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Björn Höcke is under pressure – there is the next revolt against him

Björn Höcke is under pressure – there is the next revolt against him
Björn Höcke is under pressure – there is the next revolt against him

In Thuringia, the AfD state leadership under Björn Höcke prevented two nominated direct candidates from being allowed to stand in the state election. The reason behind this is once again the dispute over positions.

The warning from the party headquarters reached the members of the Thuringian AfD at the weekend. There was “a deliberate sabotage” of the state election campaign, the state executive announced. A decision on “appropriate measures” would be made “shortly”. The circular, which was sent by email, is available to the star before.

The latest dispute in the state party concerns two unavailable direct candidates for the state election on September 1st. The party leadership under Björn Höcke did not want to accept their nomination in the constituency. First they contested the election, whereupon the state arbitration court proposed a new nomination meeting, but the elected candidates successfully took legal action against this. Finally, the state executive committee resorted to the last resort: It refused to sign the candidacies as required by the electoral law, meaning that they were not registered with the state election officer – and were lost.

The result: The AfD is only running one of three possible direct candidates in the Wartburg district. The two constituencies not occupied by the party are likely to go to the CDU.

State executive speaks of “scheming approach”

On Saturday, the local power struggle escalated. Klaus Stöber, the AfD member of the Bundestag from West Thuringia, attacked Höcke head-on and publicly. Anyone who reverses a proper election because they do not like the candidates chosen “disqualifies themselves not only as state chairman, but also as a possible state premier,” wrote Stöber in a long message on social media. The state executive committee responded shortly afterwards with its circular email in which it accused the MP of “scheming behavior.”

As unusual as the conflict seems, it fits perfectly into a development that has been observed for months and can be summed up as follows: Höcke’s power is eroding.

Things have not been going well for the Thuringian state leader for some time. His erratic appearance in the TV debate with Thuringian CDU leader Mario Voigt was followed by two convictions for chanting a Nazi slogan. Even high-ranking party colleagues were internally irritated by Höcke’s sometimes whiny, sometimes aggressive speeches before the Halle regional court.

At the same time, there were nationwide reports that the AfD was competing with itself in the district council elections in the Saalfeld-Rudolstadt district with two lists. The state executive board reacted with party exclusion proceedings, which in turn led the renegades to demand that Höcke resign.

In general, the Thuringian result of the European and local elections seemed rather ambivalent. The Thuringian AfD was in line with the East German average, but it did not manage to win a single district administrator or mayoral post.

This has consequences for the federal party. It was noticeable that Höcke was barely able to exert any influence on content and personnel decisions at the party conference in Essen for the first time since 2015.

Björn Höcke tactically changed constituency

And now the embarrassment in the Wartburg district. If you follow Bundestag member Stöber, the conflict is caused by the fear of Höcke loyalists of not getting a seat in the state parliament in the autumn. If the state party wins more direct mandates than it is entitled to in second votes, the state list would not be drawn. In an extreme case, even top candidate Höcke would not be in parliament.

To avoid this, this time the state and parliamentary group leader is not running in the CDU bastion of Eichsfeld again, but has tactically moved to East Thuringia. The co-state chairman Stefan Möller is also not running in Erfurt, where his last bid for mayor was unsuccessful. Instead, he has put himself forward in the rural Unstrut-Hainich district.

Member of the Bundestag criticizes “candidate tourism”

According to Stöber, this is only the visible part of a larger plan. The state executive committee, he wrote, had organized a “real candidate tourism” in order to “distribute members of the state executive committee, including close colleagues and confidants, to promising constituencies.”

“Around a dozen” Höcke confidants were “directed to interesting constituencies as direct candidates,” the MP criticized. When this did not work in the Wartburg district, the state executive committee undermined the two democratically nominated candidates in a “despicable manner.”

Co-state leader Möller contradicts this portrayal. The fact that several candidates proposed to the state executive committee in the Wartburg district failed is not the problem. “The problem is when other candidates are vilified in advance,” he told the starThere was no fair vote, which is why it was only logical that the candidacies were not submitted.

In the letter from the state executive committee, Stöber and others are also accused of “covert activities” to “defame and dismantle the candidates proposed by the district association executive committee and the state executive committee.” The nomination meeting has degenerated into “a farce.”

Bundestag member Stöber, on the other hand, does not want to put up with the accusations and announces a “legal aftermath”. In addition, the membership and federal executive board should “pull the ripcord” after the state election: “For many citizens, the AfD is the last hope for a political turnaround, and we must not let egocentrics like Björn Höcke destroy that.”

“We are not voting for AfD because of Höcke, but despite Höcke”

In the end, Stöber, who was once in the SPD, echoes an assessment that has been heard for some time in parts of the federal party leadership. “I have been asked about Björn Höcke again and again,” writes the Bundestag member. “The tenor was usually: We are not voting for the AfD because of Höcke, but despite Höcke.”

What will the state executive board do? Co-state leader Möller remained tight-lipped when asked. He said disciplinary measures to the party were conceivable.

Regardless of this, the pressure on him and Höcke continues to grow. Due to the new competition from the Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW) alliance, the AfD has slipped below 30 percent in current state election polls. That is up to eight points less than six months ago.

Source: Stern

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