stated that the euro area had proven unsuitable, that southern European states were impoverished under the competitive pressure of the euro and that entire states were on the verge of insolvency. The federal government has already pledged hundreds of billions of euros and is continuing this policy for an indefinite period of time. In the state elections in Lower Saxony in January 2013 , Lucke ran on a joint state list with the free voters, who received 1.1 percent of the second vote . After the election, a conflict over organizational and content-related issues led to the end of the cooperation. The Free Voters rejected the return to the D-Mark, which was aimed at national and European policy as the electoral alternative.
On February 6, 2013, a group of 18 founded the party in Oberursel im Taunus. In a vote “Alternative für Deutschland” was chosen as the name of the new party. He refers to the statement by Chancellor Merkel that there is no alternative to the euro rescue . Of the 18 founders, only four were members of the party in July 2017, including the Bundestag member Martin Renner and the former federal spokesman Konrad Adam.
More than 1,200 interested people came to the first public meeting on March 11, 2013 in Oberursel. At the first AfD party conference on April 14, 2013 in Berlin, Lucke were elected party spokesmen with 96 percent of the vote, Petry with 81 percent and Adam with 80 percent. Adam, the last of these three founding spokesmen, left the party at the end of 2020 because of their right-wing extremist tendencies. As a result of convertions, the AfD briefly received a member of the Hessian state parliament and a number of elected officials in local councils.
In the 2013 federal election and the state elections in Hesse , which took place at the same time , the AfD ran for the first time, achieved 4.7 percent, the strongest result of a new party at the federal level since 1953 and failed to make it into both parliaments.
At two party conferences in Aschaffenburg and Berlin, the AfD determined its list for the European elections in May 2014 . Bernd Lucke was chosen as the top candidate, and the top candidates of the remaining list positions were occupied by Hans-Olaf Henkel, Bernd Kölmel , Beatrix von Storch, Joachim Starbatty and Ulrike Trebesius .
A draft statute of the federal executive committee, which provided for expanding its own powers and restricting the rights of state associations and members, led to public criticism in March before the 2014 federal party conference in Erfurt, including from the former NRW state spokesman for the party Alexander Dilger . After a controversial discussion, the draft was removed from the agenda. Anti-fascist and anti-racist groups called in the European election campaign to disrupt the AfD's election campaign under the motto “Nationalism is no alternative”. The Blockupy movement, which is critical of capitalism, also disrupted AfD election campaign events.
After the European elections, the AfD moved into a supraregional parliament for the first time with a 7.1 percent share of the vote. The AfD MPs joined the European Conservatives and Reformists (EKR) group.
In the local elections in ten German states, which took place at the same time as the European elections, 485 AfD elected representatives entered the municipal councils , district councils , representations in the respective independent cities and the district council of the Palatinate .
In all three state elections in 2014, the party entered the state parliaments for the first time. In Saxony the AfD received 9.7 percent of the second vote , in Brandenburg and Thuringia it was 12.2 percent and 10.6 percent respectively.
Since the summer of 2014, the media have reported more frequently on the resignation of party members, especially members of the liberal wing, because of the AfD's shift to the right.
Essen Party Congress and first split in 2015
According to Felix Korsch, the relationship with Pegida developed in four phases of “attraction and rejection” and was part of the incipient dispute over direction that led to the first split in the party. The völkisch-nationalist " Patriotic Platform " under the then Saxon AfD board member Hans-Thomas Tillschneider supported Pegida from the beginning, Gauland attended a Pegida rally with several parliamentary colleagues in December 2014, whose supporters he described as "natural allies" of the AfD, Frauke Petry saw “intersections” in terms of content and Marcus Pretzell described the AfD as the “Pegida party”. On the other hand, Lucke and Henkel, in particular, took a distant position on the federal executive board.
"Erfurt Resolution" and "Weckruf 2015"
From the Erfurt resolution initiated by Björn Höcke and André Poggenburg against the course of the party executive, the völkisch-nationalist party trend " The Wing " grew . In their “founding document”, it is said that many supporters see the party as a movement against supposed “social experiments” and as a “resistance movement” against “undermining the sovereignty and identity of Germany”. Götz Kubitschek is considered the author .
As a counter-reaction, Hans-Olaf Henkel and others published the so-called Germany resolution . In it they accused the initiators of wanting to split the party. Bernd Lucke initiated the foundation of the Weckruf association in 2015 . Its members saw the “existence and unity” of the AfD endangered by a takeover of power by representatives of the “ New Right ”. The aim is not to found a new party, but to strengthen the moderate wing. The AfD board members Alexander Gauland and Frauke Petry criticized the founding of the association as damaging to parties and contrary to the statutes. After Lucke's exit from the AfD, around 2,600 club members supported the establishment of a new euro-critical party. Henkel and Patricia Casale resigned from the national board and the MEP Marcus Pretzell was excluded from joint delegation meetings.
Essen party congress and break-off of ALFA
After a month-long power struggle within the party, the member party conference in Essen in July 2015 elected Frauke Petry as the first party spokeswoman in place of Bernd Lucke. Petry received 60 percent, Lucke 38.1 percent of the vote. Jörg Meuthen was elected as the second party spokesman. The replacement of Luckes was classified by political scientists as a shift to the right and a victory of the national conservative over the economically liberal party wing.
After Luckes was voted out of office, there was a wave of resignation: by July 10, 2015, over 2,000 members had left the party. Among them were the former federal board members Hans-Olaf Henkel , who complained about "a sharp right-wing course" and "mobbing, protest and the spread of prejudice" among the AfD majority, Joachim Starbatty , Ulrike Trebesius and Bernd Kölmel . Other officials left the AfD, including Alexander Dilger , Piet Leidreiter , Klaus Remkes , Christian Schäfer and Uwe Zimmermann .
As a result, Lucke resigned from the party. As reasons, he cited the increase in anti-Islamic and xenophobic views in the AfD, an “anti-Western, decidedly pro-Russian foreign and security policy orientation” and increasing demands to “ ask the ' system question ' with regard to our parliamentary democracy ”. Lucke stated that he had "realized too late to what extent members are pushing into the party who want to transform the AfD into a protest and angry citizens' party". Critical commentators recalled Luckes previous course, also to woo voters on the right fringe, to collect Thilo Sarrazin for the AfD in order to get media attention and approval in the population and to work with right-wing populists.
On July 19, 2015, Lucke founded the Alliance for Progress and Awakening (ALFA), which was joined by many former AfD members, including five members of the EU Parliament, three of the Bremen citizenship and one of the Thuringian state parliament. Overall, around 20 percent of the members resigned in the course of the split.
Policy, Problems in the Countries 2016
Following a meeting between Frauke Petry and Marcus Pretzell with representatives of the FPÖ at the beginning of 2016, the Bavarian AfD regional association agreed a cooperation with the FPÖ under the title “Blue Alliance”.
In the spring of 2016, after Beatrix von Storch's derailment , the AfD MEPs were forced to leave the group of European Conservatives and Reformists (EKR). Von Storch joined the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group (EFDD), Marcus Pretzell moved to the Europe of Nations and Freedom Group (ENF).
See also: International connections
Proceedings to dissolve the Saarland regional association
At the end of March 2016, the federal executive decided to dissolve the Saarland regional association because it saw violations of the party's political goals and internal order. The reason for this was research by the Stern , which was supposed to prove a collaboration between the AfD Saarland and NPD functionaries as well as organizations from the NPD environment observed by the constitution protection authorities. The regional association denied the allegations and appealed to the party's federal arbitration tribunal, which initially suspended the decision in mid-April. The federal party conference at the end of April confirmed the regulatory measure with 51.9 against 42.0 percent of the votes cast. The Federal Arbitration Court finally rejected the application at the end of October 2016. A dissolution of the regional association is disproportionate. The federal spokesmen Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen then asked the regional association in vain not to take part in the 2017 state elections.
Adoption of the basic program
At the member's party conference in Stuttgart in early May, the AfD adopted a basic program based on a draft program that had been developed in several working groups and with the participation of around 1000 members.
In August, at the request of the Patriotic Platform , a decision by the Federal Executive Committee from May 2016 that had refused to cooperate with Pegida was partially revoked.
Split of the Baden-Württemberg parliamentary group
In the early summer of 2016, the anti-Semitism controversy over statements by state parliament member Wolfgang Gedeon led to the split in the Baden-Württemberg parliamentary group. Gedeon had called the memory of the Holocaust the " civil religion of the West" and Holocaust deniers as dissidents . He made positive reference to the anti-Semitic inflammatory pamphlet Protocols of the Elders of Zion . In addition, he presented Judaism as the internal enemy and Islam as the external enemy of the Christian West . Country chief Jörg Meuthen linked his political fate to an exclusion from Gedeon and announced that he would otherwise leave the parliamentary group. Gedeon offered to suspend his membership in the parliamentary group pending an expert assessment of his statements. After the parliamentary group could not agree on three experts, there was a vote in which the two-thirds majority necessary for a parliamentary group to be excluded did not come about. Thereupon Meuthen left the AfD parliamentary group with thirteen other members and founded the “Alternative für Baden-Württemberg” parliamentary group. After Frauke Petrys intervened , Gedeon declared his voluntary resignation from the AfD parliamentary group.
Second split in 2017
Conflicts about Björn Höcke and historical revisionist positions
The massively criticized speech in Ballhaus Watzke by the Thuringian state spokesman and parliamentary group leader Björn Höcke in January 2017 led to a party exclusion procedure after initial hesitation on the part of the AfD federal executive committee. The party executive saw it as proven that Höcke " wrote articles under the name of ' Landolf Ladig ' in the NPD publications 'People in Motion' and 'Eichsfeld Voice'". The party expulsion process failed. Because of this speech, Höcke was denied participation in the memorial event on International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Buchenwald concentration camp , he is banned from entering the camp .
