Shortly before the meltdown

Joachim Wundrak (right), here in 2014 with the then Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen: The ex-general criticizes the course of the AfD.
Joachim Wundrak (right), here in 2014 with the then Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen: The ex-general criticizes the course of the AfD. (Source: Sielski/imago-images-pictures)

Joana Cotar, a member of the German Bundestag, says that “swarms” of AfD voters have gone over to the CDU, FDP and even the Greens because of their Ukraine course. She is now calling for an “offensive in the West” in order to reach “more than the core electorate” there again.

The deputy leader of the parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Norbert Kleinwaechter, also calls for action, “new topics and a new style”. To do this, the federal leadership of the AfD now needs “new heads with a confident demeanor” and new ideas.

Chrupalla himself defended the course of the AfD in an interview with t-online, citing surveys: They had shown that AfD voters would support the AfD’s “peace course” with a large majority – “just as 45 percent of the population reject arms deliveries”. MEPs close to Chrupalla, such as Petr Bystron, criticize the loud critics: “We have to act as one and not publicize internal disputes.”

Where are the majorities?

The camps have been irreconcilable for a long time and keep getting caught up in skirmishes, sometimes internal, sometimes public. The critics from the West are more present in the media than the extremes, but seem to be clearly outnumbered, at least in the parliamentary group. However, representatives from this camp have repeatedly said that this appearance is deceptive. There is a silent majority that is only holding back for strategic reasons.

With the upcoming federal party conference in Riesa, Saxony, the camps are likely to put their cards on the table. Then the AfD re-elects the federal executive board. Actually, a new dual leadership should be elected. But if some AfD politicians have their way, only one federal chairman. The more moderate camp has not yet named a candidate, but according to information from t-online wants to send at least one candidate into the race.

Chrupalla faces competition from the far right

Officially, only Tino Chrupalla has been set as a candidate so far. The extreme camp can agree on him. At least so far. However, it seems quite possible that Chrupalla will have a much more extreme competitor: Björn Höcke. With the head of the AfD in the Thuringian state parliament, one of the most radical representatives from the already not squeamish eastern associations announced on Saturday a possible candidacy for the federal executive board.

Björn Höcke: The Thuringian parliamentary group leader has brought himself into the conversation for the federal executive board.
Björn Höcke: The Thuringian parliamentary group leader has brought himself into the conversation for the federal executive board. (Source: Jacob Schröter/imago-images-pictures)

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