Leaflet affair: Aiwanger’s first appearance after apology

Leaflet affair: Aiwanger’s first appearance after apology

He comes? Or is he not coming? He came. Hubert Aiwanger, who has been criticized, opened the Aschauer Markt in the Chiemgau in the evening. His speech in the beer tent ended up being a home game.

The municipality of Aschau im Chiemgau is a lovely spot, almost 6000 inhabitants, located at the foot of the Kampenwand, close to Lake Chiemsee. You have a well-known children’s clinic for orthopedics, the young patients come from all over the world. Since 2016, around 80 refugees and asylum seekers, some from all over the world, have been living at the entrance to the village, in the former Weißbräu inn, opposite the Catholic rectory. And one can say that their linguistic assimilation in their new home country has obviously succeeded, because the young women, men and children like to greet each other in the local idiom with Servus and Grüß Gott.

In the monthly community bulletin, Mayor Simon Frank from the “Future for Aschau” wishes his citizens a nice summer and praises the healthy club life. People meet in the local club or traditional costume club or in the sports club or for “Bankerlsingen”, Aschau calls itself the “Bankerldorf”, more than 200 of them along the Prien, in fields and in the woods.

The keynote speaker: Aiwanger of all people

Tourists feel it is subito, a place of deceleration. Most shops close at midday, two hours of siesta. Life is tranquil and dignified on the edge of the Alps – with the exception of four great days at the end of August and beginning of September, when there is a market in Aschau and a huge marquee is heaved onto the meadow in Schützenstraße, space for several hundred, and the beer is tapped in the evening and traditionally a keynote speaker appears and sets the mood. This year, and of all things, Hubert Aiwanger, head of the Free Voters in the Free State, Bavarian Minister of Economics and Deputy Prime Minister, has been at the center of the disgusting “Flyer Affair” for days, those disgusting pamphlets that were written during his time at the Burkhart-Gymnasium in Mallersdorf- Pfaffendorf were found in his satchel.

Aiwanger “can’t remember much” from this time, as he affirms in slightly peculiar language. About the number of battle sheets (“First prize: free flight through the chimney in Auschwitz”) and how they got into his pocket. But it is true that he was not the author. On the evening of the publication in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” his brother Helmut dutifully reported and complained about the copyright. Since then, little by little, more and more has come to light. Former classmates get in touch, sometimes anonymously, sometimes with real names. Some of them saw the young Hubert as a right-wing man who sometimes raised his arm in a Hitler salute, imitated Adolf, told horrible jokes about Jews and made fun of the hungry bellies of African children. Others, especially Hubert himself, cannot remember such failures.

At the beginning of the week, Aiwanger was ordered to Munich for a report, and a visibly angry country father Söder handed him a catalog of questions with an urgent request for answers. It was something like a dark yellow card in football. The success of this written test remains uncertain insofar as new questions pop up every day, and the one who could answer them, Hubert Aiwanger, contrary to other custom, does not speak plain language, but above all cryptic-erratic stuff. Something like this: “It’s definitely the case that maybe in my youth one way or the other can be interpreted in one way or another, what I’m being accused of here as a 15-year-old… But in any case, I’ve been saying since adulthood, the last decades: not an anti-Semite, not an extremist, but a philanthropist.” He could “put all hands on fire” (“Welt-TV”) for the last few decades. In between, an interspersed “smear campaign” could be heard via his spokesman or via X, formerly Twitter, seconded by party friends who classified the whole thing under the rubric “youthful sin”.

Aschau sweats towards Hubsi

That was roughly the situation before Aiwanger’s beer tent appearance. Until recently, marquees were considered natural terrain for the coarse rhetorician from Lower Bavaria. Since the weekend you don’t know that exactly anymore. The pressure is growing by the hour – there will also be a special session of the state parliament next week. And Aiwanger? Take the pressure off. On Thursday during the day he had already canceled several appointments, in the afternoon he read a dry statement to the media, “I also made mistakes as a teenager. I deeply regret if my behavior leads to the pamphlet in question or other allegations against me hurt feelings when I was young”, but then and again: “I have the impression that I should be finished off politically and personally.”

Now they are waiting in the marquee for someone that some really didn’t want to wait for. In the days before, audible grumbling here and there about Aiwanger – and completely apart from the pamphlets, more fundamental. But such a real festival needs a speaker. 16.30 o’clock. First soft tuba tones from the tent, rehearsal of the “Priener Buam”, from the meadow across the way the sound of cowbells blows. 6 p.m., the people of Aschau make their way to the tent, the density of dirndls and lederhosen is at a high level appropriate to the location, 615 meters above sea level. Above all the question: Is he coming? And if so, what does he say? And if not, what does that tell us?

Doors open just before 6.30 p.m. Mayor Frank gets the barrel going with three strokes. Ready to go. Sepp Lausch from the Free Voters takes the stage and answers the mother of all questions: “The Aiwanger is coming”. And he comes. Cameras, flashlight, shaking hands. Hubsi in his element.

Lausch introduces him, Hubert. With an old Indian proverb, as he says: “Whoever speaks the truth needs a fast horse.”. He praises the “most normal and intelligent politician in our political caste: Hubert Aiwanger!

This sets the tone for the next 40 minutes.

Enter Aiwanger, his white shirt rolled up, of course. Applause. And he starts straight away: “The real Greens, the farmers and real conservationists are sitting here in this tent.”

He declined the election program up and down

It’s about medium-sized businesses and property, civic relief, crafts, regional and local structures. And again and again about common sense, which he plumbs here in the tent, but not in Berlin. He jumps to China from the start, calls for an industrial counter-strategy, castigates the “industrial reverse gear of traffic lights”.

Aiwanger declined the election program of the free voters up and down, unerringly and skilfully sets punch lines. He can campaign. Not a word about the pamphlet. This Aiwanger has nothing to do with the Aiwanger who, a few hours earlier, tight-lipped and pale, read the statement from the sheet for a little over two minutes. Then sat in the car, had himself driven to Aschau, and Hubert from the country got out of the car. He says what people want to hear. He’s the beer king here.

Further on in the text, a eulogy to the combustion engine is followed by a eulogy to firewood, then a hymn to family, homeland and tradition.

The tent begins to sweat, a beer costs 10.80 euros, half a roast chicken too. Coziness cheers. It bangs and sounds from the benches.

A few more swipes at Lauterbach and the cannabis release. And, of course, that must not be missing in a hearty speech in the country, with him, Hubsi, there will be no tightening of gun laws. Instead, however, a prospect for young families of their own house. Away with the inheritance tax, also because “a house must be a savings bank for the citizens again.”

It goes on like this for a while, back and forth, mostly. After 38 minutes he calls out “hope for the future instead of fear of the future”. And that was it.

Applause surges through the tent, maybe not an ovation, but a lot of encouragement. Friend and party colleague Sepp Lausch, the one with the Indian proverb, rejoins the stage and repeats another proverb: “The biggest scoundrel in this country is and will always be the informer.” Timid applause. Lausch gives Hubsi a back protector, like motorcyclists use, “because Hubert is the only one with a backbone.” A few laughs and claps.

flourish and end. Aiwanger swims through the crowd to the exit. He smiles a lot, shakes hands. It was a home game.

On Friday it’s back to normal. And that’s more uncomfortable for Hubert Aiwanger than an evening in a beer tent.

Source: Stern

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