Stephan Brandner , AfD deputy and chairman of the Bundestag legal committee, met the director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau Dora Memorials Foundation , Volkhard Knigge , during a visit to Buchenwald concentration camp in August 2018, to discuss, among other things, the relationship between the AfD and to improve the memorial. He also called for an end to an "exclusion policy" against his party. Knigge, in turn, expected answers to questions about Höcke's speech, the “ guilt cult ” claimed by AfD functionaries and other historical revisionist positions in the AfD. According to the Foundation's assessment, Brandner had "clearly and unambiguously" acknowledged Höcke's demand for a turnaround in the culture of remembrance and played down ethnic and anti-Semitic statements as brief derailments by a few individuals. Therefore, there was no substantive discussion about the work of the foundation.
Cologne Party Congress
The delegate convention in Cologne in April 2017 was preceded by a controversial discussion about the top candidate for the 2017 federal election . In November 2016, the federal executive board proposed to campaign with a top team. A member survey confirmed this recommendation. Shortly before the party congress, Frauke Petry announced that she would not be a top candidate. Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel were elected as the top candidates with 67.7 percent of the delegate's votes. The delegates refused to deal with a so-called “motion for the future” by Petry, who wanted to set the party on a “realpolitical course” and the goal of co-government. This was widely seen as a defeat for Petry and another shift to the right by the party.
Second split after the 2017 federal election
In the week before the general election, Petry kept his distance from the top candidates Gauland and Weidel and expressed her understanding for voters who were "horrified" by their statements. She was referring to Gauland's bird shit speech and Weidel's recently known email affair . On the day after the general election, Petry, who had received a mandate in the Bundestag as a direct candidate, declared that she would not become a member of the AfD parliamentary group. She and her husband, Marcus Pretzell , left the party. By October 11, at least another 15 state officials of the party resigned.
After the federal election in 2017, the AfD entered the German Bundestag for the first time with 12.6 percent of the second vote.
The Blue Party was founded by Michael Muster , a confidante of Petrys, a week before the general election . She was joined in October 2017 by Petry, her husband Pretzell and Mario Mieruch , a member of the Bundestag elected for the AfD.
Wing fight, elections in eastern federal states 2019
Before the state elections in 2019 in the three federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia, another fight for political orientation began in the party.
In Schleswig-Holstein, Doris von Sayn-Wittgenstein was elected as the state spokeswoman, although the AfD federal executive board is operating a party exclusion process because of her active support for right-wing extremist circles. Nine out of twelve board members resigned from the board of the North Rhine-Westphalia state association in protest against the dominance of nationalists in the party, and in Bavaria several AfD members filed charges against the faction chairman Katrin Ebner-Steiner, who was assigned to the Höcke camp .
While federal spokesman Jörg Meuthen expressed himself rather moderately in the run-up to the elections, Alexander Gauland said in a speech at the meeting of the folk " wing " in Thuringia to come to power, one could "bite your lip". In doing so, he does not call on the right-wing extremists in the AfD to moderate their positions, only their language. At the same meeting, Björn Höcke threatened the federal executive board that it would "not be re-elected in this composition". This is understood in the party as a declaration of war on Jörg Meuthen , who had said at the Baden-Württemberg party congress that it was wrong in the AfD who wanted to "act out group-related enmity". Meuthen was not elected by his district association as a delegate for the federal party congress in November 2019, but almost exclusively people who are close to the völkisch wing .
Höckes demeanor at the wing meeting was criticized in an appeal signed by more than 100 party colleagues as unsolidarity, anti-party behavior, and he was accused of promoting the personality cult around him. The political positions he represented were not criticized in it.
According to an assessment by Spiegel , the wing in the party is not marginalized, but has long been part of the AfD mainstream. The wing has already won the power struggle in the party, as prominent opponents such as the AfD parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag, Alice Weidel , gave up their resistance and allied with him for career reasons.
Right-wing extremism researcher Matthias Quent sees the massive increase in votes in the state elections on September 1, 2019 in Saxony and Brandenburg as an indication of an accelerated radicalization of the AfD.
In autumn 2020, the AfD parliamentary group had its strategy department investigate how the party could win new supporters by exploiting the corona pandemic. In the presented paper it was recommended, among other things, that the party should offer itself to the participants of Corona demonstrations as the political voice of the dissatisfied and thus "open the door to broader social classes that were previously inaccessible to such arguments." This became a strategy formally established, which was previously practiced in the state associations, because AfD politicians have long since ceased to be just observers of anti-corona demos, but supported their organizers in order to instrumentalize the pandemic protection laws as alleged harassment of the citizens.
Elections and electorate
In the general election in 2013 and the concurrent state election in Hesse AFD first appeared for election. With 4.7% it achieved the strongest result of a new party at federal level since 1953 , but failed to make it into both parliaments. The party did not run for the state election in Bavaria because it feared a negative signal for the federal election a week later if it failed.
In the federal election in 2013 , the AFD has been the results of the representative electoral statistics clearly chosen more often by men than by women. The party was most popular among the workers . In addition, many former supporters of the FDP and the left voted for the AfD. 60% of AfD voters stated that they voted for the AfD not out of conviction, but out of disappointment with the other parties.
The AfD received 7.1 percent of the vote in the 2014 European elections in Germany and entered the European Parliament with seven members ; she joined the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group.
In the local elections in ten German states that took place at the same time as the European elections, the AfD entered various local parliaments. The party achieved its best national municipal result in Saxony. According to its own information, 485 AfD mandate holders were elected for the municipal councils , district councils , representations in the respective independent cities and the district council of the Palatinate in the local elections.
In all three state elections in 2014, the party entered the state parliaments for the first time. In the state elections in Saxony , the AfD received 14 state parliament seats with 9.7 percent of the second vote . In the state elections in Brandenburg and Thuringia , which took place two weeks later , the AfD received 12.2 percent and 10.6 percent of the vote, respectively.
Based on a study by the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach , Renate Köcher described the AfD in October 2014 as a party in which voters rallied, for whom European integration is going too far and for whom immigration sometimes causes unease. The common currency and the European level would be viewed more critically by AfD supporters than by the population average. The supporters see the EU as a risk to Germany's prosperity, find it cumbersome and fear that national characteristics will be lost in it. In contrast, the peace theme and the common economic area played a smaller role than the population average. For AfD supporters it is also important that the AfD break the consensus of the other parties. Many see in it a party that is clearly different from other parties, represents positions that are widespread among the population, fills a gap in the party spectrum and brings a breath of fresh air into politics. The supporters see the party aims to limit immigration, to strive for tougher asylum laws, to abolish the euro , to reduce the importance of the European level and to represent national interests more decisively. At the same time, they see the AfD as an advocate for more citizen participation , internal security , reforms , social justice and the interests of business and the middle class . Almost three quarters of the supporters believed that the AfD had the best future concepts of all parties. Only in the case of the Union parties is the supporters' trust in their party similarly high.
The eighth Mitte study published in June 2014 by the University of Leipzig on right-wing extremist attitudes in Germany surveyed 2,432 people, 52 of whom said they would vote for the AfD in an upcoming federal election. Of these, 26 (50%) represented xenophobic , 15 (29%) chauvinist (arrogant nationalist) and 7 (13%) anti-Semitic views, according to the classification pattern of the Mitte study . In these individual positions, they were in second place behind the supporters of right-wing extremist parties. In a survey commissioned by the SPD- affiliated Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and published in November 2014, 68 out of 1915 people said they wanted to vote for the AfD in an upcoming federal election. According to the survey's classification pattern, an above-average number of chauvinistic (41%), xenophobic (16%) and National Socialism (14%) statements agreed.
According to analyzes by forsa and the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft , in 2014 the AfD's supporters differed significantly from that of right-wing extremist parties. At that time, AfD supporters came from the upper and middle classes with a relatively high income and a relatively high level of schooling. Less than 10% were very worried about their own economic situation. Nevertheless, sympathizers of the AfD and groups such as the NPD or DVU shared a pessimistic general economic expectation, as well as a low level of trust in the competence of the parties represented in the Bundestag and an above-average proportion of men and women without religious affiliation. Employees and pensioners in particular enjoyed the AfD's course; The self-employed , civil servants and workers in the electorate tend to be fewer. 55% of AfD sympathizers were in the political center , 28% on the right and 17% on the left .
2015: Citizenship elections in Hamburg and Bremen
The state elections fell into a phase of intra-party power struggle. The AfD jumped just under the five percent hurdle and entered both parliaments.
In a representative survey published in October 2015 by Infratest dimap on behalf of ARD , 6% of those surveyed stated that they wanted to vote for the AfD (see Sunday survey ). 95% of AfD supporters were dissatisfied with the government (satisfied: 5%), the worst value of all parties surveyed. 93% of AfD supporters rated the consequences of immigration as rather disadvantageous (rather advantages: 1%) and 79% were in favor of easing the sanctions against Russia (maintaining sanctions: 21%). In a further survey by the same institute from November 2015, a majority of 93% were in favor of the "establishment of transit zones at the borders" (against: 5%) and 83% showed very great or great understanding for Pegida (little / no Understanding: 12%). In the Sunday question, 8% said they wanted to vote for the AfD (of which: West Germany 7%, East Germany 12%). The growth of the AfD compared to the 2013 federal election is fueled in particular by former voters of the Union (950,000 voters), the SPD (250,000 voters) and the Left Party (250,000 voters).
Local elections in Hesse
On March 6, 2016, the AfD received 11.9 percent of the votes cast in the local elections in Hesse .
