AfD nominates CDU man Otte for presidential election – politics

With Max Otte, the AfD is nominating its own candidate for the election of the Federal President on February 13. This was decided by the party’s national board late Monday evening after a heated argument in a switching conference. According to participants, six of the ten board members were in favor of nominating the controversial head of the union of values. The vast majority of the 16 AfD state spokesmen had previously voted for the 57-year-old economist.

Otte himself was still cautious. In a first reaction, the CDU politician said that being offered the candidacy for the post of Federal President is one of the greatest honors that can befall one. “The office offers the chance to heal, to reconcile, to admonish. I consult with my family and think about it intensively.”

The personnel is also considered a directional decision in the internal AfD power struggle. Party leader Tino Chrupalla had proposed Otte against the will of Jörg Meuthen, who was still co-boss, and his camp, which was moderate by AfD standards. Otte had harshly criticized him for his party strategy. Meuthen therefore spoke out internally against Otte’s election, but was unable to organize a majority against Otte in the most important AfD committee. Meuthen had already announced his departure from the AfD leadership at the next party congress – also because the influence of his camp was recently waning.

Otte’s candidacy is likely to fuel exclusion debates in the Union of Values

Otte is chairman of the ultra-conservative Union of Values. The association, which has around 4,000 members and has declared itself a “grassroots movement”, does not play a major role in the Union. It is not officially recognized by her as a CDU group. Otte was also controversial for a long time in the union of values. In autumn 2019, the association wanted to have him excluded from the CDU. At that time, after the murder of CDU politician Walter Lübcke, Otte spoke of hate speech against rights. Otte later deleted the tweet and apologized to the family.

The AfD candidacy should fuel the exclusion debates again, especially since Otte has had close contacts with the AfD for a long time. From June 2018 to January 2021 he was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the AfD-affiliated Desiderius Erasmus Foundation (DES). However, he had to leave after campaigning to also include the actors of the dissolved and right-wing extremist “wing” within the party. This was rejected by other parts of the DES leadership.

The election of the Federal President will take place in the Federal Assembly on February 13 – incumbent Frank-Walter Steinmeier is standing for a second term. His re-election is considered certain. The AfD gets a little more than 150 of the almost 1,500 votes in the Federal Assembly. The AfD candidate has no chance.

It is primarily a symbolic application. The party’s goal must be to do better than last time, according to the AfD leadership. In the 2017 election, the AfD had sent Albrecht Glaser, a member of the Bundestag, into the race against Steinmeier. However, Glaser only got 42 votes in the Federal Assembly.

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