Meuthen-Knall: AfD boss resigns and predicts a bleak future for the party

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From: Florian Naumann

Jörg Meuthen, here next to Tino Chrupalla, is retiring from the AfD leadership. © Julian Stratenschulte/dpa

Once again, a party leader is leaving the AfD: Jörg Meuthen resigns and resigns. He warns of extreme right-wing tendencies in the party.

Update from January 29, 11:54 am: The resigned AfD boss Jörg Meuthen no longer expects his previous party to return to a more moderate course. “I no longer see any future in the AfD political project as a pan-German party,” Meuthen wrote on Facebook on Saturday. He had “warned of the dangers of increasing radicalization” for years, but did not get through. The possibility of the AfD “politically coming of age” will “not come back either”.

Meuthen also announced his resignation from the party on Friday, which he no longer sees “on the basis of the free-democratic basic order” (see first report). “Large parts of the party and with it a number of its leading representatives have opted for an increasingly radical course, not just linguistically uninhibited, for political positions and verbal gaffes,” Meuthen wrote on his Facebook page. This drives the party “into complete isolation and further and further to the political fringes”.

“Particularly shocking” for him was “a deep, verbally articulated contempt for dissidents as well as for the established and proven mechanisms of parliamentary democracy among quite a few party members,” said Meuthen. He could no longer support this “course that led to the complete political sidelines, which sometimes had something downright sectarian”.

While Meuthen is leaving the AfD, the controversial former CDU politician Erika Steinbach is joining – because of Meuthen. “I will join the AfD,” Steinbach said on Twitter on Friday. Even if she did not intend to join a party again after she left the CDU in 2017, the “incomprehensible, unfair departure of Jörg Meuthen” “made her rethink”. Steinbach went on to say that the AfD was “a political ray of hope in a rather darkened time.”

Erika Steinbach, Chairwoman of the Desiderius-Erasmus Foundation.
Erika Steinbach, chairwoman of the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation, which is close to the AfD, has joined the AfD. © Matthias Balk / dpa

AfD bang: party leader Meuthen resigns – with a resounding warning

First report from January 28th: Brussels/Berlin – The AfD* is now apparently in the middle of the next personnel upheaval: party leader Jörg Meuthen has resigned from his post and left the party. This was confirmed by the EU parliamentarian on Friday of the ARD. According to the report, Meuthen spoke of a defeat in the power struggle with the formally dissolved right-wing extremist “wing”. He sees “totalitarian echoes”.

AfD: Meuthen gives up chairmanship and party book – “sect-like”

Meuthen had served as federal spokesman since July 2015. In the meantime, however, he has apparently finally failed in his attempt to prevent a further shift to the right in the AfD. Parts of the party are “not based on the free-democratic basic order,” he told the ARD capital studio. In the course of the corona pandemic, “sect-like” traits had even developed.

Meuthen certified that the Thuringian AfD figurehead Björn Höcke had “National Socialist bonds”. The national association of the AfD is observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. However, Höcke denies extremist tendencies.

The federal AfD reacted curiously to Meuthen’s announcement – with a letter in the style of the last sentences of a job reference. “The Federal Executive Committee regrets the resignation of federal spokesman Prof. Dr. Jörg Meuthen,” the party leadership said on Friday afternoon. “We would like to thank Jörg Meuthen for the good cooperation over the past few years and for the further development of the AfD as the only opposition party in Germany. We wish him all the best for his future.”

AfD loses next party leader: Lucke and Petry had also resigned before Meuthen

For the AfD, Meuthen’s history is repeating itself with the withdrawal: the original chairmen Bernd Lucke and Konrad Adam have already left the party. The same applies to ex-party leader Frauke Petry. Lucke, in particular, saw the once Eurosceptic AfD as going astray. Both Lucke (“Liberal-Conservative Reformers”) and Petry (“The Blues”) were unsuccessful in founding new parties.

Meuthen now raised allegations against his counterparts Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla. “Not to forget Chrupalla, Weidel, Gauland, Höcke, Brandner, they will be really happy that Meuthen is finally gone. Have you been working on it for a long time,” he told ARD. After the federal elections, deep differences among the AfD federal spokesmen came to light on the open stage. Meuthen was dissatisfied with the course. He later announced that he would not stand for re-election. On Friday, he gave the AfD chances at best as an East regional party.

AfD: Meuthen wants to stay in the EU Parliament – immunity could be lifted

According to the report, however, Meuthen would like to retain his mandate in the EU Parliament and continue to belong to the right-wing populist group “Identity and Democracy”.

Meuthen recently also had other political problems: On Thursday, the legal committee of the EU Parliament voted to withdraw the immunity of the MEP. This made it more likely that the Berlin public prosecutor’s office would initiate an investigation into an affair about illegal party donations against the AfD federal chairman.

Members of the Bundestag had also recently turned their backs on the AfD. Immediately after the federal election, the parliamentary group still had 83 members. After the departure of the parliamentarians Johannes Huber, Uwe Witt and Mathias Helferich, there are still 80. Witt had referred to “border crossings”. (fn)

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