In the state elections in 2016, the AfD was supported by distributing the free newspaper Extrablatt to millions of households. The pamphlet came from the Swiss Goal AG of SVP-affiliated PR entrepreneur Alexander Segert .
According to a study by the Institute of German Economy, the composition of the electorate had changed little in April 2016 compared to 2014. The study found that 33.9 percent of AfD voters belong to the richest fifth of the population - in contrast to the economic background of NPD voters - and the AfD can therefore be described as a party of the better-off. In addition, there was only a very weak correlation between worries about immigration and net household income; the fears about immigration are therefore independent of income.
Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt
The AfD ran for the first time in the three state elections on March 13th. In the state elections in Baden-Württemberg it achieved 15.1 percent of the vote, in the state elections in Rhineland-Palatinate in 2016 12.6 percent and in the state elections in Saxony-Anhalt 24.3 percent. It thus became the second strongest force in Saxony-Anhalt after the CDU and the third strongest parliamentary group in the other two countries. She won 15 direct mandates in Saxony-Anhalt and 2 direct mandates in Baden-Württemberg. In Saxony-Anhalt, the AfD moved into a state parliament with the best result ever achieved by a new party.
In the state elections in March 2016, an above-average number of workers and unemployed people voted for the AfD, almost 30 percent in Baden-Württemberg and more than a third in Saxony-Anhalt . According to Robert Pausch, co-author of a study for the Otto Brenner Foundation , most AfD voters had a low to intermediate level of education and belonged to the “social democratic core clientele”. It is typical for AfD voters to be skeptical about processes of social modernization; An above-average number of their voters, 35 percent, are worried about their own economic situation and are dissatisfied with the way democracy works.
State elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Berlin
On September 4, the AfD received 20.8 percent of the votes cast in the state elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania , making it the second strongest force behind the SPD , and 14.2 percent in the 2016 election to the Berlin House of Representatives .
In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, according to the results of representative electoral statistics from the Elections Research Group, men were again more often elected than women. The AfD also got its best result in the election in the group of workers (27 percent); in the case of salaried employees (18 percent) and civil servants (17 percent), however, their results were below average. In the age groups of 18 to 29 year olds and the over 60 year olds it achieved 17 percent each, while it achieved 24 percent in the 30 to 59 year olds.
According to the results of the research by Verena Hambauer and Anja Mays, “the AfD changed to the party of the 'little people' and the fearful with regard to its electorate in the summer of 2016 [...]”. It attracts "in comparison to the electorate of the other parties, below-average formal education, who also feel that they belong to the lower class in the majority".
In contrast to these individual election results, a regression analysis of the data from the Socio-Economic Panel from 2016 showed that the rejection of refugee immigration had the strongest direct influence on party identification with the AfD. The competition for jobs and social benefits has an impact on the social status, which only appears as an indirect, much weaker influencing variable. The author Holger Lengfeld and the author Clara Dilger thus ascribe a higher plausibility to the “thesis of the cultural threat” than to the “modernization loser thesis”. The explanatory approaches populism and protest voting behavior could not be examined in this context. Only one aspect of the "line of conflict between cosmopolitans and communitarists " postulated in political science was considered. However, the authors conclude that there is a fundamental conflict of values with established parties that cannot be resolved either through a pure distribution policy or through the task of a more liberal immigration policy - which leads to its own loss of voters. From this, they predicted that the AfD would be permanently established in the party structure in 2018.
Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate
In the state elections in Baden-Württemberg in 2016 and in Rhineland-Palatinate in 2016, the AfD was voted the most by people who belong to neither the Catholic nor the Protestant Church: According to a study by Infratest dimap , the AfD achieved 19 percent of this group of voters in both countries . Among the Protestants, the proportion of AfD voters corresponded to the national average (15 percent in Baden-Württemberg, 13 percent in Rhineland-Palatinate). The AfD was below average success with the Catholics (13 percent in Baden-Württemberg, 10 percent in Rhineland-Palatinate). A voter survey in Freiburg showed that every third voter with a migration background gave the AfD their vote.
A Forsa survey commissioned by Die Zeit showed that 30 percent of AfD supporters trust Russian President Vladimir Putin more than Chancellor Merkel. Only sympathizers of the Left Party achieved similarly high values (31 percent) (for comparison, supporters of the CDU or SPD 3-4, FDP 6 and Greens 2 percent). When asked whether Putin was right in claiming that the West would again treat Russia hostile as it did during the Cold War , 78 percent of AfD sympathizers answered in the affirmative.
2017: Elections in Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein, North Rhine-Westphalia, to the Bundestag
In March 2017, another study by the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft came to the conclusion that AfD supporters belonged to the middle of society. Your income level is slightly above average. 55 percent have an intermediate level of education (Realschule), 25 percent a high and 20 percent a low level. It is therefore just as impossible to speak of a fringe group phenomenon as of a “ precarious party”. Compared to society as a whole, AfD voters are pessimistic, with immigration, crime and the country's social cohesion triggering the greatest concerns.
Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein, North Rhine-Westphalia
Before the state elections in Saarland on March 26, 2017 , 500,000 copies of a ten-page extra sheet were distributed with which the " Association for the Preservation of the Rule of Law and Civil Liberties " called for the AfD to be elected in the state elections. The AfD received 6.2 percent of the vote in the state elections in Saarland and entered the Saarland state parliament with three members .
Also for the state elections in Schleswig-Holstein 2017 on May 7th, the "association" distributed an extra sheet with a circulation of approx. 500,000 copies. There the AfD received 5.9 percent of the vote.
The Association for the Preservation of the Rule of Law and Civil Liberties distributed 2.6 million copies of the campaign newspaper Extrablatt in the weeks leading up to the NRW election and rented around 2000 advertising space. In doing so, he raised the mood against refugees and called for the AfD to be voted in the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 14, 2017 . The AfD received 7.4% of the vote.
The AfD received 12.6% of the second votes and 94 seats in the 2017 federal election. In addition, she won three direct mandates in Saxony, where she was the strongest person in terms of second votes with 27%. Overall, the AfD performed significantly better in the eastern German federal states than in the west, with its highest results in the regions near the border with Poland and the Czech Republic and in rural communities and small towns - often as the party with the most votes - scored higher than in larger cities . Münster was the only one of a total of 299 constituencies in which the AfD received less than five percent of the vote.
The largest group of voters in East and West were middle-aged men, whereby according to the Leipzig sociology professor Holger Lengfeld, it was not necessarily an individually unsatisfactory economic situation that was decisive for the voting decision, but rather a "cultural dependency" with a weariness of changes in the course of a globalized world.
The propaganda researcher at Oxford University Lisa-Maria Neudert determined that the AfD accounted for 30% of the data volume for the federal election in social media during the election campaign and thus left the other parties well behind. The reason for this was not social bots : supporters, among whom Neudert saw the Reconquista Germanica to be mentioned in particular , would have made the AfD “appear bigger than it is” on the Internet.
Election observers of the OSCE pointed out in its final report on the peculiarity that by the Association for the preservation of the rule of law and civil liberties with about 600,000 copies of the weekly Germany courier was advertised and specifically for the general election designed posters and online ads for the AFD. In its final report, the OSCE therefore recommended that future regulation of election campaigns by third parties should be considered in order to ensure transparency and accountability in the electoral process. Among the elected AfD members of the Bundestag, the proportion of women was 10.6%, lower than in all other parties represented in the 19th Bundestag, which resulted in the lowest proportion of women among the members since the 1998 Bundestag election . With the resignation of the Bundestag member Verena Hartmann from the parliamentary group and the party in January 2020, the parliamentary group still has nine women. With her, the parliamentary group lost the fifth member since the 2017 election, shrinking to 89 MPs.
In the 2017 federal election , according to an election analysis by the Elections Research Group, the AfD was again voted significantly more often by men (16%) than by women (9%). The AfD achieved its best results with 16% in the 30 to 49 age group. In contrast, the AfD performed worse than the average among voters over 60 and in the 18 to 29 age group. For people with a university degree, the party only got 7%. The AfD was also chosen by the unemployed with an above-average rate. Furthermore, the AfD is much more successful in East Germany than in West Germany.
According to a Bertelsmann study, the AfD received 28 percent of the vote in the socially precarious milieu in the Bundestag election, which is the strongest result in all milieus. In the middle class, the party received 20 percent of the vote, which is around 15 percentage points up on the previous federal election, while the CDU and CSU lost about the same amount. Almost two thirds of all AfD voters come from milieus that are more skeptical of modernization. The categorization of the people according to the milieus in the study was carried out according to a technique developed by the Sinus Institute based on their social situation, values, lifestyles and basic orientations.
State election of Lower Saxony
In the state election on October 15, 2017 , the AfD received 6.2 percent of the vote and 9 of the 137 seats in the state parliament. As a study by the Göttingen Institute for Democracy Research shows, the party was able to achieve above-average results above all in those parts of the country where there is a relatively high level of unemployment, increased non-denomination and a comparatively low voter turnout.
In the European elections in Germany in 2019 , the AfD had a nationwide share of 11 percent of the vote.
In the state elections in Saxony in 2019 , the AfD received 27.5 percent of the second vote, in Brandenburg it was 23.5 percent. This made it the second strongest force in both state parliaments. In addition, the political scientist Aiko Wagner commented that the AfD in the east is partly replacing the left as a “protest party”. That has to do with the fact that the left has been co-governing in various regions for many years and is therefore "part of the establishment" from the point of view of many people. AfD voters are not necessarily people who are doing badly or who have experienced relegation, but rather the party addresses people from the petty bourgeoisie, "who in their perception have done something to make them feel good," but vaguely Fears about the future that everything will be very bad if things continue as before. In some areas, such as in the southeast of Brandenburg, the party benefits from “right-wing networks” and a symbiosis with Pegida and new-right movements. It is “no coincidence” that the AfD is strong where the NPD used to be.
