Berlin (dpa) – Five percent in Hamburg, almost 25 percent in Saxony: The AfD shows that the republic is divided. Overall, the Bundestag elections have deteriorated for the right-wing party around prominent figures Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla.
Nationally, it is only 10.3% – in 2017 it was 12.6%. Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony – negative and single digit values everywhere. In Saxony and Thuringia, however, the party rose to first place with around a quarter of the vote, and second place in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Will the AfD become a “Lega Ost”?
AfD boss Jörg Meuthen himself drew the comparison to the right-wing populist Italian regional party Lega Nord on election night. He hoped everyone in the party would be aware of this. The AfD must not become the “Lega Ost”. After all, the AfD wants to influence the fate of the whole country, Meuthen said.
More program loyalty required
His co-boss Chrupalla, who defended his direct mandate in Saxony, sees things the other way around: In view of the strong values everywhere in the East, he is generally satisfied with the result of the federal election. Successful regional AfD associations quickly sent reminders to the West. More loyalty to the program is needed, said the co-leader of the Thuringian party Stefan Möller of the dpa. It would be “good to learn from the East”.
Because, as the head of the AfD in Saxony-Anhalt sees it, Martin Reichardt sees it: “We have clearly remained a popular party here in the East.” The AfD could not be dismissed as a mere protest party because it had been given powers in so many areas, Reichardt told dpa.
Experts see it very similarly. Dresden political scientist Hans Vorländer predicted even before the elections that the strength of the AfD in East Germany would be permanent. “The AfD has also established itself organizationally in individual settings and groups, including companies,” said the professor at TU Dresden. The party presented itself as an on-site guard. And is also in demand among young people. “There are new voters pushing back,” Vorländer said.
In the U-18 elections for children and young people last week, the party came out on top in Saxony and Thuringia. Thuringian Head of State Möller said that one of the main reasons for the country’s success is that one “uncompromisingly defends one’s own line”. “We are tackling things for which we are beaten by others.” The observation of the regional association by the Thuringian Office for the Protection of the Constitution is a direct consequence. “But this is honored by the people,” Möller said.
Skepticism, disillusionment, inequality
His party benefits from state skepticism, disenchantment with democracy, and economic inequality in the eastern federal states. “The AfD is elected by citizens who, in addition to the Merkel government, also take a critical look at the candidates for chancellor, who have their own views on climate policy, corona measures or foreigners and for whom the AfD is a communication platform, ”the research group said. analyzed Sunday’s elections.
In the feud over the leadership of the AfD, which has been going on for years, the right wing around Thuringian AfD leader Björn Höcke should feel strengthened. Because he has long argued that popularity in the East is proof that the AfD can achieve better results with an even greater demarcation from other parties. The moderate camp around Meuthen, on the other hand, maintains that there is nothing to be gained in the West. But apparently, he doesn’t have a recipe for success for western federal states either. Meuthen is no longer firmly in the saddle in the internal scrum.
Höcke, on the other hand, is already setting new goals. After the electoral victory in the Bundestag elections in Thuringia, the AfD is also expected to be the strongest force in the next regional elections.