Alternative for Germany
It was founded in 2013 as a EU-skeptical and right-wing liberal party. In July 2015, an economically liberal wing split off under Bernd Lucke and formed as the Alliance for Progress and Awakening (ALFA) party, while the majority of the rest of the party under Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen developed clearly to the right . Immediately after the 2017 federal election , the then incumbent party leader, Frauke Petry, left the AfD and joined the Blue Party , which she had initiated .
On the basis of EU skepticism and nationalism , there are various, sometimes contradictory, inner-party associations , informal party wings and individual opinions in the AfD. In addition to the national -conservative , economic -liberal , value-conservative , Christian-fundamentalist and direct-democratic forces that remained after the party splits, members have organized within the party who represent authoritarian , ethnic-nationalist , homophobic , anti -feminist , anti-Semitic and historical revisionist positions. The völkisch-nationalist wing is considered to be the gathering place for right-wing extremist forces within the party . In intra-party votes in 2019, he was able to get up to 40 percent of the delegates behind him. Several state organizations and other parts of the party maintain links to new -right groups, such as the far-right 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, she was elected to all German state parliaments and, after the 2017 federal election, to the 19th German Bundestag with 12.6 percent of the votes . There she was the third strongest force.
The AfD's gains since 2013 are attributed both to the mobilization of former non-voters and to swing voters from the CDU and FDP , and to a lesser extent from the SPD and the Left Party . While at first the focus was primarily on protest voters , the emergence of a regular electorate is now being observed , which is united by the goals of a culturally homogeneous society and a restrictive immigration policy .
At its founding party conference on April 14, 2013, the AfD decided on an initial election program, political guidelines followed in 2014, and later strategy papers and resolutions – including on tightening asylum law , on euro and foreigner policy , on Islamism and on weapons 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 created in working groups involving around 1000 members. At a party conference in 2019, it was to be expanded in terms of social policy , among other things . The so-called “social party conference” was postponed to April 2020 due to significant differences of opinion – especially on the question of pensions .
European, financial and economic policy
In its basic program of 2016, it rejected the EU as a political alliance and only advocated an economic community similar to the EU's predecessor, the EEC . The euro has been called an experiment to be ended; the party wanted to hold a referendum on whether to stay in the eurozone .
Similar to the British Brexit , individual representatives are demanding that Germany leave the European Union . Officially and by the party leadership, leaving is seen as the ultima ratio in the event that fundamental reforms of the European Union fail to materialize. Due to the "lack of legitimacy" of the EU, the AfD calls for the renationalization of policy areas. She rejects joint liability for the eurozone. In 2015, Oskar Niedermayer did not see the AfD as an “anti-EU party”, rather their criticism of the euro and politics in the euro crisis was “purely socio-economically justified”. He saw it “embedded in a […] market- liberal , you 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 recipients". .
Tax law is to be modeled on the Kirchhof model and taxes are to be reduced, particularly for high incomes. The Kirchhof model provides for a maximum tax rate of 25 percent instead of the currently valid 45 percent. The tax revenue for the state would thus be significantly lower. The AfD wants to abolish inheritance tax and review trade tax.
Foreign and Defense Policy
Aside from European policy, the AfD 's foreign policy program remains fragmented. There are a number of decisions and resolutions, including on the Syrian issue . The AfD is committed to NATO ; this should serve the defense of the nation.
In its defense policy concept from 2019, the AfD parliamentary group called for a "restoration of the Bundeswehr " by reintroducing conscription , internal deployments and for border protection , and concentrating 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.
environmental and climate policy
The positions of the AfD are based on a fundamental denial of man-made global warming . In its basic program of 2016, for example, it fundamentally rejects climate protection policies . This is based on unsuitable computer models, and there has been no increase in temperature since the late 1990s ( global warming pause ). CO 2 is not a pollutant, but an "indispensable part of all life ". The Renewable Energy Sources Act , the Renewable Energy Sources Heat Act and the Energy Saving Ordinance are to be abolished without replacement and the lifetime of German nuclear power plants extended . In the EU Parliament , the AfD has rejected all climate protection proposals since the Paris Agreement in December 2015 (as of February 2019). In September 2019, Alexander Gauland named the criticism of the federal government's climate protection policy as the third central AfD topic, alongside the topics of the euro and immigration.
The energy policy of the AfD, which was developed in the "Federal Committee on Energy Policy", was helped to shape by members of the lobby organization " European Institute for Climate & Energy ", which denies man-made global warming.
In 2016, the AfD rejected a coal phase -out and a CO 2 tax and advocated research in the field of nuclear energy / nuclear reactors. The nuclear phase-out should be reversed. Fracking should be researched. Marine protection areas are to be created and the construction of offshore wind farms in the open sea should be stopped. In 2019, the AfD called for combating " invasive species " because they are a danger to native plants and animals. The wolf population in Germany should be "reasonably" regulated.
family and gender politics
The AfD represents conservative , anti -feminist positions in gender politics and rejects equality politics and gender mainstreaming . In doing so, it relies, among other things, on Christian fundamentalist and völkisch ideas. The AfD considers demographic issues to be relevant. She advocates the traditional family of man and woman and opposes both quotas for women and the supposed abolition of gender identities . The AfD attracts attention with campaigns such as “Stop the gender madness”, especially on social media . In the Magdeburg Declaration in 2016, the party's parliamentary groups opposed sex education in kindergarten and primary school and specifically against education about sexual diversity. Parts of the pro-life movement find points of contact here and exert influence on the party, especially in the southern German state associations. In southern Germany, the AfD is also involved in anti-gender movements such as the " Demo für alle ".
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 phrases (artificial gerund forms, superfluous male- female double forms, etc.)”.
labor and social policy
Labor and social policy should be part of the national tasks of the member states.
Since 2016, she has been in favor of maintaining the minimum wage , but without naming a specific amount that it should be. At the same time, she rejected a further increase in the minimum wage. Members of the party executive, such as Jörg Meuthen, were still critical of the minimum wage afterwards and instead proposed a state increase in wages and thus cross-subsidization of low wages by taxpayers. Before the 2014 European elections , the AfD still rejected a nationwide minimum wage; he cannot afford this security and jeopardizes jobs.
After the Social Party Congress was postponed from 2019 to 2020, the AfD passed a social program. A total of seven different concepts existed. The social researcher and mathematician Gerd Bosbach assumed in advance that the party "even wanted to sacrifice important parts of the statutory pension in favor of the anti-social private pension".
The pension concept of the Thuringian AfD by Björn Höcke , for example, provided for the contribution assessment ceiling to be retained for the time being . According to Bosbach, this is antisocial because top earners would have to pay a smaller proportion of their income than low earners. The beneficiaries of this concept are the employers. In addition, an extension of the working life is aimed at both by abolishing the upper limit for retirement and by lowering the age at which work begins. Tax-financed surcharges for recipients of small pensions should only exist 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 provided for the abolition of the statutory pension, which was to be replaced by a tax-financed basic pension just above the level of subsistence.
The lead motion on pension policy, which was passed at the 2020 party conference , includes flexible retirement and better conditions for low earners. In addition, families with children are to be given greater preference and the self -employed and politicians are to be included in the statutory pension insurance system. Funding should come from taxes. The aim is still to meet the demographic challenges without immigration through a higher birth rate. In addition, private provision is to be promoted more strongly. The previous models of private provision ( Rürup and Riester pensions ) are to be replaced by more flexible and less bureaucratic models. Models introduced by party leader Jörg Meuthen, among others, such as citizenship allowance , negative income tax and other basic income models, were rejected by the party congress.
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 freedom of establishment , but also the free movement of workers in Europe, is emphasized; “Qualified” and “ integration-willing ” immigration based on the Canadian model is approved. On the other hand, one ties in with “ racist discourses”. The AfD demands “clear criteria” for immigration ; "Immigration into the German social systems " is rejected. Only those who pay social security contributions can also beneficiaries of unemployment and child benefits . However, asylum seekers in Germany should be granted labor rights.
In its first election program, adopted at the founding party conference in 2013, the AfD called for both a more generous asylum policy and a stricter immigration policy. In response to the rapidly increasing 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 calls for 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 to asylum to be subordinated to the security of the state and its people, as well as upper limits for the admission of refugees and the abolition of family reunification .
According to an analysis by Human Rights Watch in September 2017, the AfD's election program called for a more stringent change in the Basic Law in migration policy 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
The basic program of the AfD adopted in 2016 states: " 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 of 2010, which refers to visible signs of all religions, according to the will of the AfD, no headgear should be allowed in public service , no burqas or niqabs in public . According to its own statements, 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 law-abiding and integrated are to be regarded as accepted members of society. Anti-constitutional associations are to be banned from building and operating mosques, as is foreign financing from Islamic states or private donors. In addition, imams in Germany would have to be trained in German at universities. In 2018, the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag requested that the federal government take “appropriate measures” against allegedly illegal content in the Koran, without specifically stating what content was meant and what should be done.
According to Alexander Häusler and Rainer Roeser (2016), the call for “ direct democracy ” is central to the AfD’s election manifesto. The AfD is referring to the popular initiatives of the right-wing populist SVP “ Against the construction of minarets ” and “ Against mass immigration ”. In doing so, they are making “clearly recognizable approaches to right-wing populist demands”. The party program delegitimizes the elected elite of the Federal Republic by claiming that the people are not sovereign in Germany , but "secretly [...] a small, powerful political leadership group within the parties", a "cartel" responsible for the undesirable developments of recent years responsible and has an extensive information monopoly. It is important to end this illegitimate state of affairs. This statement is brought close to a conspiracy theory by the Americanist Michael Butter , since it is claimed that all parties are secretly cooperating, while only the AfD represents the "true interests of the people".
Authoritarian model of society
According to sociologist Wilhelm Heitmeyer , the AfD is "against open society and liberal democracy". Based on group-related enmity , discrimination and violence against immigrants, for example, are presented as self-defence. Rigid control is sought as a response to personal or economic loss of control, such as a "ruthless globalized financial capitalism ". This "authoritarian national radicalism" targets social and political institutions such as parliaments, courts, the police, schools, clubs and theaters. "He wants to destabilize, create fear pressure and initiate a system change."
Statements in Björn Höcke's book Never twice in the same river were mentioned in the Süddeutsche Zeitung as an example of "contempt for democracy" . In it he develops the idea that German democracy is “in the final stage of degeneration ”, in ochlocracy , which, in the sense of Niccolò Machiavelli ’s phase model, can only be overcome by an autocrat . This mediator of the people must get rid of his "stunted male self-confidence" and learn to cultivate the virtues of fortitude, wisdom, relentlessness, harshness towards himself and especially towards others. In a "bloodletting" political opponents should be excluded from Germany. Höcke designs a strategy for the "reconquest" of Germany from "foreign peoples", quotes Hegel with the statement "Burned limbs cannot be healed with lavender water. Life that is close to decay can only be reorganized by the most violent of procedures” and calls for a “large-scale re-migration project” with reference to Peter Sloterdijk 's “Politics of 'well-tempered cruelty'”. Hajo Funke concluded from an analysis of these statements: "If we measure Höcke by his language, he is concerned not only with ethnic but also with political 'cleansing' and with the use of state violence against arbitrarily defined enemies."
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 did in the GDR ". With this and with slogans such as "Complete the turnaround" or "GDR 2.0", the AfD 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 allegedly represented on the streets. This was sharply criticized in an open letter by former GDR civil rights activists , who saw it as a "historical lie". In 2019, the historian Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk accused the AfD of not only playing down the GDR dictatorship with such slogans, but also of aiming to “destroy what the 1989 revolution and the civil rights activists of 1989 stood for and stood for : The Establishment of an Open Society ”.
Connections 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 replacement for the disoriented political center" and serves, among other things, "resentment, hatred of elites and alienation from the system". As a result, small right -wing parties lost membership to the AfD, some of which were considerable.
As a reaction to this development, the federal spokesman at the time, Bernd Lucke, wrote to the state associations in autumn 2013 recommending a nationwide freeze on admissions 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 board, as well as other East German state associations contradicted Lucke and announced that they would continue to examine applications from defectors from the right-wing extremist party Die Freiheit .
There is an incompatibility list that includes various right-wing extremist groups whose members should not be included in the party. However, it is neither consistently observed nor is it a mandatory requirement for the recruitment of members of parliament.