A study by the Universities of Bielefeld and Münster, published in October 2019 in the specialist magazine Frontiers in Psychology , found that the AfD was successful in the 2017 federal election where many people were unemployed in the previous year. In the election year, more hateful acts, i.e. attacks on refugees and refugee shelters, were registered in regions where the AfD was successful. As far as the proportion of foreigners is concerned, there are large regional differences, according to the study: In Germany as a whole, there are fewer acts of hatred with a higher proportion of foreigners, in the East it is the other way round. Similar differences emerged for the relationship between the proportion of foreigners and the success of the AfD: In the east, the party was less successful with a high proportion of foreigners in the region concerned, in the west the opposite was found in some regions.
In the state elections in Thuringia in 2019 , the AfD received 23.4 percent of the second vote with a turnout of 64.9 percent, making it the second largest parliamentary group in the Thuringian state parliament.
2020: State elections in Hamburg
In the 2020 Hamburg citizenship election , the AfD received 5.3 percent of the vote, which corresponds to seven seats in the citizenship.
A representative survey by Infratest dimap on behalf of the NDR media magazine ZAPP 2020 showed that 20 percent of eligible voters in Germany believe that “politics and the media deliberately exaggerate the danger of the corona virus in order to deceive the public”. AfD supporters, however, agreed to this deception thesis to 54 percent. Of all respondents, 68 percent considered the public media to be credible when reporting on Corona. AfD supporters had the lowest trust in the public media (27 percent).
In the run-up to the 2021 federal election , the Bertelsmann Foundation published the results of a representative survey by YouGov from June 2020 in February 2021. 10,055 people took part in the survey. According to this, 29 percent of AfD voters have a “manifest right-wing extremist ” attitude and a further 27 percent represent a “latent right-wing extremist” attitude. 15 percent of those surveyed support a right-wing dictatorship , 13 percent trivialize National Socialism , 13 percent represent anti-Semitism , 54 percent chauvinism , 65 percent xenophobia and 8 percent social Darwinism . Compared to voters from other parties and all eligible voters, the proportion of such attitudes is in some cases significantly higher.
For the federal election campaign in 2021, the party members determined the Bundestag parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel and the federal chairman Tino Chrupalla to be top candidates with 71 percent of the votes in a member survey . So they prevailed against the second pair of candidates Joana Cotar and Joachim Wundrak . The turnout was 48 percent of the members.
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Reception and interpretation
For the entire history of the AfD, some interpretation patterns are consistently present. The EU skepticism with which the AfD occupies "a niche in the party landscape" in Germany is seen as a connecting element .
A distinction is often made between three main currents within the party. They are widely referred to as national conservative, right-wing populist and economically liberal, or they are given comparable adjectives. Therefore, the AfD is repeatedly asked whether it wants to be "a conservative, in case of doubt a national-conservative party in the style of Alfred Dregger " or whether it wants to radicalize itself further.
Moderate programs are seen as a contrast to radical political goals that appear in the rhetoric and agitation of AfD politicians, sometimes also as a calculation to conceal these goals.
The AfD was initially directed against the euro and the management of the debt and banking crisis, but not against the European Union. In this way, she has forced other parties to adopt a clearer course on European policy.
In general, the AfD was viewed as a protest party that could use positions vacated by the Union parties and, despite its national liberal and conservative orientation, also win left-wing voters with the euro issue. There was disagreement about the weight of their populist appearance. While it was sometimes viewed as nonexistent or barely there, “large parts of political science” described the entire party as right-wing populist.
A social media analysis by linkfluence showed hardly any overlap between AfD and NPD. In European politics she was attested to have a big difference to Front National , PVV and FPÖ . Cooperation between UKIP and AfD, on the other hand, seemed conceivable, summarized British political scientist Nicholas Startin : "Both want to expand immigration to include qualitative criteria, both want to crush the rescue packages, both want to bring decision-making back to the nation states." AfD made it clear that right-wing extremism would not be tolerated. Nevertheless, it partially opened up to formerly right-wing partisans.
An analysis by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung described the AfD in April 2013 as a “party from above” with a considerable democratic deficit that resembled a marketing campaign. A substantive participation of the new party members is undesirable.
Even after the 2013 federal election, the AfD was portrayed as liberal-conservative and right-wing or nationally conservative or nationally liberal and “right of the Union”. “Defensive nationalism”, conservative family policies and “tough” asylum and immigration policies were seen as characteristic.
The party was also seen in context and as the “result of a populist zeitgeist”. Contrary to individual votes, it has now been increasingly classified as at least partially right-wing populist or in the “gray area” between right-wing populist and right-wing extremist. “Massive squabbles and directional battles” went hand in hand with a “right-wing trend at the base of the party”. There are verbal xenophobic failures at the local level .
Helmut Kellershohn ruled that after the state elections in Saxony in 2014, the AfD's conservative and national conservative party wing had gained popularity. He now named three essential cornerstones of the AfD: "National liberalism, Christian conservatism and ethnic nationalism ". In addition, one tries conceptually, inter alia. to tie in with the "state restructuring" of the declining Weimar Republic with plebiscite elements and the reorganization of the right to vote . The AfD is a "lever" for the New Right to drive the Union parties from the right. The long-term goal is a kind of modernized "folk-conservative movement" in terms of journalism and party politics.
In a comparative analysis of her 2014 European election program, her website and Facebook presence, however, Kai Arzheimer could not prove any radicalism, nativism or populism for the AfD, but saw it because of its national, market-liberal orientation and "its resistance to state-supported programs to promote sexual Diversity and Gender Mainstreaming ”right of the other parties. Your program resembles that of a CSU not limited to Bavaria. However, Facebook posts would point to more radical currents among ordinary members and followers.
After the state elections in 2014, Werner J. Patzelt claimed that the established parties had inappropriately devalued the AfD as a “right-wing populist party light” in order to get rid of it. According to Elmar Wiesendahl , the AfD was new to Germany as a party and comparable to the Republicans in the USA . Wolfgang Renzsch did not consider the AfD to be a pure protest party, but saw parallels to right-wing movements and parties in other European countries that also attracted protest voters. According to Jürgen W. Falter , the AfD “addressed taboo issues that other parties neglect or which they even avoid entirely”. It is programmatically similar to the CDU in the 1980s and the SVP in Switzerland.
In 2014, parallels were increasingly drawn to the founding phase of the Greens , including by politicians of this party, such as Hubert Kleinert . Chaos potential and right-wing radical infiltration are comparable problems. Exclusion and demonization did not lead to the party disappearing, but to “a kind of bonus for the persecuted”. In 2015, Kleinert specified that the AfD collects euro critics, liberal-conservative dignitaries , populist protests against immigration and the supposed rule of political correctness, as well as “people addicted to recognition, those who have failed elsewhere, cross-drivers and troublemakers of all kinds”. He predicted that a “Petry AfD” would “leave the spectrum of democratic parties”.
From the Essen party congress
After the Essen party conference in 2015, the AfD saw a shift to the right that the party might “not survive”. The fight for the direction of the party had been decided in favor of the right-wing conservative wing under Frauke Petry, with a fuzzy demarcation from the right-wing fringe. Their right-wing populist positions are not only compatible with the party's economically liberal and national-conservative currents, but "in a certain way even related to one another". They would be brought together in a national "acquis or competitive populism".
The spectrum of the AfD ranges from "conservative to right-wing extremist". It is "in large parts right-wing radicalized". Björn Höcke is running a "fascist agitation". Several political and historical scholars saw the AfD as a folk- national party. For example, the family policy of the AfD was associated with Christian fundamentalist , ethnic and negative demographic ideas, which means that it can be connected to the extreme right .
For the political scientist Torsten Oppelland , the conflicts that led to the first split in the party had "more to do with different priorities, political styles and power interests than with programmatic differences." same way again. "
According to Samuel Salzborn , the AfD is, "to put it simply, the party of the average and mediocre, who feel that they are outclassed because they consider themselves to be above average". They offer identification possibilities and the prospect of their own interests, "also unrestrained by the interests of others." For the " nationalist-nationalist " clientele according to self-designation concerned citizens from the partially academically educated middle class, which Enlightenment , rational thinking and equality are hateful, Previously, there was a lack of a party that "combined all of the anti-Enlightenment resentment in itself, but at the same time continually denied being right-wing extremists". The AfD promised liberation for these people from the burden of the Nazi past, avoiding the question of their “own socio-economic incapacity” and offering “ projection surfaces for both ” in order to “search and pursue these deficits all the more brutally with the others “To be able to. The fundamental right to freedom of expression is misinterpreted "with an anti-democratic thrust" and placed against other fundamental rights such as human dignity or the principle of equality. "Neither völkisch agitation , nor racism, nor sexism , nor anti-Semitism are [however] in consensus with the constitution." The attempt is made to "position the means of democracy against democracy". Any allegation by the party that one could not express one's opinion on certain points in fact proves the freedom of expression applicable here, since one can freely express such an assertion.
According to Andreas Rödder, parties were always founded on the "edge of the political consensus". Such arose after the development of the union parties to the left in the question of the “ever closer union” in Europe and the refugee issue as well as with regard to the “culture of diversity, anti-discrimination and inclusion”. The AfD also distanced itself from Western traditions and turned to German national traditions.
