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Five Lessons of the Congress: Where the AfD is now heading


              In several ways, it was a remarkable party convention that the AfD held in Braunschweig. The decisions of the delegates point to a new strategy. Five lessons.1. In the second row the wing consolidates neither Jörg Meuthen nor Tino Chrupalla are members of the wing. Since the congress in Braunschweig they have been the new chairmen of the party. The verdict that right-wing nationalist camps have not gained influence in the party because of the election of the two, but falls short. A foretaste of the elections to the Federal Arbitration Court. The body is of great importance as it has to decide on Party Exclusion Procedures (PAV) again and again, which are much more common in the AfD than in other parties. 46 percent of the delegates voted in favor of Gereon Bollmann, who previously worked in the Schleswig-Holstein Regional Arbitration Court. It is noteworthy that Bollmann edited the PAV of Wolfgang Gedeon and Doris of Sayn-Wittgenstein. Gedeon has repeatedly and unmistakably anti-Semitic expressed Sayn-Wittgenstein has clear links with right-wing organizations. Nevertheless, Bollmann saw no reason to exclude her from the party. Ultimately, he was defeated by Ines Oppel. However, 46 percent are a clear respect for someone with such a special understanding of law. Things got exciting in the board elections. As I said: With Meuthen and Chrupalla no wings prevailed at the head of the party. But there was movement in the back rows of the federal executive. The "moderates" fell in rows: Uwe Junge, Albrecht Glaser and Georg Pazderski. Instead, the confidant of Thüringen boss Björn Höcke, Stephan Brandner, as well as co-faction leader Alice Weidel, who has reconciled with the wing, will be represented there in the future. Also in the elections to the Beisitz right wing could prevail: Brandenburg boss and Höcke friend Andreas Kalbitz, who in the past was allegedly active in several neo-Nazi organizations, won against Kay Gottschalk. He was one of the 100 AfD politicians who had signed an appeal against Höcke. Then Gottschalk again and lost again against a wing: Stephan Protschka. He had recently made headlines because he co-financed a memorial stone in Poland, with the German "Selbstschutz- and Freikorpskämpfern" should be thought. They are responsible for the murder of thousands of Jews and Poles during World War II. Yes, the wing will be more represented in the federal executive in the future. And no, the new party leaders are not declared opponents of the current. Meuthen visited the Kyffhäuser meeting, Chrupalla has best contacts with wings such as Saxony's chief Jörg Urban. The right-wing national camp, which is suspected by the domestic intelligence service to pursue anti-constitutional aspirations, stands confidently in the party even after the party congress. But that's nothing new. The parliamentary elections in Saxony, Brandenburg and Thuringia, where the wing-dominated regional associations brought record results, have given the camp the decisive impetus, not the current party congress. Now the composition of the federal executive committee has been adapted to the wing's electorate favor within the AfD.2. The AfD is partly striving for moderation In his farewell speech, former party leader Alexander Gauland demanded that the party must put the "sustainability of our people at the center of our work and some historical conflicts – to which I sometimes incline – into the background." Gauland had been criticized in the past for expressing the German past. Meuthen said in his speech: "I will not tolerate the AfD slipping into extremism, and I'm not available for an outside right party." When Antisemit Gedeon delivered his application speech, numerous delegates left the room, turning their backs to him. One roared "pig" through the hall. A little later, Chrupalla said he would "see to it that people like Wolfgang Gedeon are never allowed to speak again at an AFD party convention." He also called for "no drastic language" to attract new voters. There were also two requests to reorganize the relationship with far-right organizations. One aimed to delete the Identity Movement (IB) from the Incompatibility List. The other is to completely abolish them, so the AfD also open to former members of the NPD or organizations such as "Blood and Honor". One did not make it onto the agenda, the other was withdrawn. At least in the case of the IB, which is very close to the AfD and is monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, however, the question arises whether this could have been merely a tactical demarcation, in order not to provide the secret service with even more arguments. In addition, behind the suggestion is likely to be attractive for the coalition desire partner CDU in the future.3. Fear is about becoming an old party itself. One topic has been many AfD officials. "If we continue this way we are old party, before we even get old," was heard by a Member of the Bundestag. The AfD has now arrived in the political establishment and that makes some worried. The election of the new party leaders could not invalidate that, on the contrary. Meuthen is involved in a donation scandal. He could not yet satisfactorily refute the allegations. He always assures that he has not accepted any illegal donations. Whether that's really the case, however, courts still have to decide. Only the persistent suspicion annoys some AfDler. Very few people have a problem with the person Chrupalla. But with the way allegedly mood was made for him. There is talk of confidential meetings and backroom arrangements. "The delegates have been influenced," is whispering. Both Meuthen and Chrupalla do not exactly embody the anti-establishment. One may have illegally received donations. The other was sponsored by influential heads of the Federal Executive. This is a policy style that the AfD actually criticized in the strongest terms. We can not be like the old parties, "said one delegate.4. Everything becomes somehow more normal Perhaps it is also due to the aging process, that the party convention has run relatively structured. Delegates and journalists have never forgotten the first party conferences of the AfD, where simple debates on policy debates mutated, the organization was partly chaotic, the premises were clearly too small. At this year's meeting, however, the delegates worked off the agenda relatively quickly. Threatening discussions, more quickly than usual by order of business a limitation of the speaking time decided or equal the end of the debate. The AfD – a "chaos troupe"? That may have been true for party conferences in the past. For the meeting in Braunschweig as little as never before. Also the environment of the congress had changed. There was a big counter-demonstration with more than 10,000 participants, the police were in large-scale deployment. On the second day, however, little was protested. There were no significant riots between officials and demonstrators, nor were delegates attacked on the way to the hall. In the past, these events were much more chaotic – both in and in front of the hall. It seems as if the environment is getting used to the existence of the AfD.5. The AFD is pleased with the SPD decision Shortly after the AfD itself had elected a new party leadership, the news of a Perosnal decision was sent to another party. Shortly after 18 o'clock it was clear yesterday evening: The SPD base has decided for Norbert Walter Borjans and Saskia Esken as future party leaders. What does that do with the AfD? "This is extremely good for us," said about the member of the Bundestag Martin Renner. "It makes it far more likely that new elections will be held and we can only get stronger there." In surveys, the AfD could not grow significantly in the past few years compared to their result in the 2017 general election. Renner believes, however, that the AfD in the case of quick elections could "make a significant leap forward." Other delegates share the assessment that the future party leadership would harm the Social Democrats and use the AfD. "The SPD has run its course anyway, but now its decay is even faster," says one. Another believes that in the case of more likely new elections, more workers – the core clientele of the SPD of yore – would opt for the Right. That the AfD still has no social and pension program is not so bad. In any case, the AfD has prepared. On Saturday evening, the delegates passed a motion that shortens the deadlines for drawing up country lists. The party can now more quickly call their candidates for a possible new election in the Bund.