Of the 91 AfD deputies represented in the 19th German Bundestag, 13 maintained contacts with right-wing extremist parties or associations such as the Identitarian Movement. According to research by Die Zeit , at least 27 parliamentary group and MP employees have “a clearly right-wing extremist to right-wing extremist background”. The newspaper speaks of a "Nazi network in the German Bundestag".
AfD member of parliament Jan Nolte has a Bundeswehr officer in his office who is suspected of having planned a right-wing terrorist attack with former Lieutenant Franco A. Despite classification as a right-wing extremist by the MAD and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, he was given a house pass for the Bundestag and thus access to information and files relating to his case.
In the AfD state association in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Haik Jaeger, a member of the right-wing extremist prepper group Nordkreuz , was elected deputy chairman of the state committee on internal security, justice and data protection. Investigations are underway against the suspended police officer on suspicion of "preparing a serious act of violence that is dangerous to the state". He is said to have used his service computer for Nordkreuz to obtain registration data from people who are on the death list of the right-wing extremist network.
According to estimates by Die Freiheit party leader René Stadtkewitz , about 500 members of his party defected to the AfD by September 2013, some of whom took up leadership positions in the AfD. After the federal elections in 2013, the small party decided not to take part in further elections in favor of the AfD. Stadtkewitz and Matthias Wohlfarth, spokesman for the Thuringian AfD , agreed that the programs of both parties corresponded 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 , is exploring "synergy effects and cooperation opportunities" with selected media for the AfD parliamentary group.
Although the AfD passed an incompatibility resolution regarding the racist identitarian movement in 2016 , according to research by Die Zeit , AfD members of the Bundestag employ supporters of this movement in their offices, such as the former state chairman of the Junge Alternative in Brandenburg, Jean-Pascal Hohm, and the national chairman of the identitarian movement, Daniel foot . 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 , advocated cooperation with the identities. Petr Bystron , head of the Bavarian AfD until 2017, had described the Identitarians as the "front 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 Bystron's election to the Bundestag would result in 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 AfD, because the AfD is also an identitarian movement and the identitarian movement is an alternative for Germany". The youth organization of the AfD, the Junge Alternative , also has many connections to the Identitarians. JA boss Markus Frohnmaier openly expressed support for the spokesman for the Identitarians and head of the Identitarian Movement in Austria , Martin Sellner .
AfD deputies in the Bavarian state parliament employed staff 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 for motions by the NPD parliamentary group in the state parliament. In an interview with Mannheimer Morgen , party leader Meuthen also opposed the so-called Schweriner Weg , which envisages rejecting all applications from right-wing extremists as a whole. In doing so, he put "the previous official line of the federal party in the form of the strict demarcation from the NPD on file".
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 then AfD federal board, that he "under the name ' Landolf Ladig ' in the NPD publications Volk in Motion and Eichsfeld-Stimme articles” in which he not only praised the right-wing extremist ideas of the NPD, but also glorified the Nazi regime . He shows "an excessive proximity to National Socialism". In May 2018, the state arbitration court of the AfD in Thuringia rejected an application for the federal executive committee to be expelled from the party in February 2017 because Höcke had not violated the statutes or party principles. In June 2018, the federal executive board, which has since been made up differently, unanimously waived an appeal.
A decision by the Federal Board of Directors in May 2016, which rejected cooperation 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 performing at Pegida inadmissibly interferes with members' rights. To date, Pegida has not been observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution – which, at least for Bavaria and Thuringia, is not true. A Pegida position paper adopted in December 2014 also shows a considerable degree of content-related agreement with the basic program of the AfD. However, a ban on appearances by Pegida representatives at AfD events is permissible.
According to Felix Korsch (2016), the relationship to Pegida developed in four phases of “attraction and rejection”. According to a survey in December 2014, AfD supporters understood the Pegida demonstrations, but until then there had been no "actual cooperation". The Dresden AfD has supported the Pegida rallies since November 2014, and the ethnic-nationalist “ Patriotic Platform ” under the then Saxon AfD board member Hans-Thomas Tillschneider also supported Pegida from the start. While Lucke and Henkel, in particular, took a distanced stance on the federal executive board, Gauland attended a Pegida rally with several parliamentary group colleagues 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 "intersections" in terms of content. In other state associations, the attitude remained ambivalent: the Hessian AfD criticized participation in "Fragida" because this Frankfurt Pegida offshoot was co-organized by the NPD, but not participation in "Kagida" in Kassel, which was led by an AfD member . Ultimately, there were several “statements of agreement” to be noted.
In July 2015, Marcus Pretzell , then state chairman of North Rhine-Westphalia, described the AfD as a “Pegida party” in his welcoming address to the Essen party conference . In 2016, Häusler saw 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 with the positions of the AfD in many respects". In any case, of all the parties, the AfD is closest to Pegida.
On November 11, 2017, the extreme right-wing citizens' movement pro Germany decided to dissolve itself and called on members and their local elected representatives 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 stated that Pro Germany was on his party's incompatibility list, whose members could not be included.
Classification of the Offices for the Protection of the Constitution
According to corresponding media reports from the beginning of March 2021, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) classified the entire party as a suspected right-wing extremist in order to be able to observe it nationwide with intelligence tools. On March 5, 2021, the Cologne Administrative Court prohibited the BfV from classifying and observing the AfD as a suspected case until a decision had been made on an urgent application made by the AfD. Until then, the party had made it a point not to be an object of observation by the BfV at federal level as a party as a whole.
At the beginning of 2019, the BfV described the party as a " test case ". A month later, however, the administrative court in Cologne prohibited the authority from continuing to publicly refer to the party as there was no legal basis for doing so. The designation has a “negative effect” in public, which means that the BfV has illegally and disproportionately intervened in the AfD ’s fundamental party rights and personality rights. The authority had previously removed a corresponding press release from its website and stated after the announcement of the decision that it did not want to challenge it.
As early as January 2019, the BfV had also asked its employees to disclose contacts with the AfD internally. This should prevent possible conflicts of loyalty when examining the question of an observation. The AfD also brought an action against this measure before the administrative court in Cologne, 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 they wanted to reach an interim solution in the dispute over the classification as a suspected case. In another decision on January 27, 2021, the Cologne Administrative Court refused to issue an interim rule that would prohibit the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution from disclosing the current number of members of the defunct far-right wing . The Münster Higher Administrative Court confirmed both decisions . 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 had made the classification of the regional AfD state associations public as a "test case". A classification of a group of people as a “test case” serves to view openly accessible material and then to decide whether or not it should be declared an object of observation.
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 movement The Wing around the Thuringian state chairman Björn Höcke to be suspected of extremist activities.
The authorities for the protection of the constitution understand suspected cases to be groups "that are not clearly extremist, but which have ' actual indications ' of anti-constitutional efforts." been. In Bavaria, where the intermediate stage of the suspected case does not exist, both the youth organization and the ethnic nationalist The Wing are observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. In January 2020, the AfD filed a lawsuit with the Cologne Administrative Court.
In March 2020, the BfV declared in a press conference that it was running the wing as a "proven right-wing extremist effort". It ascribes around 7,000 people to 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 AfD state association there to a suspected case.
In June 2020, the Brandenburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution classified the state association there as a suspected case and made this public. He justified this step with the extremist positions of members attributable to the state association, the strong influence of the wing and connections to right-wing extremist organizations such as the Identitarian Movement , the Verein Zukunft Heimat and the magazine Compact .
In January 2021, the Saxony-Anhalt Office for the Protection of the Constitution classified the state 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 in Saxony also listed the Saxony State Association as a suspected case.
At the beginning of December 2021, chat logs from a closed Telegram group called "Alternative Nachrichtengruppe Bayern", which also included large parts of the state parliamentary group, the Bavarian AfD parliamentary group and the state executive, were leaked to Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). In it, for example, a district chairman demanded: "Without an overthrow and revolution, we can't achieve a change of course here." According to BR, another message said: "I don't think we'll get out of this number without civil war ." Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann saw it the question of the observation of individual members of parliament and the party as a whole by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution was raised anew.
In Bavaria, Petr Bystron , the Bavarian state spokesman for the party, was temporarily targeted by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in 2017. After his election to the Bundestag, however, the observation was discontinued. The same applies to the observation of three members of the same state association who moved into the Bavarian state parliament in 2018 because the Federal Constitutional Court set higher hurdles for the observation of members of parliament. However, seven other AfD members are still being observed, three of whom sit on municipal district councils. In contrast to other authorities for the protection of the constitution, the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution can also monitor individuals who do not belong to any group of persons.
In Saxony, according to the then Minister of the Interior, Markus Ulbig (CDU), "individual members" of the AfD were under surveillance 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, Thuringia's President for the Protection of the Constitution, 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 tools since the beginning of 2020 to observe the three members of the state parliament classified as 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 2014 European elections , the AfD was accepted into the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament by a vote of 29 to 26 . British Prime Minister David Cameron had urged his party's MEPs to reject the AfD's motion, saying Chancellor Merkel would see the admission of a competing party as "hostile" and would have a negative impact on relations between the UK and Germany. According to a report by Der Spiegel , Merkel had tried to prevent the admission so as not to further enhance the AfD politically.
At the beginning of 2016, Frauke Petry and Marcus Pretzell met with FPÖ party chairman Heinz-Christian Strache and FPÖ Secretary General Harald Vilimsky in Düsseldorf for the “European Visions – Visions for Europe” congress. The Bavarian AfD state association then agreed on cooperation with the FPÖ under the title “Blue Alliance”. As a result, Harald Vilimsky made a joint appearance with Alexander Gauland and Andreas Kalbitz at an election event in Nauen .
After MEP Beatrix von Storch advocated the use of firearms against refugees in January 2016, the AfD MEPs in the European Parliament were asked in March 2016 to leave the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group on March 31, 2016. Otherwise, the parliamentary group will apply for a formal exclusion. The exit request goes back to the initiative of the Dutch Christian Democrat Peter van Dalen . On April 8, 2016, Beatrix von Storch then left the EKR parliamentary group and joined the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) parliamentary group. Three days later, Marcus Pretzell was expelled from the 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 2019 European elections was joined by the AfD alongside the FPÖ , the Lega Nord , the Rassemblement National and others.
On March 7, 2018, Alice Weidel met in Zurich for an hour and a half with the American publicist Steve Bannon , who is associated with the alt-right , to find out details about his concepts of right-wing public relations and to explore possibilities for cooperation.
The organizational structure of the Alternative for Germany is divided into a federal association, state associations and sub-associations. Organs of the federal party are the federal party congress, the convention, the federal executive board and the European election assembly.
federal party convention
The Federal Party Congress is the supreme organ of the party. It meets at least once a year and takes place regularly as a representative assembly (delegates party conference). In addition, it must be convened if the federal executive board or the convention decides by majority or if at least six regional associations apply. The party congress is made up of 600 delegates sent by the state associations and members of the federal executive committee who are not elected delegates. The latter have the right to make motions and speak, but not to vote. The seats are allocated to the national associations according to the Hare-Niemeyer method . The delegates for the federal party conference are elected for a maximum of two years by the general or delegate assemblies in the regional associations.
The federal party congress decides on 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. Every two years, the party congress elects the federal executive committee. It also elects the Federal Court of Arbitration and the auditors . In addition, the party congress can issue instructions to the federal executive committee and the convention and refer motions to the convention for a decision. The federal party congress is the only body that can dissolve the AfD or decide to merge with other parties.