According to the historian Heinrich August Winkler , the AfD embodies “such a degree of reactionary right-wing extremist tendencies” that parallels to the period before 1933 can be seen, “namely among the German nationalists who worked ahead of the Nazis in their opposition to Weimar . "
From the point of view of the social historian Christoph Rass , what is special and “particularly dangerous” about the party is that it has “combined right-wing revisionism in the tradition of many small parties since 1945 with efforts to be socially connected to the center”. She has points of contact with ultra-conservative intellectuals that enable her to “network in science and neoconservative think tanks ”. The NPD or the Republicans lacked such access , even though the political profile was increasingly converging. Despite many currents, the party recognized the importance of its unity. Therefore, this phenomenon will not take care of itself, but it is important that the citizens stand against what is happening here.
For the historian Paul Nolte , the AfD's goal is “a Germany modeled on Viktor Orbán , an 'illiberal democracy'”. She propagated a “worldview of resentment, with ever new conspiracy theories and scapegoats. In principle, this is a world view of permanent being betrayed. The problem is: this notion has already eaten its way into society ”.
The historical image of the party is based on “a right-wing historical policy”, which is “about cultural hegemony ”. By breaking taboos, the attempt is made to achieve political validity for positions that "could only be pushed out of the political arena with great difficulty and in a process that lasted for decades". The AfD is trying to reverse this “process of civilization”. The historical revisionism within the AfD aims to re-establish a system of categories that Germany had renounced after 1945; the principle of equality of all people, which in Germany never had to be justified abstractly after 1945, is being attacked. Wherever it leads in extreme cases, "if people are categorized into those of value and those of little or no value", has "strengthened the moral consciousness of this country in a unique way". The AfD is pursuing a "demoralization strategy", the success of which is already that migrants "rights are being denied more and more frivolously". At the beginning of 2019, the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel documented attacks on the principle of equality of all people in the context of a large collection of statements by members of the AfD in the Bundestag and in the state parliaments as well as by AfD state boards.
From autumn 2018
After the xenophobic riots in Chemnitz in 2018 , the joint demonstration with neo-Nazis, hooligans and violent criminals, as well as a lack of demarcation, was widely criticized. Holger Stark saw parts of the “party as a sound amplifier for the racist, violence-prone mob that raged through the streets of Chemnitz”, and accused the AfD of having “unleashed” the “mob” “by only following hours on Sunday in fact, her followers took to the streets shouted “. Detlef Esslinger wrote in the SZ that the AfD was "riddled with right-wing extremist enemies of democracy. [...] Nobody should persuade themselves that the AfD is not that bad, it does not mean it literally. That would be naive, convenient and ultimately cowardly. ”In this context, Esslinger also drew parallels to Max Frisch's drama Biedermann and the Arsonists .
In September 2018, the political scientist Maik Fielitz noted a clear radicalization of the party; From a scientific point of view, it now belongs “clearly to the spectrum of right-wing extremist parties in Europe”. The party already reveals its "anti-democratic core" through its claim to sole representation; the propagation of a völkisch worldview, the exclusion of a large number of people and the reduction of complex social processes to “ Manichean explanatory models ” with their classification into “good or bad” or “right or wrong” can still be observed .
In March 2019, the n-tv journalist Benjamin Konietzny criticized the fact that leading AfD politicians who commented on breaking news "within minutes" after an Islamist attack did not speak until hours later or not at all after an anti-Muslim attack such as in Christchurch Report. This is “by no means a coincidence and the message contained therein cannot be overheard”.
For the journalist Jan Sternberg , the AfD is “irredeemably torn between West and East, the last bourgeoisie and the increasingly radical right, between conspiracy theorists and post hunters”. Factual politics and politics in general were not to be expected from her; the “shadow of the AfD and its angry voters” falls over the entire political system and paralyzes any constructive debate. In the Spiegel , Christian Stöcker judged that the AfD is "constantly [...] guilty of verbal and non-verbal aggression and hate speech" and that it is a "party that is indifferent to law, decency and logic".
According to a study by the economist Davide Cantoni, there is a strong correlation in AfD election results between the election results in the places where the NSDAP was increasingly elected and places in which the AfD has been successful in elections today. The NSDAP votes in the elections in 1928 , 1930 and 1933 were used for the study . Cantoni rejected a direct comparison of the content between the AfD and the NSDAP, but emphasized that both parties apparently address people “with relatively quick and nationally colored solutions to problems and crises of the time, with their insider-outsider thinking”.
At the beginning of 2019, Armin Pfahl-Traughber assessed the AfD as a right-wing extremist party, even though the “intensity of extremism” was lower than that of the NPD and “right-wing democratic minorities” continued to exist. The moderate liberal-conservative forces in the party have meanwhile lost their mainstay. For Gideon Botsch (2019), the AfD is not a consistently nationalist or right-wing extremist party, but a “collecting party”; However, it is "dominated by right-wing extremists more than before." The distancing from extremism is "rhetoric". With the party no "moderation through parliamentary practice" can be seen, but an even stronger radicalization. The right-wing extremist wing took over certain practices from the NPD and rejected other, more unsuccessful ones. Similarly, the SZ journalist Jens Schneider saw measures taken against threatened observation by the protection of the constitution, such as the dissolution of the JA state association of Lower Saxony, party exclusion proceedings or the preparation of guidelines for constitutional speaking and writing as “ camouflage ”. The party leadership does not want “a clear rejection of xenophobia or agitation against Islam, but only a supposedly unassailable choice of words”.
According to a study by media scientists Thomas Hestermann and Elisa Hoven, the AfD systematically stirs up fear of immigrants in press releases on the subject of crime. On the basis of the AfD's 242 press reports from 2018 on this topic and after comparing them with the crime statistics, they come to the conclusion: "As far as the AfD mentions the nationality of suspects, 95 percent of them are foreigners, only 5 percent German."
In 2019, the historian Patrice Poutrus certified that the party was polemicising “against existing regulations of the free-democratic basic order”. The attempt by the party to take over the political revolution in 1989 in the GDR for election campaign purposes also shows "how far this party's staff is from recognizing the constitutional order of the Federal Republic ". According to Poutrus, the "demands for a surveillance and police state to be expanded and for the persecution of political opponents [...], ethnic homogeneity of the state people or the denial of civil and human rights for supposedly foreigners from the community, [...] good and." like to be seen as the idea of a GDR 2.0 ”.
The Amadeu Antonio Foundation warned in August 2019 against describing the AfD only as right-wing populist. The party has meanwhile become a “modernized NPD ” because it takes on many NPD issues, such as racism and Nazi relativization, and also uses corresponding vocabulary such as that of an alleged “ Umvolkung ”. The party defames democratic actors and tries to silence them because it has meanwhile arrived in all parts of society. It has "developed into the parliamentary arm of the extreme right, which attacks democracy in its foundations like never before". Civil society organizations would have to differentiate themselves more from the AfD, "ingratiating on the AfD" would only strengthen it. The most important means against the staging of the party actors is to aggressively introduce and represent the Basic Law as well as "one's own issues, one's own image of society and democratic, pluralistic narratives ".
The German political scientist Robert Feustel from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena said in an interview in 2019 that the AfD was "not interested in democratic decision-making, but in overthrowing the basic democratic order". It is "at its core a fascist party, especially in the East German federal states"; because on the one hand it stages "the racist German people as a victim" and on the other hand uses the word democracy without minority rights or negotiation, which means "a plebiscitary leadership democracy , ie an autocratic government supported by the people with a strong leader". If they are excluded from discourse, one hears from AfD circles the accusation of censorship. That only their opinion counts is a characteristic of " proto-fascist actors".
According to the political scientist and right-wing extremism researcher Hajo Funke (October 2019), the AfD is complicit in right-wing terror. Funke referred to the joint appearance of AfD politicians such as Uwe Junge , Björn Höcke and Andreas Kalbitz with hooligans and right-wing extremists at the so-called funeral march in Chemnitz on September 1, 2018. The fact that a Bundestag party stood together with right-wing extremists was "a beacon with far-reaching consequences ”.
Katja Thorwarth ( Frankfurter Rundschau ) said in October , based on a posting by AfD Salzgitter, which wrote on the occasion of the AfD's entry into the Bundestag that "the next phase in the war against the most disgusting system that ever existed on German soil" began 2019: "Anyone who fables about war and paints scenarios similar to civil war does not need to be surprised when structural thinking is continued and right-wing terror is implemented as a political action."
According to Gideon Botsch , the AfD electoral successes, especially in the East, as well as "the anti-parliamentary Radauppolitik of the AfD parliamentary groups" have been influenced by the NPD and the "right-wing extremist mobilizations in the 2000s", which is what the "experiences with marches" and the " parliamentary obstruction work of fundamental oppositional right-wing groups ”. Obviously, "a part of the extreme right-wing and anti-Semitic spectrum within the AfD [...] belonged to the political and cultural environment of the NPD in the 1990s and 2000s" or was "at least caught up in its activities". NPD slogans and catchphrases such as “Lügenpresse”, “Überfremdung” or “Volksgemeinschaft” are increasingly being used in the AfD and its milieu, and the racist insults that are an integral part of the AfD's repertoire correspond to the language of the NPD and theirs Milieus.
Alexander Gauland's remark after the state elections in Thuringia in 2019 that he placed Björn Höcke in the “center” of the party was interpreted by right-wing extremism researcher Matthias Quent as evidence that the AfD “has now arrived at right-wing extremism”. As a party as a whole, this should “ensure” the attention of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. He also called for the party to be labeled as right-wing extremists, since it "calls fundamental and human rights into question". This radical element must also be named so that voters can no longer talk themselves out of their alleged protest voters ; because it is very much an "ideological agreement". Not everyone in the AfD is an “ideological right-wing radical”, but every party member and every AfD voter supports “a party with a right-wing objective”.
