Posts Tagged ‘Frauke Petry’

Is Germany’s Extreme-Right AfD Falling Apart? Or Beaten Into Submission?

January 11, 2019

The far-right Alternative for Germany may be unravelling at the edges after a disgruntled member struck off on his own. That’s bad news for the populists ahead of key elections, says DW political analyst Jefferson Chase.

Shattered glass in front of AfD office

There is now even more right-wing alternative to the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

On Thursday, the former party leader in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, Andre Poggenburg, resigned his party membership. Only hours later, the far-right hardliner announced that he is forming a party of his own, the “Aufbruch deutscher Patrioten” (Uprising of German Patriots), to compete with the AfD.

Poggenburg was one of the more extreme nationalist and xenophobic leaders within the AfD, which twice censured him for using language reminiscent of right-wing extremism. He has close ties to the radical Identitarian and Pegida movements. And for much of his career he was also an ally of Thuringian AfD leader Björn Höcke, who is regarded as one of the main motors behind the AfD’s ethnic-nationalist hardline wing and who has often been accused of anti-Semitism.

In 2016, Poggenburg became the leader of the opposition in the Saxony-Anhalt regional parliament, but stepped down last year from that position and as regional party leader following controversial anti-Turkish remarks. The emblem of Poggenburg’s new party, a blue cornflower, has been criticized for having right-wing extremist and Nazi connotations.

Reaction to Poggenburg’s defection among AfD members has been mixed. Some hardliners have rued his departure, while members of the relatively moderate Alternative Mitte group have welcomed it. Regional parliamentarian Uwe Junge, for instance, tweeted: “Andre Poggenburg is leaving the AfD! Finally. I hope he takes all the extremist fools and self-proclaimed patriots with him.”

Uwe Junge, MdL


André Poggenburg verläßt die AfD!
Endlich – ich hoffe, er nimmt den ganzen Narrensaum und die selbst ernannten Patrioten mit! , !  via @junge_freiheit

André Poggenburg verläßt die AfD

Der frühere AfD-Landes- und Fraktionschef von Sachsen-Anhalt, André Poggenburg, ist aus der Partei ausgetreten. Am Donnerstag abend erklärte er in einer E-Mail an die AfD-Bundesgeschäftsstelle den…

227 people are talking about this

A limit to the AFD’s move right?

The 43-year-old may not have been universally liked within the AfD, but party leaders have to be concerned that Poggenburg’s supporters could follow him and defect — a scenario that has some precedent.

The Alternative for Germany was founded in 2013 primarily in opposition to European monetary union. But a lack of electoral success shifted the focus to hostility toward mass migration. Co-founder Bernd Lucke was replaced by the far more conservative Frauke Petry as party head in 2015.

That shift roughly coincided with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision not to close Germany’s borders as large numbers of refugees and migrants began arriving from Syria, Northern Africa, Afghanistan and other places. That brought a surge of support for the AfD from Germans who feared that large-scale migration would threaten their way of life and the country’s traditions.

A protest organized by the AfD, and the Pegida and “Pro Chemnitz” movements | John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images

Since 2015, the AfD has moved further and further to the nationalist, some might say racist right, guided by such figures as current party co-leader Alexander Gauland, Höcke and Poggenburg. That evolution has come to the dismay of more moderate AfD members, including Petry, who became increasingly marginalized in the run-up to the 2017 German federal election.

Related image

Frauke Petry

The party recorded an impressive 12.6 percent of the national vote and eventually became the main opposition party in the Bundestag. The triumph prompted Gauland to promise to “hound” Merkel and Germany’s traditional political parties.

But the day after the vote, Petry and her supporters quit the AfD. That meant the parliamentary group immediately lost three seats. Petry subsequently formed the Blue Party, but it has yet to contest any elections and has attracted very few members.

Potential damage in eastern elections

The schism with Poggenburg and his supporters could be far more damaging than the split with the Petry. For starters, this is the first time that a rival group has formed to the right of the AfD. And it comes as the party had hoped to kick start its stalled momentum with three regional elections in its stronghold of eastern Germany: Saxony and Brandenburg on September 1 and Thuringia on October 27.

After becoming Germany’s third-largest party at national level in 2017, the AfD failed to dramatically increase its support in regional elections in 2018. The populists came in a distant third with just over 10 percent of the vote in Bavaria and fourth in Hesse with slightly more than 13 percent.

The AfD continues to attract some 13.5 percent support in opinion polls, but the far-right populists have been outstripped by the Greens who have been polling 18 to 20 percent.

The AfD does attract 20 to 25 percent support in the east, but splits like those with Petry and Poggenburg could see erosion on both ends of the AfD’s spectrum of voters. Petry, who is from Saxony and won her constituency outright there in 2017, could siphon off moderates. Poggenburg, who was also born and bred in the formerly Communist east, could take away some hardline far-right and extremist voters.

Many mainstream political analysts have predicted, perhaps with an admixture of wishful thinking, that the tug-of-war between relative moderates and hardliners could rip the AfD apart at the seams. That remains a very hypothetical scenario — at the time of writing, Poggenburg’s new party has a grand total of ten Twitter followers.

But arguably more than any other German party, the AfD’s appeal relies on the perception that it represents a popular movement that is inexorably growing in strength. The latest discord undercuts the idea of the AfD as a truly viable alternative.


Damaged AfD office in Döbeln following explosion (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Willnow)

Police authorities said “an unknown substance was detonated” on Thursday at around 7:20 p.m. local time (620 UTC) in front of the building that houses the offices of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Saxon city of Döbeln.

