Party conference and protest in Essen: AfD leadership duo stays – Weidel wants to end “hippie madness”

Party conference and protest in Essen: AfD leadership duo stays – Weidel wants to end “hippie madness”
Party conference and protest in Essen: AfD leadership duo stays – Weidel wants to end “hippie madness”

Alice Weidel is soothing the AfD’s wounded soul after several scandals. Co-leader Chrupalla wants better candidates. Essen shows how pressure from outside promotes the party’s unity.

Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla are to remain joint leaders of the AfD for another two years. According to the AfD’s count, almost 83 percent of voters voted for Chrupalla at the federal party conference in Essen. Weidel received almost 80 percent of yes votes. There are no surprise contested candidates, as was common in the early years of the AfD, to fill the top positions this time.

Instead: pure harmony. Chrupalla suggests his “beloved” co-chair as a candidate. Weidel takes up the ball and announces that she wants to start planning the federal election campaign together “with my beloved Tino”.

The two-day event in Essen is accompanied by massive protests and sit-ins. While Weidel rails against the established parties and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution on the first day, Chrupalla appeals to his party colleagues to exercise more care when drawing up candidate lists in the future.

Party leader’s harsh choice of words goes down well

Germany has “degenerated into a pony farm,” complains Weidel. Addressing the traffic light government, she says: “Dear government, get out of here already and clear the way for new elections!”

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution is monitoring the AfD as a suspected case of right-wing extremism – an assessment that the Higher Administrative Court in Münster confirmed in May. Amid applause from her party colleagues, Weidel complains: “The Office for the Protection of the Constitution has itself become an enemy of the constitution, and it should be abolished in this form.”

If the AfD takes part in the government, it will repeal the new citizenship law that has just come into force, with shorter deadlines for naturalization, says Weidel. The Union has also announced this. The AfD leader says: “Germany will abolish itself if we don’t pull our weight and finally put an end to this woke hippie madness.”

Co-chair speaks of “coaching team”

In her opening speech, Weidel chose a football metaphor and spoke of a “coaching team” in the party leadership. Perhaps she wanted to take the wind out of the sails of party friends who suspected that she wanted to push co-chairman Tino Chrupalla aside and position herself as the top candidate for the 2025 federal election. A proposal to abolish the dual leadership did not find a majority in Essen.

For some delegates, the journey to the hall becomes a gauntlet

Some AfD politicians are having difficulty getting to the Grugahalle on time due to the massive protests and blockades. Tens of thousands of AfD opponents marched through the streets of the Ruhr metropolis in the morning. The police, who are deployed with several thousand officers, are reporting some violent disruption and several arrests. According to the police, two police officers were kicked in the head as they led a politician through a group of demonstrators. The officers were kicked while still lying on the ground. They were taken to hospital with serious injuries. Seven other officers were slightly injured in the incident.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) wrote on X: “We need strong democratic forces and peaceful protests against right-wing extremism and racism. There is no justification for violence.”

Weidel: Ukraine does not belong to the EU

With regard to the war in Ukraine, Weidel accuses the traffic light coalition of escalating rhetoric. “These traffic light ministers should finally take responsibility and go to the front themselves, but keep their hands off our sons and fathers,” she says. Weidel receives loud applause when she says that it is in the interests of Germany and Europe “that Ukraine does not belong to the European Union and to Europe.”

In the European elections on June 9, the AfD gained 15.9 percent of the vote, but fell short of its own expectations. Reports about the Potsdam meeting of radical right-wingers on so-called remigration, the new competition from the Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW) alliance and the allegations against its top candidate, Maximilian Krah, who had been making headlines for weeks because of alleged connections to Russia and China, among other things, are likely to have hurt the party. The second on the AfD’s European election list, Petr Bystron, was searched on suspicion of bribery and money laundering.

The sun is said to rise in the east

In Essen, Chrupalla is campaigning for more professionalism in his party, referring to the recent European elections. “We could have got 20 percent,” he says. Chrupalla is also calling on his party colleagues to be more careful when selecting candidates. “We must look more closely at our candidates in the future,” he says. He is optimistic about the state elections in Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg in September. The new and old party leader says: “The sun of government responsibility must rise for us in the East.”

When the voting results were announced after the election, he said: “I’m really a bit overwhelmed.” In Riesa two years ago, he was only able to get a slim majority of the delegates behind him, with around 53 percent. Weidel got 67.3 percent back then. The AfD does not count the abstentions here.

In his speech, Chrupalla emphasized successes. He and Weidel had ended the struggle for direction in the party. Today, “We are the liberal-social alternative for Germany.” He also highlighted the development of membership. According to him, the AfD now has 46,881 members, 17,723 more than at the beginning of 2023.

Weidel only woman on the board

After the election of Weidel and Chrupalla, there are no big surprises in the filling of the other twelve positions on the AfD board, nor are there any real fights, as was often the case in the past. The board is getting five new faces. The North Rhine-Westphalian Bundestag member Kay Gottschalk is moving into the second row as the new AfD vice-chairman. The other two vice-chairmen Stephan Brandner and Peter Boehringer are confirmed. The federal chairman of the Young Alternative (JA), Hannes Gnauck, also secures a seat on the board.

Weidel is now the only woman in the AfD leadership committee, as two colleagues from the old board are leaving. When asked about this, the co-leader said: “I feel comfortable, I am protected, I don’t have to be afraid here.” She encourages women to run for office in the AfD. As a party, the party is against quotas.

Source: Stern

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