The political scientist and sociologist Floris Biskamp , based on data from research projects on the spread of group-related misanthropic and authoritarian attitudes, takes the view that there has always been "potential for a right-wing extremist party that is successful in the double-digit range" in Germany. The AfD is mobilizing an existing potential. Regarding the shifting of the “limits of what can be said”, he stated that there had also been “relativizations of National Socialism, [...] racism, anti-Semitism, sexism , heterosexism like today with the AfD” in the decades of post-war history , and named the names Helmut Kohl , Alfred Dregger , Martin Hohmann and Franz-Josef Strauss . The everyday forms of racism and sexism are much more likely to be publicly problematized today than in the 1990s and could no longer be expressed without being contradicted. According to Biskamp, the radical and extreme right is a real danger; however, he sees the AfD's successes primarily due to the loss of binding force of the popular parties. The main danger for democracy at present is that “other parties copy and normalize right-wing populist rhetoric and politics”.
The AfD is not a bourgeois party, but, as the social scientist Alexander Häusler noted in November 2019, "more and more an openly right-wing extremist party". They are pursuing a “populist  escalation strategy” and are driving “the political discourse further to the far right”. Häusler sees a historical parallel in the fact that there was “ a certain affinity for right-wing extremist groups” among the conservative bourgeoisie “under the slogan of the conservative revolution ”.
Jens Schneider (Süddeutsche Zeitung) stated on the occasion of the reactions from the AfD after Stephan Brandner was voted out of the chairmanship of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Bundestag that the AfD politicians “- as soon as they come under pressure - cannot appear bourgeois at all, because they have moderation and moderation lack and any ability for self-criticism is missing ”. Instead, the party is practicing “the tried and tested victim role forward” and trying “as always to capitalize on the cause”. Alice Weidel continues to play the role, according to Severin Weiland (Der Spiegel) , and spoke to journalists of “stupid questions” at a press conference. "So much contempt for media representatives" is known from " Trump America, but so far not from a German parliament".
After the AfD federal party conference on November 30 / December 1, 2019 in Braunschweig, Martin Schmidt ( tagesschau.de ) stated that the party with its new board had not moved further to the right, but the extreme “wing” “already in theirs Middle "is. In the matter, the AfD remains "tough on the right". Schmidt criticized, among other things, the nomination of Stephan Brandner , who has lost the chairmanship of the legal committee in the Bundestag because of “a series of extreme taboos on the far right”, as one of three deputy party chairmen. According to Jan Rosenkranz ( Stern ) - even if Björn Höcke is still “not even on the party's executive board” - a “real shift to the right” has taken place “in the slipstream” of the new “apparently moderate top”. Tino Chrupalla, as the new second party spokesman, was also the preferred candidate , although not a member of the wing .
According to Jens Schneider (Süddeutsche Zeitung), there was no further shift to the right at the party congress, since “we have long since arrived far to the right in the political spectrum”. At this event, too, there were “propaganda against refugees and migrants” as well as “tirades against all those who do not think as nationally as they do in Germany”. Björn Höcke's wing "established itself as a recognized power factor in the party" and the right-wing camp blocked candidates from the so-called more moderate camp in the election of board members. According to Schneider, the party leaders “fuel the contempt and hatred of the other parties”. The center of power has long been the AfD parliamentary group; Gauland remains a "key figure" even though he has withdrawn from the party leadership. Looking at the 14 other federal board members besides Chrupalla and Meuthen, it becomes clear, according to Tilman Steffen in the time , that the influence of Höcke's radical wing on the federal level of the party is “unchanged”; i.a. he mentions the choice of Brandner and Kalbitz as examples. West German delegates also vote for candidates from the wing camp “by means of previously agreed candidacies and lists of names”, even if this is “in contrast to the self-portrayal of the AfD as a particularly grassroots-democratic force”.
For the Germanist and literary scholar Heinrich Detering , there is a "hexing of political discourse" through the AfD's "headwords and fighting vocabulary, calculated provocative violations of rules of politeness and tact, which the violators see as trophies of their alleged struggle against templates and speech prohibitions of an omnipresent political." Attach correctness to your lapel ”. For them it is "not about argumentative superiority, but about opening up and occupying discursive fields".
Political scientist Wolfgang Schroeder sees the party's “dynamic for success” as being based on the “mixture of pragmatic and radical”. Although it is consolidating itself through resources made available by the state, it has "not yet found any internal mechanism that would have really resulted in the consolidation of the party in the sense of acceptance of the parliamentary-representative context". One must therefore assume that “the very high proportion of right-wing extremists in the AfD, who only have a tactical relationship with the rules of the game of parliamentary democracy, dominates”.
The political scientist Karin Priester sees in the successes of the AfD a "return of the repressed ": Conservatism was long discredited as the stirrup holder of the National Socialists in Germany. The Conservative Revolution was completely marginal and only metapolitically active. Now this direction is pushing again with power to the public, in order to "overcome the Christian 'humility conservatism' of the old Federal Republic and to rethink conservatism as an avant-garde that is appropriate for the present ". The AfD is considered to be the appropriate vehicle for this.
For the political scientist Claus Leggewie , it is "about the political and moral ostracism of a party that wants to shoot representative democracy by storm, persecutes those who think and look different and belittles right-wing extremist terror as self-defense". Those who still vote for AfD today no longer have an excuse and the party's supporters do not deserve to be taken seriously as so-called concerned citizens. You have to "vigorously contradict and resist".
Patrick Stegemann and Sören Musyal state that the AfD method - two steps forward, one backward - has become “now an integral part of the political discourse”: “Two steps forward: shock. One back: Wasn't meant that way, we are still part of the 'normal' discourse. What resonates with it: 'But hey, think about what you don't mean!' "
The political scientist Steffen Kailitz , who works at the Hannah Arendt Institute for Research on Totalitarianism , contrasted the language of the AfD with that of the National Socialists . Using examples, he compared the language of the AfD with the description given by the Romanist Victor Klemperer of the language of the Third Reich . Klemperer had written in this connection: “Words can be like tiny arsenic cans . They are swallowed unnoticed and after a while the poisonous effect is there. ”Kailitz stated that the poison of the ethnic concept of the people had spread in German democracy. As countermeasures, he recommended, on the one hand, not to let the folkish contaminate key terms such as Germany, Germans, Volk and Citizen, as well as other central core symbols of German democracy, and, on the other hand, not to parrot “ignorantly racist distinctions such as 'Passport Germans' and 'Biodeutsche'”. In 2020, Kailitz distinguished between three phases of party development: Under the leadership of Bernd Luckes and Frauke Petrys, the AfD was a non-radical right-wing populist party that developed into a radical right-wing populist party under the leadership of Petrys and Jörg Meuthen and finally after a phase of extremization Leadership of Gauland and Meuthen has become a right-wing extremist party.
The conflict researcher Maik Fielitz and the social scientist Holger Marcks pointed out that right-wing movements "put their own actions [...] in the tradition of righteous resistance against totalitarian regimes". Accordingly, the AfD is trying z. For example, with the slogan Complete the turnaround "to join the opposition movement of the late GDR " or "to equate with the resistance against the National Socialists ", which is what the slogan " Sophie Scholl would vote for AfD" of the Nuremberg AfD district association stands for. In the overall assessment of the party in 2020, they came to the conclusion that the AfD “stands for an alliance of conservative angry citizens , new-right ideologues and convinced neo-Nazis ”.
At the beginning of March 2021, the literary scholar Marina Münkler said that she “had no doubt that the AfD has quite pronounced right-wing extremist tendencies”. You can also tell from their language. She also drew parallels between the language of the AfD and that of the NSDAP in the 1920s.
According to the journalists Katja Bauer and Maria Fiedler (2021), the behavior of the AfD can be “captured in a picture”: “Up on the stage, the politicians, as self-declared people's soul understanders, stir up the fire and keep adding up. And then the anger flares up. They look approvingly at their supporters who are chanting loudly below: 'Resistance! Resistance!'"
Internal battle of direction
After the announcement of the dissolution of the "wing" by the end of April 2020, Severin Weiland wrote in the Spiegel that the "moderates" in the AfD, "who sometimes do not differ too much in their choice of words from" wing " representatives", had only changed the assessment by the protection of the Constitution to act, as "many bourgeois in the party fear for their bourgeois existence". The "wing" supporters are still there and their influence remains, because they have "long been part of the DNA of this party". Alexander Jungkunz said in the Nürnberger Nachrichten that the “wing” wanted “to go where the AfD leaders themselves located”, namely in the middle of the party. However, if the “wing” in the party were to open up and take over command, the AfD would “quite openly be a Höcke party of the right-wing extremist type” and thus as a whole a case for the protection of the constitution.
The political scientist Oskar Niedermayer expressed himself in a similar way : Since the "wing" was only an informal association, it would hardly change anything if the members no longer met under this name. The leaders have retained their offices and are not weakened. The now missing clear delimitation could fall back on the party as a whole. Political scientist Hajo Funke said that the protection of the Constitution would hardly be deceived by a self-dissolution of the “wing” . If the "wing" is an observation case for the protection of the constitution "and there are so many wings in the party as a whole, then this is also an observation case".
Political scientist Marcel Lewandowsky considered a split in the party to be unlikely in May 2020, even after the dissolution of the wing and the exclusion of Kalbitz. The respective actors knew "that a split would basically not bring them any advantages". In such a case, they would “compete with one another in a relatively homogeneous electorate in terms of attitudes”, which could “lead to radicalization and outbidding”. According to Lewandowsky, the AfD is also “less divided on ideological issues”, but rather it is “about strategic divergences”.
