AfD falls short of expectations in local elections in Thuringia

AfD falls short of expectations in local elections in Thuringia
Tino Chrupalla on Saturday

In many cities and districts, run-off elections for top positions were looming in the evening. According to preliminary figures from the state election officer, AfD candidates are likely to have made it to the second round in only a few cases. In the state capital of Erfurt, there is likely to be a duel between the CDU candidate and the SPD incumbent.

  • Also read: AfD excluded from right-wing group in the European Parliament

In Jena, an FDP politician was ahead – it was initially unclear who would be the opposing candidate. Run-off elections between the two candidates with the highest percentages will be necessary wherever no candidate received more than 50 percent of the votes. In rural areas, after the first counts, it was mainly the CDU and the AfD that were racing to see who would be the strongest force in the communities.

In the Altenburger Land district, AfD candidate Heiko Philipp received the most votes in the district administrator election. However, as he missed the necessary absolute majority with 33.0 percent, a runoff election with second-place CDU candidate Uwe Melzer will decide the future district administrator in two weeks, at the same time as the European elections. Melzer received 32.2 percent. In addition, the AfD initially did not have any major electoral successes in the vote for district administrator posts and mayoral offices.

“Confirmed right-wing extremist”

The local elections, with 1.74 million eligible voters, are seen as a test of the current strength of the AfD, which is classified as “certainly right-wing extremist” in Thuringia under its state chairman Björn Höcke. A new state parliament will also be elected in the state at the beginning of September. In polls for the state elections, the AfD is in the lead despite various scandals.

In the 2019 local elections, the CDU was the strongest party with 27.3 percent of the votes cast. The AfD received 17.7 percent, the Left Party 14 percent and the SPD 13.4 percent. However, the AfD significantly increased the number of its candidates in the local elections this time.

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