According to the provisions of the party congress, the European election assembly is also held.
|No.||date||location||Federal spokesman /
Party Congress (1st Federal Party Congress)
|April 14, 2013||Berlin||
|Foundation of the Federal Association; election of the national board;
Adoption of the federal statute and the election program for the 2013 federal election
|European election assembly||January 25, 2014
February 1, 2014
|Bernd Lucke||86%||Election of the list of candidates for the European elections 2014|
|2nd Federal Party Congress||22./23. March 2014||Erfurt||Resolution of the election program for the 2014 European elections; By-election of federal board members|
|3rd Federal Party Congress||January 30 – February 1, 2015||Bremen||Resolution of a new federal statute|
(4th) federal party conference
|4th/5th July 2015||meal||
|Election of the federal executive board|
(5th) Federal Party Congress
|28/29 November 2015||Hanover||Amendment of the Federal Statute|
(6th) Federal Party Congress
|April 30 – May 1, 2016||Stuttgart||Decision of the basic program|
(7th) Federal Party Congress
|22./23. April 2017||Cologne||
|68%||Decision of the election program and election of the top candidates for the federal election 2017|
|8th Federal Party Congress||2nd/3rd December 2017||Hanover||
|Re-election of the national board|
|9th Federal Party Congress||June 30 – July 1, 2018||augsburg||election of the federal arbitral tribunal; Resolution of a party-affiliated foundation|
|European election assembly||16-19
November 11-14 , 2018 January 2019
|Jorg Meuthen||91%||Election of the list of candidates and decision on the election program for the 2019 European elections|
|10th Federal Party Congress||November 30 – December 1, 2019||Brunswick||
|Re-election of the national board|
|11th Federal Party Congress||28/29 November 2020||calcar||resolution of a social and pension concept; By-election of federal board members|
|12th Federal Party Congress||10th/11th April 2021||Dresden||Resolution of the election program for the 2021 federal election ; 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. In addition, it decides on the founding of associations, on the rules of procedure for the bodies and on the rules of procedure for member decisions.
The convention consists of the Federal Treasurer, four other members of the Federal Executive Board and fifty representatives of the regional associations. The seats are allocated to the national associations based on the number of members according to the Hare-Niemeyer method . The convention is headed by two spokespersons with equal rights, with the members of the federal executive board and the representatives of the state associations each appointing a spokesperson. A meeting of the Convention is held at the request of either speaker in consultation with the other. In addition, the convention must be convened if the federal board or three state boards or a quarter of the members of the convention demand it.
The federal board leads the federal party. It carries out the decisions of the federal party convention and the convention and convenes the federal party convention. In accordance with the federal statutes, the federal board 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 board was elected at the federal party conference on November 30th / December 1st, 2019 in Braunschweig.
|federal spokesman||Joerg Meuthen , Tino Chrupalla|
|Deputy Federal Spokesman||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 developing 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 specialist committees, which also develop proposals for the programmatic statements on the respective topics and also support state associations in the creation of state programs on request. According to the statutes, the party members are to be involved in the elaboration of the programmatic positions. This is done through member surveys 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 programmes.
The Federal Program Commission is composed of two members of the Federal Executive Committee, one representative each of the regional associations delegated by the regional executive committees, one representative each delegated by the federal specialist committees and one representative 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 chair and Beatrix von Storch is the deputy chair (as of January 2017).
In addition to a member of the federal executive board and one representative each from the AfD parliamentary groups in the Bundestag and the European Parliament, the federal specialist committees are made up of representatives of the state associations, who can send a representative from the state specialist committees for every 1000 members or part thereof, depending on the number of members. The members of each Federal Technical Committee elect a leader, at least one deputy leader, a secretary and optionally a deputy secretary to lead it.
|No.||Federal Committee of Experts||ladder|
|BFA 1||Foreign and security policy, development policy and foreign trade||George Pazderski|
|BFA 2||Monetary and Currency Policy||Alice Weidel|
|BFA 3||economic and financial policy||Joachim Keiler|
|BFA 4||family and demographics||Sebastian Mack|
|BFA 5||Internal Security , Justice and Data Protection||Roman Reusch|
|BFA 6||Education, science, culture and media||Nicole Hochst|
|BFA 7||Protection of the environment, nature and animals, agriculture and consumer protection||Ingo Hahn|
|BFA 8||health policy||Hardy Schumny|
|BFA 9||Democracy and Fundamental 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, citizenship||Dieter Aman|
Federal Arbitration Court
There is a federal court of arbitration for internal party disputes. This consists of nine arbitrators who are elected for a period of two years by the federal party conference. Likewise, nine substitute arbitrators are elected every two years. The arbitrators elect a President and a Vice-President who shall direct the arbitral tribunal. The Federal Arbitration Court was invoked , for example, in the disputes surrounding the Saar state association .
The AfD has regional associations in all 16 German states . According to the federal statutes, the state associations have statute, 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 state associations are called state spokespersons in some states. The AfD has been represented in all 16 state parliaments since October 2018.
The state associations of Brandenburg , Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia are under surveillance by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution on suspicion of being right-wing extremists. In January 2021, the Brandenburg State Association filed a complaint with the Brandenburg State Constitutional Court.
|national association||founding||Chairman or state spokesman||Members
Status: end of 2018
|state election||Federal election
|Baden-Wuerttemberg||April 22, 2013||Alice Weidel||4710||2021 )9.7% (||9.6%||10.0%|
|Bavaria||March 31, 2013||Stephan Protschka||4946||10.2% ( 2018 )||9.0%||8.5%|
|Berlin||April 27, 2013||Kristin Bricker||1507||2021 )8.0% (||8.4%||9.9%|
|Brandenburg||April 28, 2013||vacant||1485||23.5% ( 2019 )||18.1%||19.9%|
|Bremen||May 12, 2013||vacant||168||2019 )6.1% (||6.9%||7.7%|
|Hamburg||April 7, 2013||Dirk Nockemann||564||2020 )5.3% (||5.0%||6.5%|
|Hesse||May 5, 2013||Robert Lambrou , Andreas Lichtert||2873||13.1% ( 2018 )||8.8%||9.9%|
|Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania||April 21, 2013||Leif-Erik Holm , Enrico Schult||749||16.7% ( 2021 )||18.0%||17.7%|
|Lower Saxony||1st of May 2013||Jens Kestner||2823||2017 )6.2% (||7.4%||7.9%|
|North Rhine-Westphalia||April 12th, 2013||Rudiger Lucassen||5147||2017 )7.4% (||7.3%||8.5%|
|Rhineland-Palatinate||April 9, 2013||Michael Fresh||2209||2021 )8.3% (||9.2%||9.8%|
|Saarland||May 3, 2013||Christian Wirth||480||2017 )6.2% (||10.0%||9.6%|
|Saxony||April 28, 2013||Jorg Urban||2360||27.5% ( 2019 )||24.6%||25.3%|
|Saxony-Anhalt||April 5, 2013||Martin Reichardt||1028||20.8% ( 2021 )||19.6%||20.4%|
|Schleswig Holstein||April 27, 2013||vacant||1119||2017 )5.9% (||6.8%||7.4%|
|Thuringia||April 27, 2013||Björn Höcke , Stefan Möller||1204||23.4% ( 2019 )||24.0%||22.5%|
In addition to the state associations, there are district associations, district associations and city associations. If a state association does not have any district associations, instead of district associations there are only district associations and possibly city associations.
Christians in the AfD
As in other parties, various groups of Christians formed 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 . According to the daily newspaper taz , the Pforzheim circle represents Christian fundamentalist positions. Together with the Christians in the Alternative for Germany working group, he forms the Christians in the AfD (ChrAfD) association, which, in its declaration of principles, rejects abortion, euthanasia and the equal treatment of civil partnerships with marriage.
From 2015 onwards, the völkisch and nationalist coalition “ Der Flügel ” emerged within the party . The federal spokesman at the time, Alexander Gauland, said in a television talk show in January 2019 that the wing received support from up to 40% of the delegates at party conferences. 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 a supposed “erosion of Germany’s sovereignty”.
In March 2020, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution classified the entire wing as “certain 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 grouping to dissolve by the end of April. In a letter to "the friends of the wing", Björn Höcke and Andreas Kalbitz then announced that they would discontinue activities under the name of the wing by April 30, 2020.
According to Die Zeit , the classification of the wing as an observation case by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution has impaired the external image of the AfD unit. Until then, the party had apparently acted as a unit to the outside world, but now obvious directional disputes have broken out, which have only been discussed behind closed doors. In view of the brutality with which the right-wing radicals now acted against colleagues in their own party, the question arises as to how they would treat their political opponents if they ever came to power. In May 2020, the federal executive board of the AfD determined that Andreas Kalbitz's party membership was invalid because he is said to have not stated previous memberships in the neo-Nazi organization Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend and in the Republicans when he joined. In an urgent procedure initiated by Kalbitz, the Berlin Regional Court decided that he was allowed to remain a member of the party and take part in board meetings until a final decision was made by the Federal Arbitration Court of the AfD. On July 25, 2020, the Federal Arbitration Court confirmed the cancellation of Kalbitz's membership, meaning 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 , confirmed that the wing was having an ever greater influence, despite the formal dissolution, leading to an increasing radicalization of the party as a whole. In internal party elections, wing supporters come into key positions and there is still cohesion and exchange among each other.
The " Patriotic Platform " with its chairman Hans-Thomas Tillschneider also represents a nationalist course. In September 2018, the association's board of directors requested the association's self-dissolution, as the goal had been achieved of doing and saying whatever 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 working group for homosexuals 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 intra-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 chairperson. A third of the 24 founding members come from countries of the former Soviet Union.
In November 2015, the federal party conference of the AfD recognized the Junge Alternative (JA) as a youth organization of the AfD. Their positions are considered to be largely congruent with those of the far right wing of the party. At the beginning of September 2018, it became known that the three YES state associations in Bremen , Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg were being observed 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%)|
|Feminine||3,211 (15.5%)||181 (14.9%)||3,392 (15.5%)|
The party was very popular after it was founded. Seven weeks after their website went live, 10,000 members were already registered. According to their own statements, 2,795 of the 10,476 members registered by the end of April 2013 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 Bündnis 90/Die Grünen . There were also conversions from the Free Voters . Large parts of the Berlin state association, including the state chairman, joined the new party. Some Hamburg party members later joined, including Jörn Kruse , who later became state chairman . According to estimates by Die Freiheit party leader René Stadtkewitz , around 500 members of his party had converted to the AfD by September 2013.
As of May 2013, approximately 14 percent of members were women; the average age of AfD members was 51 years.
Since the summer of 2014, the media has reported more frequently about the resignations of party members, including former officials. Above all, 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 conference in July 2015 was followed by a wave of resignations. According to party information, about 20 percent of AfD members left the party by the end of August.
Before the party conference in Hanover at the end of November 2015, the AfD had almost 20,000 members, which roughly corresponded to the number before the Lucke supporters left. 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 not previously 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 in the NPD or Republicans .
According to the statutes, the admission of former members of extremist organizations is generally excluded. A corresponding incompatibility list is based on the reports of the authorities for the protection of the constitution .
The party newspaper of the Alternative for Germany is called AfD Compact . 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 intended to act as a party-affiliated foundation for the AfD. Konrad Adam was elected the first chairman . The association was named after Desiderius Erasmus von Rotterdam , the author of Lob der Folheit , and, according to a party statement, is said to stand for "the party's pro-European but euro-critical attitude". In April 2017, Adam was voted out again at a general meeting.
In March 2017, it was revealed that other party members had set up a competing association, the Immanuel Kant Foundation . Author Bruno Bandulet is the chairman .
In December 2017, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that Alexander Gauland would like to have the Gustav Stresemann Foundation , founded in 2011 and named after the national liberal politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner Gustav Stresemann , recognized as a party-affiliated foundation of the AfD; another candidate is the Gottfried Herder Foundation for Democracy e. V. called.
On April 13, 2018, the federal executive 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 after Gustav Stresemann at a later date, if legally possible. However, after Stresemann's grandsons filed a lawsuit against the original Gustav Stresemann Foundation to stop using their grandfather's name, this is no longer permissible.
|Income of the AfD in 2016|
|Mandate contributions and similar regular contributions||370,474.07||2.37|
|Donations from natural persons||5,808,973.03||37.22|
|Donations from legal entities||185,118.04||1:19|
|Income from business activity||546.705.93||3.50|
|Income from participations||92.21||0.00|
|income from other assets||3,661.23||0.02|
|Income from events, distribution of pamphlets and
publications and other income-related activities
|Expenditure of the AfD in 2016|
|expenses of ongoing business operations||1,769,757.90||15.95|
|Expenditure on general political work||3,148,577.52||28.36|
|expenses for election campaigns||3,818,558.31||34.41|
|Asset management expenses including interest||773.50||0.01|
|Expenses related to a business activity||546,525.77||4.92|
Since the Alternative for Germany was not entitled to state funding until the 2013 federal elections , it financed its election campaign mainly from membership fees and donations . According to Joachim Starbatty , by August 2013 the AfD had received a total of 2.3 million euros from party members. She also received two loans from the Hamburg shipowner Folkard Edler, each amounting to 500,000 euros. The first loan was for a period of six months and secured 40 percent of the government's campaign reimbursement . 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 written off after five or eight years. According to constitutional lawyer Jörn Ipsen , the prospect of converting the loan into a donation is problematic in terms of party law, since it affects the transparency requirement for party financing. According to party information, a call for donations on the weekend before the election raised an additional 430,000 euros.