With reference to Andreas Kalbitz's expulsion from the party, the political scientist Hajo Funke recalled that Jörg Meuthen, the driving force behind the expulsion, had praised Kalbitz a year earlier in the Brandenburg state election campaign and had also hounded Meuthen himself “against the 'cultural strangers' […]” . So it is not a matter of content, but "a tactical power struggle - one uses an ambiguity at the beginning of the membership of Kalbitz - and it is not about the ideological orientation". It was "a change happened, namely from the fermenting heap to the extreme right wing party". Gauland, as an apparent “mediator” between the currents, was also “always a mediator to the far right”, as he “held his hand” through Höcke, Kalbitz and also “through the Pegida wing”. The journalists Katja Bauer and Maria Fiedler are also of the opinion that the AfD no longer has the strength to “get rid of a Höcke or a Kalbitz in the regular way through a party exclusion process”, because Kalbitz's membership “could only be canceled with a legal trick” because he had "withheld his right-wing extremist vita" when joining the party.
After Joe Biden's election as President of the United States, Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel congratulated him, which parts of the party indignantly commented as politically unwise, outrageous and premature because they supported Donald Trump and his allegations of electoral fraud. Gauland and Weidel had also written themselves “that possible irregularities in the counts can be quickly clarified by the rule of law”.
According to the editorial network Germany , in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany, a "new unrest" has been detected that has "captured the AfD". She believes that "in the demand for an immediate end to the restrictions [...] to have found a new topic that will lead them out of their perception valley" and wants to benefit from "the growing displeasure" against these restrictions. According to the “five-point immediate program” presented by the party in mid-March 2020, since Corona is spreading “ever faster”, there was, according to Tagesschau.de , an internal party “conflict over the interpretation of the pandemic ”. More and more voices have called for a “radical opposing position” and so-called “Corona skeptics” are “more and more setting the tone”.
After troublemakers penetrated the Bundestag, who in November 2020 had access to parliament through the offices of three AfD MPs and who had harassed and insulted MPs who were taking part in the vote on a third infection protection law , Franka Welz wrote on Tagesschau.de , if you want to protect parliamentary democracy, you have to “hold the AfD accountable” and “not be satisfied with the - possibly hypocritical - distancing and condemnations from the top of the party and faction”. You see “the usual AfD script. Crossing borders, distancing ourselves and having a rich harvest on social media. ”Frank Werner ( Der neue Tag ) commented that the AfD“ can not get its claqueurs under control, it apparently does not want to either ”. The party remains "on a collision course with democracy and strives for its demise". According to Alexandra Föderl-Schmid ( Süddeutsche Zeitung ) , the AfD understands "provocations and deliberate twisting of history". Comparing the Infection Protection Act with the Enabling Act enforced by the Nazis is "historical humbug"; To equate the mask requirement with the exclusion of Jews from business during the Nazi era is "disgusting and cynical".
How to deal with the AfD
On dealing with the AfD, David Hugendick noted in October 2019 after the Thuringia election at the time that the often-voiced “social therapeutic idea” that one simply had to “simply listen more” did not just give the impression that it was “mainly misdirected Sensitivities and acute emotion management and less about manifest attitudes ”. She also suggests that “the great popularity of the AfD is primarily the product of a previously unsuccessful communication process by the other parties and not that of a successful AfD itself”. In the “idea of the healing, because supposedly previously failed listening” lies “the self-accusation of a liberal democracy, which prefers to blame itself for the existence of racists, misanthropists and their willingness to tolerate, instead of taking decisive action against them rhetorically” to the point of being ridiculous ”. On November 1, the Spiegel journalist Hasnain Kazim wrote on Twitter on the same subject: It was not about “reaching” AfD voters ”, but“ marginalizing them, ostracizing them, making life difficult for them to hold them accountable for wanting to pave the way for neo-Nazis and racists to gain power ”.
Verena Weidenbach quoted in November 2019 the time statements bourgeois circles and from the New Right magazine secession , after exclusion AFD'm just stronger and zutreibe their trailers, and warned you go "the right self-representation on the glue, if not the problem looks to the right itself, but to its opponents. With those who boycott right-wing podiums, who protest against the presence of right-wing publishers at the book fair or who set up anti-fascist street alliances. ”Because exclusion works very well and, according to Weidenbach, prevents“ stepping out of the Non-profit zone of right-wing margins and the mobilization of a broad mass base, which can only succeed by joining the 'middle class' ”. She advocates offering “right-wing protagonists as little 'resonance space' as possible (and as much as democratically necessary)” and using “inevitable disputes in the media or on the political stage” to “ sabotage camouflage techniques to thwart self-harming framing offensives with critical counter-speeches, to name anti- constitutional projects as such and to prevent predatory conceptual appropriations ". In this way, “the enemies of liberalism and their supporters remain recognizable as such” and “must of course be prepared to bear the social and political costs of their violations of norms”.
Climate change denial and environmental policy
Criticism of the AfD's denial of man-made climate change comes from climate researchers such as Stefan Rahmstorf , Mojib Latif and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber . The standard claims of the climate skeptics are “simply wrong”, and since the factual arguments are missing, it is “always down to the person”, such as the defamation of Greta Thunberg . According to ZDF, a study by Bern scientists shows that the current climate change differs significantly from previous changes. Jörg Meuthen claimed that two thirds of the studies did not come to a clear result, although the cause of climate change was not the subject of their research - whereas 97.1 percent of the papers that actually make statements about the reasons and responsibilities for climate change Declare people as the main culprit behind the current rise in temperature. Committees made up of several hundred scientists such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change would also come to corresponding results. According to Latif, studies on the relationship between CO 2 emissions and climate change now disputed by the AfD had already been carried out at the end of the 1980s , the results of which would be confirmed by current developments.
According to Michael Schäfer from WWF , environmental policy cannot, as called for in the AfD European election program, be “oriented towards national needs”, but requires cooperation between all states, as at the Paris climate conference. The AfD is trying to solve this dilemma by simply denying man-made global warming.
According to Stephan-Andreas Casdorff in the Tagesspiegel, Gauland's call to his party to stand up against climate policy represents “a tremendous danger to social cohesion”, as this offers potential for protest movements by people who see a danger in climate protection “according to the motto: Only the privileged can afford it ”. In this way, analogous to the yellow vests movement in France, in Germany, “according to the AfD, brown vests” would arise . At the latest with its anti-climate protection policy, the AfD has shown itself to be “the most dangerous party for decades for the democratically constituted system”.
The environmental historian Nils Franke assessed the AfD's Dresden declaration on environmental policy drawn up in the summer of 2019 as “deeply populist, nationalist”, it had “traits of right-wing nature conservation ideologies” and was aimed at the conservative or reactionary part of the environmental movement. Many promises would be made in the field of conservation; behind it stands "but an economic system that relies on a tremendous depletion of resources". The program is also reminiscent of the Nazi Reich Nature Conservation Act of 1935 and contains echoes of the Nazi blood and soil ideology when the AfD writes that peasant land "does not belong in the hands of international finance capital - Jewish , one could add - but in 'farmer's hands' ”.
Researchers from the fields of social and political sciences see anti-Semitism among leading AfD representatives, despite claims to the contrary from the party.
The political scientist Gideon Botsch sees anti-Semitism as strong “at all levels” of the party. The party played down hatred of Jews, especially by the extreme right, and had "entered into stable alliances on the street with actors who are anti-Semitic". Topoi such as the "betrayed people", the " lying press " or the " Christian West that is threatened" belonged to classic anti-Semitism. However, many who use such terms are not aware of this connection.
The anti-Semitism researcher Samuel Salzborn sees anti-Semitism rooted in classical folk thinking. Despite attempts by leading AfD functionaries such as André Poggenburg and Frauke Petry to portray terms such as Volksgemeinschaft as not genuinely anti-democratic and to detach them from the National Socialist legacy, people are not defined in the sense of nation by rational, democratic criteria such as the decision to belong or not, but rather “Through pre-political aspects such as the fiction of a supposedly common descent of a collective”. This results in exclusion up to totalitarian coercion and oppression, if the AfD makes politics on the basis of this exclusively intended national community concept.
As an example of anti-Semitism in the AfD, Salzborn cites the handling of Wolfgang Gedeon's statements . The party was unable to immediately recognize its "clearly and unequivocally anti-Semitic" character. He sees a decisive step towards right-wing extremism in the party leadership's decision not to exclude Björn Höcke from the party after his “revisionist and anti-Semitic” speech in Dresden . Salzborn states that the AfD is moving “from a party for anti-Semites to an anti-Semitic party”. In many other cases, too, the party has never officially and unequivocally recognized anti-Semitism in its ranks.
Many other statements by higher party functionaries show the widespread anti-Semitism, such as the speech by Landtag member Hans-Thomas Tillschneider in 2018 with reference to anti-Semitic conspiracy myths that "Islam" is "used by the Central Council of Jews in Germany [...] to bring about multicultural conditions in Germany" , the distribution of the link made by an AfD city council to an article in which it is claimed that “not a single Jew” was killed by “ Zyklon B or in the gas chambers ”, the statement by an AfD district chairman that the “Block of Jews “A lot of influence”, “economically, culturally”, the speech of the Hessian state treasurer Peter Ziemann of “satanic elements in the financial oligarchy” or the official reaction of the Federal AfD to the 2018 report that Israel wanted to deport refugees to Germany: “ A single fool's game. Israel wants to get rid of illegal (!) Immigrants from Africa and who does the 'choice' fall on? Germoney once more! "
The historian Michael Wolffsohn, on the other hand, is of the opinion that a differentiated, factual investigation reveals that there are anti-Semites in the AfD, “but not only”. To call the AfD an anti-Semitic party is "very problematic". He also cited the support for Israel by the AfD parliamentary group, which in 2019 was “the only party in the Bundestag with no ifs or buts” to represent the “official Jewish position on the Middle East conflict”, “namely to reject the establishment of a Palestinian state”.
