AfD: Old trenches widened again

The controversy over the direction and the disagreement over the corona issue are hard on the party.

“Traitor”, “Lie and Defamation ”- hardly a day on which the two camps in the AfD don’t fight in public. At the instigation of party leader Jörg Meuthen, the AfD board had the Brandenburg state chairman Andreas Kalbitz excluded a week ago because of his contacts in the extreme right milieu.

A vote that the old Directional dispute re-fired: very radicals who are now forming behind what is being done, against a little less radicals who want to line up as coalition partners – splitting is not excluded. And as if that weren’t enough, their positions hardly penetrate the corona crisis. The result: the AfD stands at ten percent or just below. At its best, it had 15 percent nationwide. That was in 2017, there was also another topic more present. “The migration issue of which the AfD has benefited is in Germany moved into the background, ”says political scientist Kai Arzheimer of the University of Mainz.

And the party has a hard time dealing with a complex issue like a pandemic. If she was initially for measures, some quickly shouted for loosening. There is also no strategy when it comes to the protests against the corona restrictions and the question of whether to follow suit, the expert says. Isolated officials have tried to do so, or have spread conspiracies online. “But the attempt to hold foreigners accountable is not perceived as such,” explains Arzheimer.

Debate about alignment

Internal debates about the substantive orientation of the party, which it has carried with it since its inception, weigh particularly heavily. “A wing goes in the direction FPÖ or are more middle-class, then there are currents in the party that connect to the classic Right-wing extremism so far. ”This has been sold so far: You address different groups. At regional electionswhere it was more radical in the east than in the west, it worked. At the federal level, where concepts for topics or the next election are drawn up, it is not clear who is in charge. Since the electoral gains in the east, the small but radical wing around the Thuringian head of state has claimed this above all Bjorn Höcke for themselves.

That this part of the AfD from defense of Constitution observed, was certainly a deterrent for some, says the expert. Because the observation status has practical consequences: “For members who are civil servants or are in the public service, this means that they can also get disciplinary difficulties. I think some people are thinking carefully about whether they really want to be close to a party that is on the verge of legality. ”

It is difficult to make a prognosis of how to proceed. The effect that everyone is behind the government flock will not last forever. Of which could AfD benefit so Arzheimer. But since she is with one conflict is busy, which he sees as “indissoluble”, he realizes that there are still tendencies that could divide.


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