The protests of the past few weeks have recently meant headwinds for the AfD. Now the party has lost a district election in Thuringia despite a clear lead in the first round.
The AfD lost the runoff election for the district office in the Saale-Orla district in eastern Thuringia. The CDU candidate Christian Herrgott prevailed against AfD man Uwe Thrum, as the state returning officer announced. Thrum went into the runoff election with a clear lead and was hoping for the second AfD district office nationwide after Robert Sesselmann in Sonneberg.
Voter turnout higher than six years ago
After all voting districts were counted, CDU candidate Herrgott received 52.4 percent of the votes. Thrum achieved 47.6 percent. The 39-year-old Herrgott is general secretary of the Thuringian CDU and has been a member of the state parliament since 2014. His first day of work as district administrator is scheduled for February 9th.
Of the more than 66,000 eligible voters, around 69 percent took part in the runoff election. In the first round two weeks ago, voter turnout was around 66 percent, twice as high as in the last district election in 2018. Thrum dominated the first round with 45.7 percent of the vote. Good Lord came to 33.3 percent. The Thuringian AfD is classified and monitored by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution as definitely right-wing extremist.
Hundreds of thousands against the right-wing and AfD on the streets
Across Germany, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets again at the weekend against right-wing extremism. According to the police, up to 100,000 people were on their feet in Düsseldorf alone. In Hamburg there were around 60,000 on Sunday. Several thousand people also came to protests in Thuringia. Last week in the Free State, a broad alliance of over 3,400 municipalities, associations, companies, churches and individuals presented themselves to the public under the title “Cosmopolitan Thuringia”.
The election was seen as the first test of sentiment for the upcoming elections in Thuringia. In May, a number of district administrator and mayoral seats will be filled in the Free State. The state elections are coming up on September 1st. The AfD is well ahead in surveys, recently reaching values above 30 percent. The situation is similar in Saxony and Brandenburg, where elections are also due in the fall.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.