AfD federal spokesman Jörg Meuthen saw no anti-Semitism problem in his party and said the AfD was “thoroughly pro-Jewish”; they bring in "pro-Jewish motions - like [...] the demand for a ban on Hezbollah " in the Bundestag . He did not understand the concerns of leading representatives of the Jews with regard to the AfD.
Salzborn judges the party's "lip service" to Israel as an attempt to create the false impression that supporters of the country cannot be anti-Semitic. He calls this attempt “instrumental anti-anti-Semitism”. Salzborn is of the opinion that because of its widespread historical revisionist anti-Semitism , the AfD can in no way be a kind of ally for Jews. In addition, the AfD's pro-Israel stance has now largely become a myth. At the 2017 Cologne party congress, for example, an application was rejected to include a paragraph on “strengthening German-Israeli friendship” in the Bundestag election manifesto.
The reason why Israel has become vital for Jews does not play a role for the AfD. In the party’s statements, Israel is presented “as a bulwark against Islam”.
Prominent Jewish positions
In October 2018, Charlotte Knobloch , President of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde München und Oberbayern , ruled that the AfD was the first time a party had entered the Bundestag whose program could be summed up in the words: Jews out. She specified that the AfD, despite Jewish party members, was anti-Semitic and represented a program that made Jewish life impossible; for example, the party is "against ritual circumcision and the slaughter of animals for slaughter".
The Israeli consul general in Munich, Sandra Simovich , said that there were no official or unofficial connections to the AfD from the diplomatic side, because the party “obviously has a very problematic relationship with the German past”. She considers the AfD's efforts to present itself to be Israel-friendly "for a kind of alibi".
The Ambassador of Israel to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff , rated statements by the AfD leaders "as highly offensive for Jews, for Israel and for the whole subject of the Holocaust". Salomon Korn , chairman of the Jewish community in Frankfurt am Main , accused the AfD of promoting “detour anti-Semitism”. According to the assessment of the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster , the AfD is trying “to instrumentalize the issue of anti-Semitism among migrants in order to generally denigrate migrants”. He assumes "that the AfD would also incite against Jews if it were politically advantageous for them". In response to Frauke Petry's statement that the AfD was a guarantor of Jewish life in Germany, he replied that Jewish life was difficult to imagine if the AfD had to defend it. After the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, his deputy, Abraham Lehrer , pointed to a “brown border” at the AfD: “This prancing on the border and standing with one foot across the border and being careful not to criminalize yourself too much damaged, they can do that wonderfully. "
Michael Szentei-Heise , head of administration of the Jewish community in Düsseldorf, makes the AfD jointly responsible for an increasingly hostile attitude towards Jews in Germany. With her appearance and certain statements she ensures that society as a whole becomes brutal and pushes the boundaries of what can be said. This makes the party a "spiritual arsonist".
Surveys and Studies
In 2016, the FES-Mitte study showed that 19.4% of AfD supporters agree with classic anti-Semitic stereotypes - more than sympathizers of other parties - and 47% of AfD supporters agree with positions of Israel-related anti-Semitism .
An Allensbach study in June 2018 came to the conclusion that anti-Semitic attitudes are more widespread among AfD supporters than among supporters of all other parties. When asked, “Someone says: Jews have too much influence in the world. Is that correct? ”AfD voters answered 55% with“ yes ”(and 23% with“ no ”). Supporters of the other parties agreed between 16% and 20%. Overall, 22% of all respondents agreed with the statement. 17% of AfD supporters also stated that they would not like to live next to Jews. The population average was 3%.
In a survey by the INSA institute it became clear that AfD voters have significantly less understanding of Holocaust memorials than supporters of all other parties. Only 49% of AfD supporters find these memorials "important", while the approval of the memorial sites among sympathizers of the other larger parties is between 75 and 86%. On the other hand, 36% of AfD voters disagreed with the statement that “Holocaust memorial sites are important”, while supporters of other parties only disagree with the statement between 7 and 15%. In a survey carried out by the opinion research institute Forsa in November 2019 on behalf of RTL and n-tv , two percent of non-AfD voters considered the fact that the Nazis killed millions of Jews to be “propaganda by the victorious powers ”. Among the AfD voters, it was 15 percent.
Relationship with the media
Julian Schärdel analyzed in 2016 that the relationship between the AfD and the media had been "more than tense" since it was founded. For example, it received disproportionate media attention for the 2014 European elections, but it was “clearly negative across political and journalistic boundaries”. Since the first split in the party, there have been no benevolent leading articles about the party in bourgeois daily newspapers such as the FAZ , the Handelsblatt or the Welt . Now the reporting in leading media is consistently negative.
According to Helmut Kellershohn , the party has received support from Junge Freiheit (JF) from the start, which is sometimes seen as the party's unofficial mouthpiece. She accompanies internal party disputes and thus serves members and sympathizers of the AfD again and again as a discourse platform. JF editor-in-chief Dieter Stein initially supported Lucke, then later Petry. After initial skepticism, Götz Kubitschek from the Secession tried to establish an "alternative within the alternative" with Höcke. He also opens his magazine for his goals. With the Erfurt resolution , Kubitschek recommended a “new right collection movement” within the party. According to Alexander Häusler , a “new right journalistic network”, to which Häusler counts the newspapers and magazines Sezession , Compact and Junge Freiheit , supports a “ right-wing uprising” in the party.
The German Association of Journalists (DJV) criticized several times that journalists had been attacked, threatened and forced out of events by AfD members or sympathizers. Its federal chairman, Frank Überall , stated that the AfD “did not understand the task of journalism as a corrective to politics”. In some cases, media representatives were excluded from party events.
AfD politicians use provocative statements strategically, which are then relativized or denied in order to make themselves heard in the media. Statements by officials caused outrage on several occasions, for example about the use of firearms at the border. At the end of 2016, this media strategy was approved by the party executive for the 2017 election year. According to this, the party should "deliberately and deliberately be politically incorrect again and again", but at the same time respectability should be preserved and the statements should still be within the framework of the free democratic basic order. The clearer and more controversial the AfD positions itself, the less the media could ignore it.
Alexander Nabert described a basic problem in interviews with AfD representatives in the taz : “If an interview is not critical enough, the AfD is given an opportunity to present itself in public without much opposition. If an interview is too critical, she looks for a scandal, provokes it to be broken off and polemicises the already hated lying press . ” No matter how you conduct an interview: The AfD always wins. Also in January Sternberg commented in the editorial network Germany that representatives of AFD often einnähmen the role of victim. The AfD representatives tried “to massively rewrite the rules of the game in their favor” and let “their contempt for freedom of the press run free”.
Evaluation by human rights organization
The director of the German section of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Wenzel Michalski, described the AfD's entry into the German Bundestag in September 2017: "Xenophobic populists are entering the Bundestag - established parties should oppose any politics of hatred". The AfD shows "clearly the contempt ... towards human rights and the equality of all in society" with its election program and rhetoric . The "... omnipresent xenophobia [of the AfD] can also be seen in their position on internal security, which is completely focused on crimes caused by foreigners". Well-known "... AfD politicians have gone public with deeply problematic statements ..." with, among other things, "right-wing extremist language about the Holocaust memorial in Berlin ...". He also appealed: "... the normalization of hatred in German politics must urgently stop ...".
Assessment by the Council of Europe
The independent Commission against Racism and Intolerance of the Council of Europe (ECRI - European Commission against Racism and Intolerance ) noted in its sixth audit report on Germany for the period from 2014 to 2019, among other things, that there was “a high degree of Islamophobia and the public discourse… has become increasingly xenophobic ”and the“ racism… in two sub-organizations of a new party [, the AfD,] is particularly evident ”. The AfD speak “vehemently against migration”. The AfD politician Beatrix von Storch advocated the use of weapons if migrants did not comply with the border guards' request to stop. "A significant number of neo-Nazis have been identified" among AfD members , and several have been excluded from the party. In January 2018, "racist and xenophobic comments" were deleted from three AfD members on social media .
Furthermore, ECRI referred to reports by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) that there was sufficient evidence of “unconstitutional tendencies” in two AfD sub-organizations: in the “wing” and in the youth organization “Junge Alternative”. According to the BfV report, “the greatest danger emanating from the AfD is its racism, which is based on a 'biological-racist or ethnic-cultural understanding of people'; this racism is particularly and obviously concentrated in the… mentioned sub-organizations ”. In the Baden-Württemberg state parliament, two AfD members were excluded from a meeting because of racist statements, among other things. As a result, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) advocates “stopping the state funding of political parties ... that advocate racism”. She refers to Article 21 (3) of the German Basic Law , which de facto allows this, and recommends that such a procedure against the AfD should be examined.
Location by the population
In several representative surveys, the population was asked how they positioned the AfD politically: According to Forsa in September 2016, 67 percent of those questioned were of the opinion that the AfD was “a party located on the extreme right-wing edge of the system”. In January 2017, according to Emnid, 59 percent of those surveyed classified the AfD as right-wing extremist . According to a YouGov survey commissioned by Statista in February 2017, 64 percent of those questioned agreed with the statement that the AfD was a “right-wing extremist” party. In September 2018, 79 percent saw right-wing extremism as a threat to democracy, 20 percent did not. In a survey for the ZDF - Politbarometer from September 2019, 80 percent said that, according to their assessment, right-wing extremist ideas were widespread or very widespread in the AfD, in November 2020 this value rose to 85 percent. In another survey by the same magazine, also in November 2020, 72 percent of those questioned were of the opinion that the AfD was a danger to democracy, which 26 percent said in the negative.
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