Based on the election results of the federal election and the state election in Hesse, the AfD met the requirements for receiving state subsidies 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 submit an annual report for 2012. Instead , the party provided the proof of its own financial resources required by the party law by means of certified information on the income it generated in 2013. This means that the party is entitled to the full amount of government grants.
According to its first annual report, the AfD generated income of 7.72 million euros and expenditure of 5.39 million euros in 2013, and thus a surplus of 2.34 million euros. In addition to state 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.
In April 2014, deputy party spokesman Hans-Olaf Henkel granted the party a loan of one million euros.
Overall, the AfD initially expected income from membership fees and donations of three million euros for 2014. In order to be able to obtain the full state election campaign cost reimbursement of five million euros according to the share of votes achieved, she needed additional own income of at least two million euros. She therefore decided to take advantage of an unclear formulation in the party law by buying gold bars and coins and immediately selling them again with only a small profit, in order to then claim the entire sale as income. The Bundestag administration checked and determined that the entire turnover from the sale of gold was actually to be assessed as income within the meaning of the party law and not just the minimum yield. The process led to a change in the party law.
According to its second annual report, the AfD achieved income of 12.57 million euros and expenditure of 10.73 million euros in 2014 and thus a surplus of 1.84 million euros. In addition to state 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.
At the beginning of December 2015, the German Bundestag passed an amendment to the Political Parties Act as of January 1, 2016, which – retrospectively for 2015 – only takes profit into account in the entrepreneurial activities of the parties. The AfD then published an appeal for donations and received 3.1 million euros in donations in just over three weeks. The AfD thus managed to close the impending funding gap of two million euros.
According to its third annual report, the AfD achieved income of 14.79 million euros and expenditure of 8.92 million euros in 2015 and thus a surplus of 5.86 million euros. In addition to state 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 its fourth annual report, the AfD generated income of 15.61 million euros and expenditure of 11.1 million euros in 2016, resulting in a surplus of 4.51 million euros. In addition to state 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.
In 2017, the AfD received donations of at least EUR 10,000 each from 29 private individuals and companies. Among them was a donation of 50,000.00 euros from the Bangkok-based German Mortimer von Zitzewitz. In the 1970s, a person of the same name was the manager of a Hamburg company that was suspected of having transacted 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 single donation to a party in the history of the Federal Republic. An engineer had used the party as the sole heir to his assets of more than seven million euros. The testator was not an AfD member.
In November 2020, the AfD was fined a total of around half a million euros by the Bundestag administration for accepting disguised donations (“ donate straw men”). In addition, in the same month, the AfD was given another fine of around 72,000 euros by the Bundestag administration for failing to provide donations in kind.
The federal spokespersons are comparable to party chairmen 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
Liberal, conservative and national political associations such as the Bund Freier Bürger , the Friedrich A. von Hayek Society , the New Social Market Economy Initiative , the Bürgerwille Alliance, the 2013 election alternative and the Civil Coalition are considered to be precursors to the founding of the party . Thilo Sarrazin is regarded as the spiritus rector of the founding . Subsequent 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 to support the election alternative 2013", which wanted to join the Free Voters for the 2013 federal election . The founding statement stated that the euro area had proved unsuitable, that southern European countries were becoming impoverished under the competitive pressure of the euro and that entire countries were on the brink of insolvency. The federal government has already pledged hundreds of billions of euros and will continue this policy indefinitely. In the state elections in Lower Saxony in January 2013 , Lucke ran on a joint state list with the Free Voters, which received 1.1 percent of the second votes . After the election, a conflict over organizational and content issues led to the end of the collaboration. The Free Voters rejected the return to the D-Mark, which the electoral alternative was striving for at national and European level.
On February 6, 2013, a group of 18 people founded the party in Oberursel im Taunus. In a vote, "Alternative for Germany" was chosen as the name of the new party. He is referring to Chancellor Merkel's statement that there is " no alternative to saving the euro ". Of the 18 founders, only four were still members of the party in July 2017, including MP Martin Renner and former federal spokesman Konrad Adam.
More than 1,200 interested people attended the first public meeting on March 11, 2013 in Oberursel. At the first AfD party conference on April 14, 2013 in Berlin, Lucke was elected party spokesman with 96 percent of the votes, 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 her right-wing extremist tendencies. As a result of conversions, the AfD received a member of parliament in the Hessian state parliament and a few elected representatives in local councils for a short time.
In the federal elections of 2013 and the parallel state elections in Hesse , the AfD contested elections for the first time, achieved 4.7 percent, the strongest result of a new party at federal level since 1953 and failed to get 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 from the remaining places on the list, the first places were occupied by Hans-Olaf Henkel, Bernd Kölmel , Beatrix von Storch, Joachim Starbatty and Ulrike Trebesius .
A draft statute of the federal executive board, 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 former NRW state spokesman for the party Alexander Dilger . After controversial discussion, the draft was removed from the agenda. In the European election campaign, anti-fascist and anti-racist groups called for disrupting the start of the AfD election campaign under the motto “Nationalism is no alternative”. The Blockupy movement, which is critical of capitalism , also disrupted AfD campaign events.
After the European elections, the AfD entered a national parliament for the first time with a share of the vote of 7.1 percent. The AfD MPs joined the European Conservatives and Reformers (EKR) parliamentary group.
In the local elections in ten German states that were held at the same time as the European elections, 485 AfD representatives claimed seats in the municipal councils , district councils , representations in the respective urban districts and the Palatinate district council .
The party entered the state parliaments for the first time in all three state elections in 2014. In Saxony , the AfD received 9.7 percent of the second votes , in Brandenburg and Thuringia the figures were 12.2 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively.
Since the summer of 2014, the media have reported more frequently about the resignation of party members, especially members of the liberal wing, due to the AfD's shift to the right.
Essen party conference and first party 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 ethnic-nationalist " Patriotic Platform " under the then Saxon AfD board member Hans-Thomas Tillschneider supported Pegida from the start. Gauland attended a Pegida rally with several 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 a "Pegida party". On the other hand, Lucke and Henkel, in particular, held a distanced stance on the federal executive board.
"Erfurt Resolution" and "Wake-up call 2015"
From the Erfurt resolution initiated by Björn Höcke and André Poggenburg against the course of the party executive, the ethnic-nationalist party current " Der Flügel " grew . In its "founding document" it says that many supporters see the party as a movement against supposed "social experiments" and as a "resistance movement" against "eroding of Germany's sovereignty and identity". Götz Kubitschek is 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 founding of the association Wake-up Call 2015 . Its members saw the “existence and unity” of the AfD endangered by a takeover of power by representatives of the “ New Right ”. They don't want to found a new party, but rather strengthen the moderate wing. The AfD board members Alexander Gauland and Frauke Petry criticized the founding of the association as damaging to the party and contrary to the statutes. After Lucke left the AfD, around 2,600 members supported the founding of a new euro-critical party. Henkel and Patricia Casale resigned from the federal executive board, and MEP Marcus Pretzell was excluded from joint delegation meetings.
Essen party conference and ALFA split off
After months of power struggles within the party, the member party conference in Essen in July 2015 elected Frauke Petry in a contested vote to replace Bernd Lucke as the first party spokeswoman. Petry received 60 percent and Lucke 38.1 percent of the votes. Jörg Meuthen was elected second party spokesman. Lucke's replacement was classified by political scientists as a shift to the right and a victory for the national conservative over the economic liberal wing of the party.
After Lucke was voted out, there was a wave of resignations: 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 harsh legal course” and “rabble, protest and the spreading of prejudices” in 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 left the party. He cited the increase in Islamophobic and xenophobic views in the AfD as reasons, an “anti-Western, decidedly pro-Russian foreign and security policy orientation” and increasing demands “to pose the ‘system question’ with regard to our parliamentary democracy ” . Lucke explained that he "recognized too late the extent to which members were pushing into the party who wanted to transform the AfD into a protest and angry citizens' party". Critical commentators recalled Lucke's previous course, also to recruit voters on the right-wing fringe, to collect Thilo Sarrazin for the AfD in order to receive media attention and approval from the population with this "taboo break" and to work with right-wing populists.
Lucke founded the Alliance for Progress and Awakening (ALFA) party on July 19, 2015, which was joined by many former AfD members, including five MEPs from the EU Parliament, three from the Bremen Parliament and one from the Thuringian State Parliament. Overall, about 20 percent of the members left as part of the split.
Basic programme, problems in the countries 2016
Following a meeting between Frauke Petry and Marcus Pretzell and representatives of the FPÖ in early 2016, the Bavarian AfD state association agreed to cooperate with the FPÖ under the title "Blue Alliance".
In the spring of 2016, the AfD MEPs were forced to leave the European Conservatives and Reformists (EKR) group after Beatrix von Storch went off the rails. Von Storch joined the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) faction, while Marcus Pretzell switched to the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) faction.
See also: International Connections
Proceedings for the dissolution of the Saarland state association
At the end of March 2016, the federal executive decided to dissolve the Saarland state association because it saw violations of the party's political goals and internal order. The reason for this was research by Stern , which was intended to prove cooperation between the AfD Saarland and NPD officials as well as organizations from the NPD environment observed by the authorities for the protection of the constitution. The national association denied the allegations and appealed to the party's federal arbitration court, which initially suspended the decision in mid-April. At the end of April, the federal party conference approved 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 national association is disproportionate. The federal spokesman Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen then asked the state association in vain not to take part in the 2017 state elections.
Approval of the basic program
At the member party conference in Stuttgart in early May, the AfD adopted a basic program based on a draft program that had been created in several working groups and with the participation of around 1000 members.
In August, at the request of the Patriotic Platform , a May 2016 decision by the Federal Executive Committee that had refused to cooperate with Pegida was partially overturned.
Split in the Baden-Württemberg parliamentary group
In early summer 2016, the anti-Semitism controversy surrounding statements by state parliament member Wolfgang Gedeon led to a split in the Baden-Württemberg state parliamentary group. Gedeon had described the memory of the Holocaust as a " civil religion of the West" and Holocaust deniers as dissidents . He referred positively to the anti-Semitic pamphlet Protocols of the Elders of Zion . He also portrayed Judaism as the internal enemy and Islam as the external enemy of the Christian Occident . Country chief Jörg Meuthen linked his political fate to Gedeon's parliamentary group expulsion and announced that he would otherwise leave the parliamentary group. Gedeon offered to suspend his membership of the parliamentary group pending an expert assessment of his statements. After the group could not agree on three experts, a vote was taken, in which the two-thirds majority required for a group exclusion was not achieved. Meuthen then left the AfD parliamentary group with thirteen other MPs and founded the “Alternative for Baden-Württemberg” parliamentary group. After an intervention by Frauke Petry , Gedeon declared his voluntary resignation from the AfD parliamentary group.
Second party split in 2017
Conflicts about Björn Höcke and historical revisionist positions
The massively criticized speech in the 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 board. The party board saw it as proven that Höcke had "written articles under the name ' Landolf Ladig ' in the NPD publications 'Volk on the move' and 'Eichsfeld-Stimme'". The party exclusion process failed. Because of this speech, Höcke was banned from attending the commemoration event on International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Buchenwald concentration camp .
Stephan Brandner , AfD member of parliament and chairman of the legal committee of the Bundestag, met with the director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau Dora Memorials Foundation , Volkhard Knigge , during a visit to the 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" towards his party. Knigge, in turn, expected answers to questions about Höcke's speech, the " cult of guilt " alleged by AfD officials and other historical revisionist positions in the AfD. According to the foundation, Brandner had "clearly and unambiguously" accepted Höcke's demand for a turnaround in the culture of remembrance and trivialized ethnic and anti-Semitic statements as short-term derailments by a few individuals. Therefore, there was no substantive factual discussion about the work of the foundation.
