How the AfD wants to expand its influence in the local elections in the east

How the AfD wants to expand its influence in the local elections in the east

Everyone is looking at the European elections and the so-called Eastern elections. Meanwhile, the AfD is in the process of expanding its strongholds in the municipalities – with possibly extreme consequences.

One of the places where democracy is defended in Germany can be easily found in Sonneberg, where Marienstrasse intersects with Karlstrasse. Here, on the ground floor of an inconspicuous apartment building, you can see what is left of the once sole ruling CDU. Beate Meißner sits between old posters, office furniture and party paraphernalia, sips a cup of filter coffee and says: “We live in a new reality.”

Her reality: For almost a year, the southern Thuringian district of Sonneberg has been governed by an AfD district administrator. “And we have to come to terms with that,” she says. “Unfortunately, we cannot afford the academic debates that are taking place in the capital.” Shortly after the district administrator’s election in June 2023, her district association announced that they would of course have to work with the new head of administration: the district and its people came first.

Beate Meißner seems as if the CDU had carved itself a model politician. The 42-year-old qualified lawyer and mother gives everyone she meets a radiant smile and, depending on the person she is talking to, oscillates between village-compatible value conservatism and non-binding cosmopolitanism. She also represents the entire local party in personal union: as district chairwoman, as a member of the district council, the city council and the state parliament, and as vice chairwoman of the no less troubled state party. Beate Meißner therefore has the complicated task of preventing the AfD from taking complete power in Sonneberg.

While everyone is looking at the European elections these days or the state elections in the fall, their fight is taking place earlier: on May 26th, when a week-long series of local elections begins in Thuringia, which will be held in a total of nine federal states, including all five states in the East.

Source: Stern

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