A lot has been talked about in the past few days in the AfD leadership. Again and again it was about the question: Does Alexander Gauland, so far co-party leader on the side of Jörg Meuthen, on Saturday at the Federal party in Braunschweig again? Or will Tino Chrupalla, Saxon politician from Görlitz and AfD faction vice in the Bundestag, his successor?
Now Chrupalla has decided: He wants to run for office. He confirmed this to the SPIEGEL by SMS on Wednesday.
The situation was and is confusing, since the Berlin AfD member of parliament Gottfried Curio had surprisingly announced his candidacy for Gauland's post. The 59-year-old is considered ambitious, had tried in September in the AFD board elections in the parliamentary group tried to get hold of one of the deputies, but failed just short of the previous incumbent Beatrix von Storch.
Curio's plan to side with Meuthen's party chief thwarted Gauland's intentions, which has long been internally reliant on Chrupalla and is ready to be elected honorary chairman of the AfD. Curio, who has noticed with aggressive and demagogic speeches, especially against immigrants in the Bundestag, is internally not trusted the leadership of the party. However, he has many supporters at the grassroots, notably through his speeches broadcast on Youtube channels.
On the occasion of the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Chrupalla had recently sparked outrage among members of the Bundestag in the Bundestag with a sharp speech against Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). His advantage: Although he is not a member of the strong right wing network "wings" to the AFD top politicians Björn Höcke and Andreas Kalbitz, he enjoys support there.
Threatens again a Chaos Party Congress?
His decision to run for the Gauland successor was, according to SPIEGEL information in a round on Tuesday attended by, inter alia, Chrupalla, Gauland, Meuthen, the AFD co-faction leader Alice Weidel, the Federal Board member Andreas Kalbitz, informally discussed.
The 78-year-old Gauland takes a risk at the two-day congress. For now Curio and Chrupalla run for one and the same post on Saturday. As can be heard from the party, Gauland wants to hold despite the arrival of Chrupalla a renewed own candidacy for the case that the party convention is chaotic and developed differently than desired.
In recent months, Gauland had made it clear several times that he wanted to avoid a repetition of the party congress of Hanover two years ago. At that time Gauland had declared in advance, not as AfD party leader on the side of Meuthen to compete, but in the end but had to get into the ring and be elected. The reason was a stalemate in two ballots between the Berlin AfD leader Georg Pazderski and surprisingly as a candidate lined up then Schleswig-Holstein AfD Landeschefin Doris of Sayn Wittgenstein.
Alexander Gauland (l.), Leader of the AFD, and Tino Chrupalla, candidate for the federal presidency of the AfD: back door left open for emergencies
Faced with the difficult situation, Gauland was forced to compete in Hanover at the time and in the end received a score of almost 68 percent. Gauland has been counting on this candidacy over the past few months – in the light of the developments that followed in the two years that followed. Sayn-Wittgenstein, who had been assisted in the fall of 2017 by the nationalist-nationalist "wing" Umhöcke and Kalbitz, was expelled from the party in August this year because of party-damaging behavior. Among other things, she was accused of sponsoring membership in a far-right, Holocaust-denying association.
The two-day congress in Braunschweig, which begins on Saturday morning, should once again be uneasy for the AfD.
Also Meuthen gets counter-candidate
As was to be learned further from AFD circles on Wednesday, co-party leader Jörg Meuthen must count on a counter-candidature. For his post, the AfD member of parliament Nicole Höchst wants to compete. And with the Lower Saxony AFD country and faction leader Dana Guth apparently another woman struggling for one of the two top posts, it said.
Höchst had recently defended a quote from ZDF this Spring in which she had compared Merkel with Adolf Hitler: "In my opinion, the seizure of power has already taken place. In a ZDF interview Hochst defended the former quote: "When I look at how back then, according to my knowledge of history, Adolf Hitler came to power, which was switched to the same (…) and I compare that with that, like us pampers today a civil society, which is approaching political opponents (…) I see there a lot of parallels, "said Höchst, according to the website of ZDF.
For the narrower leadership of the party and Alice Weidel, so far on the side of Gauland AfD Co-faction leader in the Bundestag. The 40-year-old joins the first deputy post.