Cologne party conference
The delegates' party conference in Cologne in April 2017 was preceded by a controversial discussion about the top candidate for the 2017 federal elections . In November 2016, the federal executive board suggested going into the election campaign with a top team. A member survey confirmed this recommendation. Shortly before the party conference, Frauke Petry announced that she would not be a top candidate. Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel were chosen as the top candidates with 67.7 percent of the delegates' votes. The delegates refused to deal with a so-called "future motion" by Petry, who wanted to commit the party to a "realpolitik course" and the goal of co-government. This was widely seen as a defeat for Petry and a further shift to the right for the party.
Second party split after the 2017 federal election
In the week before the federal election, Petry distanced himself from the top candidates Gauland and Weidel and expressed her understanding for voters who were "horrified" by their statements. She referred to Gauland's Vogelschiss speech and Weidel's e-mail affair , which had become known shortly before . The day after the federal 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 15 other state party officials had resigned.
After the 2017 federal election, the AfD entered the German Bundestag for the first time with 12.6 percent of the second votes.
A week before the federal elections, Die Blaue Party was founded by Michael Muster , a confidant of Petry's. She was joined in October 2017 by Petry, her husband Pretzell and Mario Mieruch , a member of parliament elected to the Bundestag for the AfD.
Wing struggle, elections in eastern federal states 2019
Before the 2019 state elections in the three federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia, another struggle for political orientation began in the party.
In Schleswig-Holstein, Doris von Sayn-Wittgenstein was elected state spokeswoman, although the AfD federal executive board is pursuing a party exclusion procedure because of her active support of right-wing extremist circles. Nine of the twelve board members resigned from the board of the North Rhine-Westphalia state association in protest against the dominance of the nationalists in the party, and in Bavaria several AfD deputies filed a complaint against the parliamentary group leader Katrin Ebner-Steiner , who is assigned to the Höcke camp .
While federal spokesman Jörg Meuthen spoke rather moderately in the run-up to the elections, Alexander Gauland said in a speech at the meeting of the ethnic " wing " in Thuringia that in order to come to power, one could "bite one's lip". In doing so, he is not calling on the right-wing extremists in the AfD to moderate their positions, just their language. At the same meeting, Björn Höcke threatened the national board that it would “not be re-elected in this composition”. This is understood in the party as a challenge to Jörg Meuthen , who had said at the Baden-Württemberg party conference that it was wrong in the AfD to “live out group-related enmity”. Meuthen was not elected delegate for the federal party conference in November 2019 by his district association, but almost exclusively people who are close to the ethnic wing .
Höcke's appearance at the wing meeting was criticized in an appeal signed by more than 100 party colleagues as lacking in solidarity and damaging to the party, and he was accused of promoting the personality cult surrounding him. The political positions he represented were not criticized in it.
According to an assessment by Der Spiegel , the wing is not marginalized in the party, 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 , have given up their resistance and allied themselves with him for career reasons.
The 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 gain new supporters by exploiting the corona pandemic. The paper that was presented recommended, among other things, that the party should offer itself to the participants in corona demonstrations as the political voice of the dissatisfied and thus “open the door to broader sections of society that were previously inaccessible to such arguments.” A strategy was thus formally defined , which had previously been practiced in the state associations, because AfD politicians were no longer just spectators of anti-corona demos, but supported their organizers in order to instrumentalize the pandemic protection laws as alleged patronage of the citizens.
elections and electorate
The AfD stood in elections for the first time in the 2013 federal elections and the parallel state elections in Hesse . With 4.7%, it achieved the strongest result for a new party at the federal level since 1953 , but failed to get into both parliaments. The party did not run in the state elections in Bavaria because it feared a negative signal for the federal elections a week later if it failed.
According to the results of the representative election statistics , the AfD was elected significantly more often by men than by women in the 2013 federal election. The party was most popular in the professional group of blue-collar workers . In addition, many former supporters of the FDP and the left voted for the AfD. 60% of AfD voters stated that they had voted for the AfD not out of conviction, but out of disappointment with the other parties.
In the 2014 European elections in Germany , the AfD received 7.1 percent of the vote and entered the European Parliament with seven MEPs ; she joined the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group.
In the local elections held in ten German states at the same time as the European elections, the AfD entered various local parliaments. The party achieved its best state-wide municipal result in Saxony. According to their own information, 485 AfD representatives were elected in the local elections for the municipal councils , district councils , representations in the respective urban districts and the Palatinate district council.
The party entered the state parliaments for the first time in all three state elections in 2014. In the state elections in Saxony , the AfD won 14 state parliament seats with 9.7 percent of the second votes . In the state elections held two weeks later in Brandenburg and Thuringia , the AfD received 12.2 percent and 10.6 percent of the vote, respectively.
Based on a study by the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy , Renate Köcher described the AfD in October 2014 as a party that gathered voters for whom European integration went too far and for whom immigration made some people uneasy. AfD supporters view the common currency and the European level more critically than the general public. The supporters see a risk for Germany's prosperity in the EU, perceive it as sluggish and fear that national characteristics will be lost in it. On the other hand, the topic of peace and the common economic area played a smaller role than the average for the population. It is also important for AfD supporters that the AfD break through the consensus of the other parties. Many see it as a party that differs significantly 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 to politics. The supporters see the party goals as limiting immigration, striving for tougher asylum laws, abolishing the euro , reducing the importance of the European level and representing 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 small and medium-sized businesses . Almost three quarters of the supporters believed that the AfD had the best plans for the future of all parties. Only in the case of the Union parties is the trust of supporters in their party similarly high.
The eighth Mitte study by the University of Leipzig on right-wing extremist attitudes in Germany, published in June 2014, surveyed 2,432 people, 52 of whom stated that they would vote for the AfD in an upcoming federal election. Of these, 26 (50%) held xenophobic , 15 (29%) chauvinistic (overly nationalistic) and 7 (13%) anti-Semitic views according to the Mitte study's classification pattern. In each of 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-Foundation and published in November 2014, 68 out of 1,915 people stated that they wanted to vote for the AfD in an upcoming federal election. According to the classification pattern of the survey, an above-average number of chauvinistic (41%), xenophobic (16%) and trivializing statements about National Socialism (14%) agreed.
According to analyzes by forsa and the German Economic Institute , in 2014 the supporters of the AfD differed significantly from those of right-wing extremist parties. At that time, AfD supporters tended to come from the upper and middle classes with relatively high incomes and a relatively high level of education. 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 non- denominational people and men. Employees and pensioners in particular liked the course of the AfD; The self- employed , civil servants and workers in the electorate rather less. 55% of AfD sympathizers positioned themselves in the political center , 28% on the right and 17% on the left .
2015: State elections in Hamburg and Bremen
The parliamentary elections fell into a phase of intra-party power struggles. The AfD just barely jumped 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 questioned stated that they wanted to vote for the AfD (cf. 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 more of a disadvantage (more of an advantage: 1%) and 79% were in favor of easing sanctions against Russia (sanctions retained: 21%). In another survey by the same institute in November 2015, a majority of 93% was in favor of “establishing transit zones at the borders” (vs: 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 (thereof: West Germany 7%, East Germany 12%). The growth of the AfD compared to the 2013 federal election is mainly due to former voters from 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 2016 state elections, the AfD was supported by distributing the free newspaper Extrablatt to millions of households. The pamphlet came from the Swiss Goal AG of the SVP-related PR entrepreneur Alexander Segert .
According to a study by the Institute of German Economics, the composition of the electorate had changed little in April 2016 compared to 2014. The study showed 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 for higher earners. In addition, there was only a very weak connection between concerns about immigration and net household income, meaning that fears of immigration are independent of income.
Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt
The AfD ran for the first time in the three state elections on March 13. It received 15.1 percent of the votes in the state elections in Baden-Württemberg, 12.6 percent in the state elections in Rhineland-Palatinate in 2016 and 24.3 percent in the state elections in Saxony-Anhalt . In doing so, it became the second strongest party in Saxony-Anhalt after the CDU and the third strongest group in the other two states. She won 15 direct mandates in Saxony-Anhalt and 2 direct mandates in Baden-Württemberg. In Saxony-Anhalt, the AfD entered a state parliament with the best result ever for a new party.
In the state elections in March 2016, an above-average number of workers and unemployed 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 medium education and belonged to the “core social democratic clientele”. A skepticism towards social modernization processes is typical for the AfD voters; an above-average number of their voters, 35 percent, are concerned about their own economic situation and are dissatisfied with the functioning of democracy.
State elections in Mecklenburg-West 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 it achieved 14.2 percent in the 2016 election to the Berlin House of Representatives .
In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, according to the results of representative election statistics from the Wahlen Research Group , the party was once again elected significantly more frequently by men than by women. The AfD also got its best result in the election in the group of workers (27 percent); for employees (18 percent) and civil servants (17 percent), on the other hand, their results were below average. It scored 17 percent in the 18 to 29 and over 60 age groups, while it scored 24 percent in the 30 to 59 age group.
According to the results of the research by Verena Hambauer and Anja Mays, "in terms of its electorate in the summer of 2016, the AfD [...] changed into the party of the 'little people' and the anxious". It attracts “compared to the electorate of the other parties, those with a below-average formal education who also feel they belong to the majority of the lower class”.
In contrast to these individual election results, a regression analysis of the 2016 Socio-Economic Panel data found that rejection of refugee immigration had the strongest direct impact on party identification with the AfD. Through the competition for jobs and social benefits, the social status has an effect, which only appears as an indirect, much weaker influencing variable. The authors Holger Lengfeld and Clara Dilger thus ascribe a higher plausibility to the “thesis of the cultural threat” than to the “thesis of the modernization losers”. The explanatory approaches of populism and protest voting behavior could not be examined in this context. Only one aspect of the "conflict line between cosmopolitans and communitarians " postulated in political science was considered. The authors conclude, however, that there is a fundamental conflict of values with established parties that cannot be resolved either by a pure distribution policy or by abandoning a more liberal immigration policy, which leads to a loss of voters. From this they predicted in 2018 that the AfD would be permanently established in the party structure.
Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate
In the state elections in Baden-Württemberg in 2016 and in Rhineland-Palatinate in 2016, the AfD was voted most strongly by people who belonged neither to the Catholic nor to the Evangelical Church: According to a study by Infratest dimap , the AfD reached 19 percent among this group of voters in both countries . Among the Protestants, the proportion of AfD voters was roughly the same as the national average (15 percent in Baden-Württemberg, 13 percent in Rhineland-Palatinate). The AfD was less successful among Catholics (13 percent in Baden-Württemberg, 10 percent in Rhineland-Palatinate). A poll of voters in Freiburg showed that every third voter with a migration background voted for the AfD.
A Forsa survey commissioned by Die Zeit showed that 30 percent of AfD supporters have more trust in Russian President Vladimir Putin than in 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 his assertion that the West would again treat Russia as hostile as it did during the Cold War , 78 percent of AfD sympathizers said yes.
2017: Elections in Saarland, in Schleswig-Holstein, NRW, to the Bundestag
In March 2017, another study by the German Economic Institute 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 have a high level and 20 percent have a low level. It is therefore just as impossible to speak of a fringe group phenomenon as of a “ precariat 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 people to vote for the AfD in the state elections. The AfD received 6.2 percent of the votes in the Saarland state elections and entered the Saarland state parliament with three MPs .
In the weeks before the NRW elections, the association for the preservation of the rule of law and civil liberties distributed 2.6 million copies of the campaign newspaper Extrablatt and rented around 2,000 advertising spaces. In doing so, he created anti-refugee sentiment and called for the AfD to be voted for 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 and was the strongest force there, measured by the second votes with 27%. Overall, the AfD fared significantly better in the eastern German states than in the west, with its highest scores in regions bordering Poland and the Czech Republic, and faring better in rural communities and small towns – often as the party with the most votes – 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, although 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 with 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 traffic on the federal election in social media during the election campaign, leaving 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.
In their final report, OSCE election observers pointed out that the Association for the Preservation of the Rule of Law and Civil Liberties advertised the AfD with around 600,000 copies of the weekly newspaper Deutschland-Kurier and posters and online advertisements specially designed for the federal election. In its final report, the OSCE therefore recommended considering third-party regulation of election campaigns in the future in order to ensure transparency and accountability in the election process. Among the elected AfD MPs, the proportion of women was 10.6%, lower than any other party represented in the 19th Bundestag, resulting in the lowest proportion of women among MPs overall since the 1998 federal 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, it shrank to 89 MPs.
