AfD party conference votes in new leadership

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The founding generation of the AfD is retiring: Party leader Gauland is succeeded by his preferred candidate Tino Chrupalla as co-chairman. Together with Jörg Meuthen, who had previously been confirmed as leader, he will lead the party.

The Saxon Tino Chrupalla has won the race for co-chairmanship of the AfD. The party conference in Braunschweig elected the ‘moderate’ candidate as Alexander Gauland’s successor in a run-off vote against Gottfried Curio, member of the right wing of the party, with almost 55 percent. Curio lost with 41.23 percent of the votes.

With Chrupalla a generational change takes place, as with Gauland the last co-founder of the right-wing populist party gives up the chair. Chrupalla was considered Gauland’s successor of choice and a ‘compromise candidate’. He was supported by the right wing of the party without being a member of it. At the same time, however, Western regional associations also accept him. In the future he will lead the right-wing populist party with Jörg Meuthen.

“We can reach the middle class with a reasonable voice. Only with convincing content will we open up new electoral strata,” Chrupalla said in his application speech. With drastic language, he added, the opposite is often achieved – especially among women. With him, the AfD could receive a dual leadership with representatives from West and East.

Meuthen confirmed in office

It was already clear before that the incumbent AfD leader Meuthen could keep his position as first chairman. The economist clearly prevailed against his two competitors Nicole Höchst and Wolfgang Gedeon with 69.2 percent.

Meuthen’s application speech was a settlement of accounts with the federal government consisting of CDU/CSU and SPD: “The former people’s parties are no longer capable of political leadership,” he said. “We must be ready. Germany needs us”. The party had significantly improved its professionalism in recent years, but must not stop there now, he added.

He made it clear that the AfD must become “willing and able to govern” within the next two years. Meuthen described his political course as “conservative, liberal and patriotic”.

Björn Höcke, head of the AfD in Thuringia and probably the party’s most controversial figure, made it clear that for the time being he would not be pushing for any leadership positions: “Of course I want to form this party, but I can live up to this claim very well in Thuringia at the moment.”

Massive protests

The party conference with almost 600 delegates, protected by policemen from several federal states, was accompanied by loud protests. Several hundred people demonstrated at the Volkswagen Hall, where the AfD meet, even before the party convention began. Among other things, they shouted “AfD fascist scum – we are sick of puking on you”. According to the organizers, there were 20,000 people on the street in the afternoon.

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