According to an election analysis by the Wahlen research group, the AfD was again voted far more frequently by men (16%) than by women (9%) in the 2017 federal election. The AfD achieved its best results with 16% in the age group 30 to 49. However, among voters over 60 and in the age group 18 to 29, the AfD performed below average. For people with a degree, the party only got 7%. The AfD was also voted for by the unemployed with an above-average number of votes. Furthermore, the AfD is significantly more successful in East Germany than in West Germany.
According to a Bertelsmann study, the AfD received 28 percent of the votes in the socially precarious milieu in the federal elections and thus its strongest result in all milieus. In the bourgeois centre, the party received 20 percent of the votes, which is an increase of around 15 percentage points compared to the previous federal election, while the CDU and CSU lost about the same number there. Almost two-thirds of all AfD voters come from milieus that are more skeptical of modernization. The categorization of the people into the milieus in the study was carried out using a technique developed by the Sinus Institute based on social situation, values, lifestyles and basic orientations.
Lower Saxony state election
In the state elections 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 in those parts of the country where there is a relatively high level of unemployment, a high level of non-denominationalism and a comparatively low voter turnout.
In the European elections in Germany in 2019 , the AfD had a nationwide share of the vote of 11 percent.
In the state elections in Saxony in 2019 , the AfD received 27.5 percent of the second votes, in Brandenburg it was 23.5 percent. This made it the second strongest force in both state parliaments. The political scientist Aiko Wagner commented that the AfD in the east is partly replacing the left as a "protest party". This 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 the party is addressing people from the lower middle class, “who they perceive have done something to ensure that they are doing well”, but who are diffuse Fears about the future, after which everything would be very bad if things went on as before. In some areas, such as in south-east 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 strong.
A study by the Universities of Bielefeld and Münster, published in October 2019 in the journal Frontiers in Psychology , found that the AfD was successful in the 2017 federal election where many people were unemployed the previous year. In the election year, more hate crimes, i.e. attacks on refugees and refugee accommodation, were registered in regions where the AfD was successful. As far as the proportion of foreigners is concerned, there are major regional differences according to the study: in Germany as a whole there are fewer hate crimes with a higher proportion of foreigners, in the east it is the other way around. 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 in question; in the west, the opposite was observed in some regions.
In the state elections in Thuringia in 2019 , the AfD received 23.4 percent of the second votes 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 state elections , the AfD received 5.3 percent of the votes, which corresponds to seven seats in the state parliament.
A representative survey by Infratest dimap on behalf of the NDR media magazine ZAPP 2020 showed that 20 percent of all eligible voters in Germany believe that "politics and the media are deliberately exaggerating the danger of the corona virus in order to mislead the public". 54 percent of AfD supporters agreed with this theory of deception. Of all those surveyed, 68 percent believed that the public media’s reporting on the corona pandemic was credible, and 27 percent of AfD supporters believed so.
A study by researchers from Munich, Bielefeld and Jena revealed a striking correlation between the AfD’s share of votes in the 2017 federal election and corona infection rates in 2020. According to this, in regions with a high proportion of votes for the AfD in the 2017 federal election there were “greater increases in infection than in districts with relatively low AfD two-vote shares”. Accordingly, similar correlations could not be found for the other parties represented in the Bundestag. 401 German districts and urban districts were examined; According to the MDR , the study is therefore valid for the entire Federal Republic.
In the run-up to the 2021 federal election , in February 2021 the Bertelsmann Foundation published the results of a representative YouGov survey from June 2020. 10,055 people took part in the survey. Accordingly, 29 percent of AfD voters have a “manifest right-wing extremist ” attitude and another 27 percent represent a “latent right-wing extremist” attitude. 15 percent of those questioned support a right-wing dictatorship , 13 percent play down National Socialism , 13 percent represent anti-Semitism , 54 percent chauvinism , 65 percent xenophobia and 8 percent social Darwinism . Compared to voters of other parties and all those entitled to vote, the proportion of such attitudes is in some cases significantly higher.
In 2021, the opinion research institute asked people who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 about their party preference as part of a study. Exactly 50 percent of the 3,048 unvaccinated people who took part opted for the AfD, which, measured by the AfD result in the 2021 federal election, means five times more approval than in the general population. It was followed by Die Basis , a micro-party close to the lateral thinking movement , with 15 percent .
For the 2021 federal election campaign, the party members selected the parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel and the federal leader Tino Chrupalla with 71 percent of the votes as top candidates in a member survey. They prevailed against the second pair of candidates Joana Cotar and Joachim Wundrak . Voter turnout was 48 percent of members.
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|Legend: n.a. – did not show up; italics – best election result; blue - entry into Parliament; Election results in percent|
reception and interpretation
For the entire history of the AfD, some patterns of interpretation are consistently present. The EU skepticism with which the AfD occupies “a niche in the party landscape” in Germany is seen as a unifying element.
Three main currents within the party are often distinguished. They are widely referred to as national-conservative, right-wing populist and economically liberal or assigned comparable adjectives. For this reason, the AfD is repeatedly asked whether it wants to be “a conservative, in case of doubt national conservative party in the style of Alfred Dregger ” or whether it wants to become more radical.
Moderate programs are seen as a contrast to the radical political goals that appear in the rhetoric and agitation of AfD politicians, and sometimes as a calculus to obscure 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 forced other parties to take a clearer course in European politics.
The AfD was generally viewed as a protest party that could use positions vacated by the Union parties and, despite its national-liberal and conservative orientation, could also win over left-leaning voters with the euro issue. There was disagreement about the weight of their populist appearance. While it was sometimes considered non-existent or hardly present, "large sections of political science" described the entire party as right-wing populist.
A social media analysis by linkfluence showed hardly any overlaps between the AfD and the NPD. In European politics, she was attested to be very different from the Front National , PVV and FPÖ . Cooperation between UKIP and AfD, on the other hand, seemed conceivable, summarized the British political scientist Nicholas Startin : "Both want to expand immigration to include qualitative criteria, both want to stamp out the rescue packages, both want to bring decision-making power back to the national states." AfD made it clear that right-wing extremism will not be tolerated. Nevertheless, she opened herself up to former right-wing partisans.
In April 2013, an analysis by the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation described the AfD as a “party from above” with a significant democratic deficit that resembled a marketing campaign. A substantive participation of the new party members is undesirable.
Even after the federal elections in 2013, the AfD was portrayed as liberal-conservative and right-wing or national-conservative or national-liberal and “to the right of the Union”. "Defensive nationalism", conservative family policies and "tough" asylum and immigration policies were considered characteristic.
The party was also seen in the context and as "the result of a populist zeitgeist". Contrary to individual voices, it was now increasingly classified as at least partially right-wing populist or in the “grey area” between right-wing populist and right-wing extremist. “Massive quarrels and struggles over direction” went hand in hand with a “right-wing trend at the base of the party”. At the municipal level there are verbal xenophobic failures.
Helmut Kellershohn judged that after the state elections in Saxony in 2014 , the value and national conservative party wing of the AfD had gained popularity. He now named the three main cornerstones of the AfD: "National liberalism, Christian conservatism and ethnic nationalism ". In addition, attempts are being made conceptually, e.g. to tie in with plebiscitary elements and the reorganization of electoral law to the "state restructuring" of the declining Weimar Republic . 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 “ethnic-conservative movement” in terms of journalism and party politics.
In a comparative analysis of their 2014 European election program, their web and Facebook presence, however, Kai Arzheimer of the AfD was unable to prove any radicalism, nativism or populism, but saw them because of their national, market-liberal orientation and “their resistance to state-supported programs to promote sexual Diversity and Gender Mainstreaming” to the right of the other parties. Your program is most similar to that of a CSU that is not limited to Bavaria. However, Facebook posts would indicate more radical currents among ordinary members and followers.
After the 2014 state elections, Werner J. Patzelt claimed that the established parties had incorrectly devalued the AfD as a "right-wing populist party light" in order to get rid of it. According to Elmar Wiesendahl , the AfD was a new party for Germany and comparable to the Republicans in the USA . Wolfgang Renzsch did not consider the AfD to be purely a protest party, but saw parallels with right-wing movements and parties in other European countries, which also attracted protest voters. According to Jürgen W. Falter , the AfD “addressed taboo topics that other parties neglect or even avoid altogether”. It is programmatically similar to the CDU of the 1980s and the SVP in Switzerland.
In 2014, parallels to the founding phase of the Greens were increasingly being drawn, including by politicians from this party, such as Hubert Kleinert . Chaos potential and right-wing infiltration are comparable problems. Exclusion and demonization did not lead to the disappearance of the party, but to "a kind of persecution bonus". In 2015, Kleinert specified that the AfD was gathering Euro-critics, liberal-conservative notables , populist protest against immigration and the supposed rule of political correctness , as well as “those who were craving for assertiveness, those who had failed elsewhere, troublemakers and troublemakers of all kinds”. He predicted that a "Petry-AfD" would "leave the democratic party spectrum".
From the Essen Party Congress
After the Essen party conference in 2015, a shift to the right in the AfD was noted, which the party might "not survive". The fight for the direction of the party was decided in favor of the right-wing conservative wing under Frauke Petry, with a blurred demarcation to the right-wing fringe. Their right-wing populist positions are not only compatible with the economically liberal and national-conservative currents of the party, but "in a way even relate to each other". They would be brought together in a national “acquisitive or competitive populism”.
The spectrum of the AfD ranges from "conservative to right-wing extremist". She was "largely right-wing radicalized". Björn Höcke runs a "fascist agitation". Several political and historical scientists subsequently saw the AfD as a nationalist party. For example, the family policy of the AfD was associated with Christian-fundamentalist , ethnic and negative demographic ideas, which means that the connection to the extreme right is given.
For the political scientist Torsten Oppelland , the conflicts that led to the first party split “had more to do with different priorities, political styles and interests in power than with programmatic differences”. In the political guidelines of the AfD, "views of the liberal-conservative and the national-conservative wing of the party can be found in the same way."
According to Samuel Salzborn , the AfD is “put simply, the party of the average and mediocre, who feel degraded because they consider themselves above average”. It offers opportunities for identification and the prospect of enforcing one’s own interests, “even unhindered by the interests of others.” For the “ völkisch-nationalist ” clientele of self- described concerned citizens from the partly academically educated middle class, who hate enlightenment , rational thinking and equal rights, previously there had been a lack of a party that "united the entire anti-enlightenment resentment, but at the same time constantly denied being right-wing extremists". The AfD promises liberation from the burden of the Nazi past for these people, avoids the question of “one’s own socio-economic incapacity” and offers “ projection surfaces for both” in order to “search for and pursue these deficits all the more brutally in others.” “ to be able to. The basic right of freedom of expression is misinterpreted "with an anti-democratic thrust" and positioned against other basic rights such as human dignity or the principle of equality. "Neither ethnic agitation , nor racism, nor sexism , nor anti-Semitism are [however] in consensus with the constitution." In this way, an attempt is made to "position the means of democracy against democracy". Any insinuation by the party that one cannot express one's opinion on certain points in fact proves the freedom of expression that applies here, since one is also free to express such an assertion.
According to Andreas Rödder , parties were always founded at the “edge of the political consensus”. Such arose after the left-wing development of the Union parties on the question of the "ever closer union" in Europe and the refugee question as well as on the "culture of diversity, anti-discrimination and inclusion". The AfD has 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 certainly be seen , “namely among the German Nationals , who paved the way for the National Socialists 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 "combines right-wing revisionism in the tradition of many small parties since 1945 with efforts to connect to the center in society". She has points of contact with ultra-conservative intellectuals that enable her to “network in science and neo -conservative think tanks ”. The NPD or the Republicans lacked such access , although the political profile is becoming increasingly similar. Despite many currents, the party has recognized the importance of its unity. Therefore, this phenomenon will not go away by itself, but it is important that the citizens oppose what is happening here.
For the historian Paul Nolte , the aim of the AfD is “a Germany modeled on Viktor Orbán , an 'illiberal democracy'”. They propagate a “worldview of resentment, with ever new conspiracy theories and scapegoats. In principle, this is a worldview of permanent betrayal. The problem is: This idea has already eaten its way into society.
According to Marc Grimm and Bodo Kahmann, the party's historical image is based on "a right-wing radical historical policy" that is about " cultural hegemony ". By breaking taboos, an attempt is made to gain political acceptance for positions that "only with difficulty and in a process that lasted decades could be pushed out of the political arena". The AfD is trying to reverse this “process of civilisation”.
From autumn 2018
In September 2018, the political scientist Maik Fielitz noted a clear radicalization of the party; from an academic 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; to be observed is the propagation of a folkish world view, the exclusion of a large number of people and the reduction of complex social processes to " Manichean explanations" with their classification into "good or bad" or "right or wrong".
According to a study by economist Davide Cantoni , when it comes to AfD election results, there is a strong correlation between the election results in the places where the NSDAP was increasingly elected and places where the AfD has been successful in elections today. The proportion of NSDAP votes in the 1928 , 1930 and 1933 elections was used for the study. Cantoni rejected a direct substantive comparison between AfD and NSDAP, but emphasized that both parties obviously 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 judged the AfD to be 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 leading role. For Gideon Botsch (2019), the AfD is not a consistently ethnic or right-wing extremist party, but a “collective party”; However, it is "more than before, right-wing extremist dominated". The distancing from extremism is “rhetoric”. No "moderation through parliamentary practice" can be seen in the party, but an even stronger radicalization. The far-right wing adopts certain practices from the NPD and rejects others that are less successful.
According to a study by media scientists Thomas Hestermann and Elisa Hoven , the AfD systematically stirs up a fear of immigrants in press releases on the subject of crime. Based on the 242 AfD press releases from 2018 on this topic and after comparing them with the crime statistics, they come to the conclusion: "As far as the AfD names the nationality of suspects, 95 percent are foreigners and only 5 percent German."
In 2019, the historian Patrice Poutrus certified that the party polemicized “against existing regulations of the free-democratic basic order”. The party's attempt to appropriate the 1989 reunification in the GDR for election campaign purposes also shows "how far the staff of this party 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 and the denial of civil and human rights for those who are supposedly alien to the community, […] well and like to be seen as the idea of a GDR 2.0".
In August 2019, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation warned against describing the AfD only as right-wing populist. The party has meanwhile become a "modernized NPD " because it adopts many NPD topics, such as racism and NS relativization, and also uses corresponding vocabulary such as that of an alleged " repopulation ". The party defames democratic actors and tries to silence them, since they have now arrived in all parts of society. It has "developed into the parliamentary arm of the extreme right, which is attacking democracy at its very foundations like never before". Civil society organizations would have to distance themselves more from the AfD, “currying to 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 topics, 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 an overthrow of the basic democratic order”. It is "essentially a fascist party, especially in the East German states"; because on the one hand she stages “the racist German people as victims” and on the other hand uses the word democracy without minority rights or negotiations, meaning “a plebiscitary leader democracy, i.e. an autocratic government supported by the people with a strong leader”. If they are excluded from discourses, one hears accusations of censorship from AfD circles. The fact that only their opinion counts is a hallmark of “ proto-fascist actors”.
According to the political scientist and right-wing extremism researcher Hajo Funke (October 2019), the AfD is partly to blame for right-wing terror. Funke was referring 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 from Chemnitz on September 1, 2018. The fact that a Bundestag party stood together with right-wing extremists was “a beacon with far-reaching consequences”.
According to Gideon Botsch , the AfD electoral successes, especially in the east, as well as "the anti-parliamentary noise policy of the AfD parliamentary groups" were influenced by the NPD and the "right-wing extremist mobilizations in the 2000s", which explains the "experience with marches" and the " parliamentary obstruction work of fundamental opposition right-wing factions”. Apparently, “a part of the hard right-wing extremist 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 affected by its activities”. NPD slogans and buzzwords such as "lying press", "foreign infiltration" or "national community" are increasingly finding their way into the language used by the AfD and its milieu, and the racist insults that are an integral part of the AfD's repertoire also correspond to the language used by the NPD and its milieu milieus.
The comment by Alexander Gauland after the state elections in Thuringia in 2019 that he placed Björn Höcke in the “middle” of the party was seen by right-wing extremism researcher Matthias Quent as evidence that the AfD “has meanwhile arrived as a whole in right-wing radicalism”. As a party as a whole, the attention of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution should be “secured”. He also called for the party to be described as right-wing radicals, since it "questions basic rights and human rights". This radical element must also be named so that voters can no longer use their alleged protest votership as an excuse; because it is very much an "ideological agreement". Although not everyone in the AfD is an "ideologically right-wing radical", every party member and every AfD voter supports "a party with a right-wing objective".
Based on data from research projects on the spread of group-related misanthropic and authoritarian attitudes, the political scientist and sociologist Floris Biskamp is of the opinion that there has "probably always been potential for a double-digit right-wing extremist party" in the Federal Republic. The AfD is therefore mobilizing an existing potential. Regarding the shifting of the “limits of what can be said”, he stated that in the decades after the war there had also been “relativization of National Socialism, [...] racism, anti-Semitism, sexism , heterosexism like today with the AfD” and named the names Helmut Kohl , Alfred Dregger , Martin Hohmann and Franz-Josef Strauss . The everyday forms of racism and sexism are even more likely to be publicly discussed today than in the 1990s and could no longer be expressed so unchallenged. According to Biskamp, the radical and extreme right is a real danger; However, he sees the AfD's successes primarily as a result of the loss of binding power between the mainstream 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 radical party”. They are pursuing a “populist escalation strategy” and are “pushing the political discourse further to the right”. Häusler sees a historical parallel in the fact that “under the slogan of the conservative revolution ” there was “a certain affinity for right-wing extremist groups” among the conservative bourgeoisie.
For the Germanist and literary scholar Heinrich Detering , a “bewitching of the political discourse” is evident through “catchwords and combat vocabulary coming from the AfD, calculated provocative violations of the rules of politeness and tactfulness, which the violators see as trophies of their alleged struggle against templates and bans on speaking of an omnipresent political pin correctness to the 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 "dynamics for success" as being due to the "mixture of pragmatic and radical". Although it is consolidating itself through resources made available by the state, it has "so far not found any internal mechanism that would really have resulted in the consolidation of the party in terms of acceptance of the parliamentary-representative context". Therefore, one has to assume that "the relatively high proportion of right-wing extremists in the AfD, who only have a tactical relationship to the rules of the game of parliamentary democracy, dominates".
The political scientist Karin Priester sees in the AfD's successes a "return of what has been suppressed ": Conservatism has long been discredited as the stirrup holder of the National Socialists in Germany. The Conservative Revolution was entirely marginal and only metapolitically active. Now this trend is once again penetrating the public in order to “overcome the Christian 'humility conservatism' of the old Federal Republic and to rethink conservatism as an avant-garde appropriate to the present day ”. The AfD is considered 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 take representative democracy by storm, persecutes those who think differently and who look different and downplays right-wing extremist terror as self-defense”. Anyone who votes for the AfD today no longer has an excuse and the supporters of the party do not deserve to be taken seriously as so-called concerned citizens. You have to "energetically contradict and resist".
Patrick Stegemann and Sören Musyal state that the method of the AfD – two steps forward, one step back – “has now become an integral part of the political discourse”: “Two steps forward: shock. One back: wasn't meant that way, we're still part of the 'normal' discourse. Which resonates: 'But hey, think about what you don't mean!'”
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 doses of arsenic . They are swallowed unnoticed and after a while the toxic effect is there.” Kailitz stated that the poison of the ethnic concept had spread throughout German democracy. As countermeasures, he recommended, on the one hand, not allowing key concepts such as Germany, German, people, and citizens, as well as other central core symbols of German democracy, to be further contaminated by völkisch and, on the other hand, not repeating "uninformed racist distinctions such as 'passport Germans' and 'bio-Germans'". In 2020 Kailitz distinguished three phases of party development: under the leadership of Bernd Lucke and Frauke Petry, the AfD was a non-radical right-wing populist party, which developed into a radical right-wing populist party under the leadership of Petry and Jörg Meuthen, and finally after a phase of extremization under leadership of Gauland and Meuthen had become a right-wing extremist party.
The conflict researcher Maik Fielitz and the social scientist Holger Marcks pointed out that right-wing movements "place their own actions [...] in the tradition of righteous resistance against totalitarian regimes". Accordingly, the AfD tries z. For example, with the slogan Vollende der Wende "join the opposition movement of the late GDR " or "equate oneself with the resistance against the National Socialists ", for which the slogan " Sophie Scholl would vote for the AfD" stands for the Nuremberg AfD district association. In the overall evaluation of the party in 2020, they came to the conclusion that the AfD stands for "an alliance of conservative angry citizens , new right-wing ideologues and convinced neo-Nazis ".
In an analysis of 276,100 tweets from 243 AfD MPs on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day 2020, Jannis Niedick noted a "contentless, abstract form of remembrance". The demand for "never - again" is flanked in the tweets by a warning of "new - totalitarian ideologies" and a "moral - exaggeration" of commemoration by political opponents. The problem of anti-Semitism is only mentioned in connection with Muslims, ignoring the fact that, according to Niedick, anti-Semitism is firmly anchored in German society. With regard to the Holocaust, there is no mention of perpetrators, victims, survivors or historical processes or social structures in any tweet that led to the Shoah .
According to the political scientist and historian Michael Lühmann (2021), the AfD “does not see itself as supporting the state or capable of politics”, but is “about power conflicts and the distribution of offices and only secondarily about ideology”. Referring to the party's denial of climate change and the attempts to connect with the "lateral thinking" milieu, Lühmann said that there was "a form of denial of reality in the party to substantiate one's own ideology". At the end of the day, it's about " shooting democracy wounds ," similar to Trump 's plan . You take "everyone you can get with you".
Internal directional battle
The political scientist Oskar Niedermayer said: 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 positions and are not weakened. The now lacking clear demarcation could fall back on the party as a whole. Political scientist Hajo Funke believes that the protection of the constitution will hardly be fooled by the fact that the "wing" will dissolve itself . If the "wing" for the protection of the constitution is a case of observation "and there is so much wing in the party as a whole, then this is also a case of observation".
Political scientist Marcel Lewandowsky considered a split in the party unlikely in May 2020, even after the wing disbanded and Kalbitz was expelled. The respective actors knew “that a split would basically not bring them any advantages”. In such a case, they would “compete with each other in a relatively homogeneous electorate as far as attitudes are concerned”, which “could lead to radicalization and outbidding competition”. According to Lewandowsky, the AfD is also “less divided about ideological issues”, but rather “about strategic divergences”.
Referring to Andreas Kalbitz's expulsion from the party, 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 that Meuthen himself had "agitated against the 'non-cultural' [...]". . So it is not a substantive, but "a tactical power struggle - one uses an ambiguity at the beginning of Kalbitz's membership - and it is not about the ideological orientation". It was "a change happened, namely from the fermenting bunch to the right-wing extremist wing party". Gauland, as an apparent "mediator" between the currents, was also "always a mediator to the far right", since he "held his hand" over Höcke, Kalbitz and also "over 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 procedure", because Kalbitz's membership was "can only be canceled with a legal trick". because he "concealed his right-wing extremist vita" when he joined the party.
The political scientist Michael Lühmann is of the opinion that, in addition to the right-wing extremist "wing", there are also those in the AfD "who need the idea of a bourgeois mob to dress up their own right-wing radicalism". You know that from the NPD : You put “an apparently bourgeois person in front to protect the radicals”.
According to the editorial network Germany , in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany , a “new unrest” has been noticed that “has gripped the AfD”. She believes that "in the demand for an immediate end to the restrictions [...] she has found a new topic that takes her out of her perception valley" and wants to benefit "from the burgeoning resentment" against these restrictions. According to Tagesschau.de , after the “five-point immediate program” presented by the party in mid-March 2020, since Corona was spreading “more and more quickly”, there was a “conflict within the party over the interpretation of the pandemic ”. More and more voices have called for a “radical counter-position” and so-called “corona skeptics” are “more and more calling the shots”.
After the intrusion of troublemakers into the Bundestag, who in November 2020 gained access to Parliament via the offices of three AfD MPs and 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 “take responsibility for the AfD” and “should not be satisfied with the – possibly hypocritical – distancing and condemnations from the party and parliamentary group leadership”. You see “the usual AfD script. Crossing borders, distancing and a rich harvest on social media.” Frank Werner ( Der Neue Tag ) commented that the AfD “cannot get a grip on its claqueurs , and apparently it doesn’t 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 distortion of history". Comparing the Infection Protection Act with the Enabling Act enforced by the Nazis is “historical humbug”; Equating the mask requirement with the exclusion of Jews from shops during the Nazi era is “disgusting and cynical”.
How to deal with the AfD
Fedor Ruhose (SPD) pointed out in 2020 that the AfD electorate was characterized by “populist attitudes towards democracy”, in which compromises are no longer seen as constructive and the will of the majority is preferred to the protection and representation of minorities. Building on this, he sees a counter-strategy in counteracting these populist attitudes by building trust and thus “deactivating” them. On the one hand, this includes “solving the problems in the areas where the AfD is still being elected as a protest”, among other things he counts the eroded and no longer up-to-date infrastructure. In addition, local politics should be more responsive, for example through more citizens and district offices in the area. In addition, politicians need to “address people emotionally” in order to react to the emotionalisation of right-wing populism. On the other hand, he sees a strategy of imitation by other parties as a failure, which would only lead to a "normalization of the AfD" and its ideas. It is important to confront the voters of the AfD “not in a high-school way, but clearly […] with who and what they are voting for.”
Climate change denial and environmental politics
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 “always depends on the person”, as in the case of the defamation of Greta Thunberg , for example . According to ZDF, a study by Bernese scientists shows that the current climate change differs significantly from previous corresponding changes. Jörg Meuthen claimed that two thirds of the studies did not come to any clear conclusions, although the cause of climate change was not their subject of research - whereas the papers that actually make statements about the reasons for and responsibilities for climate change account for 97.1 percent of the Declare humans the main cause of the current rise in temperature. Committees made up of several hundred scientists, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , would also come to the same conclusions. According to Latif, there were already studies at the end of the 1980s on the connection between CO 2 emissions and climate change, which the AfD now disputes, the results of which are confirmed by current developments.
According to Michael Schäfer from the WWF , environmental policy cannot be “based on national needs”, as demanded in the AfD European election program, but requires cooperation between all states, as was the case at the Paris climate conference. The AfD is trying to solve this dilemma by simply denying man-made global warming.
The environmental historian Nils Franke rated the AfD’s Dresden declaration on environmental policy, which was drawn up in the summer of 2019, as “deeply populist, nationalist”, it bears “traits of right-wing nature conservation ideologies” and is aimed at the conservative or reactionary part of the environmental movement. Many promises were made in the field of conservation; behind it is "an economic system that relies on an enormous overexploitation of resources". The program is also reminiscent of the NS Reichsnaturschutzgesetz of 1935 and contains echoes of the NS blood and soil ideology , when the AfD writes that farmland "does not belong in the hands of international finance capital - Jewish , one might add -, but in 'peasant hands'”.
Researchers from the fields of social and political science see anti-Semitism among leading AfD representatives, despite claims to the contrary from the party.
Political scientist Gideon Botsch sees anti-Semitism as strong "at all levels" of the party. The party downplayed hatred of Jews, particularly on the extreme right, and had “entered into stable alliances on the street with actors who were anti-Semitic.” Topoi such as the “people betrayed”, the “ lying press ” or the “ Christian Occident 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 as rooted in classic folkish thinking. Despite attempts by leading AfD functionaries such as André Poggenburg and Frauke Petry to portray terms such as the Volksgemeinschaft as not genuinely anti-democratic and to separate them from the National Socialist legacy, the people are not defined in the sense of nation by rational, democratic criteria such as the decision to belong or not, but "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 when the AfD makes politics on the basis of this exclusively meant national community concept.
As an example of anti-Semitism in the AfD, Salzborn cites the handling of the statements by Wolfgang Gedeon . 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”. Former members of other parties who had previously been publicly anti-Semitic, such as Martin Hohmann (formerly CDU) and Ronald Gläser (formerly FDP), were also included.
Many other statements by senior party officials show the widespread anti-Semitism, such as the speech by the member of parliament Hans-Thomas Tillschneider in 2018 with reference to anti-Semitic conspiracy myths that "Islam" is being used by the Central Council of Jews in Germany "... to bring about multicultural conditions in Germany". , the dissemination of a link by an AfD city councilor to an article claiming that “not a single Jew” died as a result of “ Zyklon B or in the gas chambers ”, the statement by an AfD district chairman that the “block of Jews "A lot of influence" would have, "economically, culturally", the speech by the Hessian state treasurer Peter Ziemann about "satanic elements in the financial oligarchy", the Facebook comment by the Saxony-Anhalt state politician Dirk Hoffmann that the Israeli approach in Gaza was "at least just as bad” as the Holocaust, or the official reaction of the federal AfD to the 2018 report, Israel wants to deport refugees to Germany: "One 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 shows that there are anti-Semites in the AfD, "but not only". Calling the AfD an anti-Semitic party is “very problematic”. He also cited the support of Israel by the AfD parliamentary group, which in 2019 was “the only party in the Bundestag to have represented the “official Jewish position on the Middle East conflict without any ifs or buts”, “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"; she brings in the Bundestag "pro-Jewish motions - such as [...] the demand for a ban on Hezbollah ". He does not understand the concerns of leading representatives of the Jews with regard to the AfD.
Salzborn condemns 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 believes that the AfD can by no means be a kind of ally for Jews because of its widespread historical revisionist anti-Semitism. In addition, the pro-Israel attitude of the AfD has now largely become a myth. At the Cologne party conference in 2017, for example, an application to include a paragraph on “consolidating German-Israeli friendship” in the Bundestag election program was rejected.
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."
The Federal Ministry of the Interior, which listed a number of anti-Semitic incidents within the AfD in the study Anti-Semitism in Germany at the end of 2018 , pointed out that all of the cases mentioned had been addressed by journalists, politicians or scientists; of its own accord, the AfD did not take action against anti-Semitic members.
The historian Peter Longerich describes an ambivalent dual strategy of the AfD on this issue. On the one hand, she makes statements for Israel and against anti-Semitism, on the other hand, she sends tongue-in-cheek signals to her own followers that it is not meant to be taken seriously.
According to an analysis by political scientist Lars Rensmann commissioned by the American Jewish Committee , anti-Semitism is part of the “programmatic core” of the party. In the AfD and its electorate, according to Rensmann, “despite some lip service to the contrary, hostility to Israel, relativization of the Holocaust , anti-Semitic conspiracy thinking and anti-Jewish images occupy a prominent place”. Israel is used by the AfD primarily for an "anti-Muslim attitude", but in tweets from the federal party it is also associated with anti-Semitic clichés such as that of the "money Jews". The AfD has also repeatedly launched “targeted campaigns” against prominent Jews in Germany such as Anetta Kahane and Michel Friedman .
Prominent Jewish Positions
In October 2018, Charlotte Knobloch , President of the Jewish community in Munich and Upper Bavaria , judged that the AfD was the first party to get into the Bundestag "whose program can be summed up with the words: Jews out". She specified that the AfD, despite having Jewish party members, is anti-Semitic and represents a program that makes 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 the diplomatic side had neither official nor unofficial connections to the AfD, because the party "obviously had a very problematic relationship with the German past". She considers the AfD's efforts to portray itself as pro-Israeli "a kind of alibi".
Israel's ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff , described statements made by AfD leaders as "highly offensive to Jews, to Israel and to the whole issue 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 President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany , Josef Schuster , the AfD is trying “to exploit the issue of anti-Semitism among migrants in order to denigrate migrants in general”. He assumes "that the AfD would also agitate 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 it had to be defended by the AfD. In November 2021, he described "crude statements" by AfD officials in the Bundestag "also as a catalyst for anti-Semitism" and again rejected the party's self-portrayal as an advocate of Jewish life. After the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019 , his deputy Abraham Lehrer pointed out a “brown border” at the AfD: “This prance on the border and standing with one foot beyond the border and being careful that you don’t really commit too much criminally damaged, they're great at that."
Michael Szentei-Heise , head of administration at the Düsseldorf Jewish community, blames the AfD for an increasingly hostile attitude towards Jews in Germany. With her appearance and certain statements, she ensures that society as a whole is brutalized 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 found that 19.4% of AfD supporters agree with classic antisemitic stereotypes - more than sympathizers of other parties - and 47% of AfD supporters agree with positions of Israel-related antisemitism .
In June 2018, an Allensbach study 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 true?” 55% of AfD voters answered “yes” (and 23% “no”). Among supporters of the other parties, approval ranged from 16% to 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 average for the population was 3%.
A survey by the INSA Institute made it 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 sympathizers of the other major parties agree with the memorials 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 disagreed with the statement between 7 and 15%. In a survey conducted in November 2019 by the opinion research institute Forsa 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 from the victorious powers ”. Among the AfD voters it was 15 percent.
relationship with the media
Julian Schärdel analyzed in 2016 that the AfD's relationship with the media had been "more than tense" since it was founded. For example, she received disproportionate media attention for the 2014 European elections, but this was "clearly negative across political and journalistic boundaries". Since the first split in the party, however, there have been no benevolent editorials about the party in the bourgeois daily newspapers such as the FAZ , the Handelsblatt or the Welt . Now the reporting in the leading media is consistently negative.
According to Helmut Kellershohn , the party received support from the start from Junge Freiheit (JF), 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 and later Petry. After initial skepticism, Götz Kubitschek from the Secession tries 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-wing rally" within the party. According to Alexander Häusler , a “new right-wing 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) repeatedly criticized that journalists were attacked, threatened and pushed out of events by AfD members or sympathizers. Its federal chairman, Frank Überall , explained that the AfD had "not understood the task of journalism as a corrective of politics". In some cases, media representatives were excluded from party events.
AfD politicians use provocative statements strategically, which are then put into perspective or denied in order to gain a hearing in the media. Statements by officials on several occasions, such as the use of firearms at the border, caused outrage. 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 “very consciously and purposefully be politically incorrect again and again”, but at the same time seriousness should be maintained and the statements should still remain within the framework of the free democratic basic order. The clearer and more controversial the AfD positions itself, the less the media can ignore it.
Alexander Nabert described a basic problem with 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 objection. If an interview is too critical, she looks for a scandal, provokes the termination and polemicizes against the lying press , which is hated anyway .” No matter how you conduct an interview: the AfD always wins. Jan Sternberg also commented in the editorial network Germany that representatives of the AfD often play the role of the victim. The AfD representatives tried to "massively rewrite the rules of the game in their favor" and gave " free rein to their contempt for freedom of the press ".
Assessment by human rights organization
In September 2017, the director of the German section of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Wenzel Michalski, described the AfD’s entry into the German Bundestag as follows: “Xenophobic populists are moving into the Bundestag – established parties should oppose any hate politics.” With its election program and rhetoric , the AfD "clearly shows its contempt ... for human rights and equal rights for everyone in society" . The "... ubiquitous xenophobia [of the AfD] is also evident in their position on internal security, which is completely focused on crimes committed by foreigners". Well-known "... AfD politicians have gone public with deeply problematic statements..." including "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 Council of Europe ’s independent Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI – European Commission against Racism and Intolerance ) noted with concern in its sixth audit report on Germany for the period 2014-2019 that “there is a high level of Islamophobia and the public discourse … has become increasingly xenophobic” and “racism … is particularly evident in two sub-organizations of a new party [the AfD]”. The AfD speak out “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 the AfD members, and several have been expelled from the party. In January 2018, three AfD members deleted “racist and xenophobic comments” 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-organisations”. 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 "ending state funding for 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.
localization by the population
In several representative surveys, the population was asked how they politically located the AfD: 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 respondents classified the AfD as right-wing extremist . According to a February 2017 YouGov poll commissioned by Statista , 64 percent of respondents agreed 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 they believed that right-wing extremist ideas were widespread or very widespread in the AfD; in November 2020 this figure rose to 85 percent. In another survey by the same magazine, also in November 2020, 72 percent of respondents believed that the AfD was a threat to democracy, which 26 percent said no.
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Monographs by Former Members
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Contributions in anthologies
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