Doors and windows of the building hou


Germany’s domestic security chief denies advising far-right AfD on how to avoid investigation — German Government “At War” With The Right?

August 22, 2018

Critics say the far-right party exhibits anti-constitutional tendencies. Though intelligence agencies have said there is not enough evidence to prove that, others have called for individual members to be observed.

Hans-Georg Maassen, president of Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kappeler)

Hans-Georg Maassen, the president of Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), has denied accusations that he met several times with Frauke Petry, the former leader of the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), to advise her about internal party issues.

Read more: Germany’s political parties CDU, CSU, SPD, AfD, FDP, Left party, Greens — what you need to know

In her book Inside AfD, which is scheduled to be released this week, Franziska Schreiber claims the domestic security chief met with Petry to discuss ousting Bernd Höcke after Höcke called the Holocaust Monument in Berlin a “monument of shame.” Schreiber also claims that Maassen and Petry talked about how the party could avoid an investigation by his office.

Schreiber was an AfD member and a leader of its youth wing until she left the party in September 2017. During her time in the AfD she maintained close ties with Petry and AfD leadership.

Meeting yes, advising no

In the face of growing questions over the accusations, Maassen has acknowledged the possibility of having met Petry but denies having ever given such advice. Maassen, speaking with the Funke Media Group, said that he “regularly meets” with parties to discuss threats to individual politicians and their parties. Such meetings, Maassen said, were important, guaranteed by the government and conducted in confidentiality.

The BfV strongly rebutted the claims with a statement as well, denying that the domestic security chief has ever spoken to politicians about internal party issues.

Read more: Opinion: Steve Bannon attacking the EU from the right

Critics of the AfD have claimed that it exhibits anti-constitutional tendencies and have called for it to be observed by the BfV. Maassen is said to have met with Frauke Petry — who left the party in September 2017 — to advise her as to how the party could avoid scrutiny from his office, something he wished to avoid. Both Maassen and Petry deny Franziska Schreiber’s claims.

In Berlin, pressure on Maassen is mounting. A number of politicians have called the accusations serious and have suggested that an intelligence community oversight committee should look into them.

js/kms (AFP, dpa)

German far-right to pick new leaders as protesters rally

December 2, 2017


© AFP/File / by Deborah COLE | An AfD poster reads “Stop Islamisation”

HANOVER (GERMANY) (AFP) – The far-right Alternative for Germany gathers Saturday to elect new leadership, with police bracing for potentially violent street protests against the anti-migrant, anti-Islam party.The AfD captured nearly 13 percent of the vote and almost 100 seats in parliament in a September general election — a watershed moment in post-war German politics.

However a festering row between radical nationalists and more moderate forces has roiled its top brass, with co-leader Frauke Petry abruptly quitting the AfD just days after the election to form her own breakaway party.

Some 600 delegates at the two-day congress in the northern city of Hanover will vote on a replacement for her as well as a new board, determining the ideological direction of the party as it gears up to oppose Chancellor Angela Merkel’s yet-to-be-formed government.

“The AfD is unable to settle down, it is wrestling with the course it wants to take and power within the party,” news website Spiegel Online said.

“The fight over posts and the platform shows that the party is still divided on how sharply rightward it wants to go.”

– Merkel’s woes –

The meeting is expected to draw around 8,500 leftist protesters supporting Merkel’s liberal border policy, which allowed in more than one million asylum seekers since 2015.

The GdP police union called for calm, following clashes with demonstrators in the western city of Cologne during the last AfD congress in April that left several officers injured.

“We expect all participants in the rallies to exercise their right of assembly peacefully,” union leader Dietmar Schilff said. “Any violence will lead to the forfeiture of that right.”

Hanover police chief Uwe Lange said the congress centre hosting the AfD event would be ringed with barbed wire and security barriers to protect delegates, with thousands of officers deployed.

Launched as a populist anti-euro party in 2013, the AfD has veered sharply to the right since and campaigned for the September election with slogans such as “Bikinis Not Burkas”, “Stop Islamisation” and the ubiquitous “Merkel must go”.

It is now represented in 14 of Germany’s 16 state parliaments but has been shunned as a potential partner at the national level by the mainstream parties.

But the fractured political landscape has made it more difficult than ever for Merkel, in power for 12 years, to cobble together a ruling majority.

Talks to form a coalition spanning the political spectrum for her fourth and probably last term broke down in acrimony last month.

She is now trying to woo the centre-left Social Democrats back into a “grand coalition” government.

If she is successful and averts a snap election, the AfD would become Germany’s largest opposition power, strongly boosting its profile.

– Syria safe for refugees? –

The AfD had two leaders until now, Petry and Joerg Meuthen, who has allied himself with the party’s nativist wing.

Delegates will debate a motion to have Meuthen as the AfD’s sole president.

However more centrist forces in the party are backing the party’s Berlin chief, Georg Pazderski, a former army colonel, as co-leader.

Yet speculation was rife that the party’s powerful parliamentary group chief, Alexander Gauland, could mount a leadership challenge.

Gauland told AFP last week the party needed to bridge its divisions along ideological and geographical lines.

“It is crucial to me that the top of the AfD reflects east and west as well as more conservative and economically liberal positions,” he said.

The list of motions to be debated in Hanover offered insights into the party’s priorities.

They include a call for Germany to ban circumcision of male babies targeting a common practice among Muslim and Jewish families, and a condemnation of a new definition of anti-Semitism adopted by parliament criticised as a “curb on free speech”.

The party recently sparked outrage by calling for the immediate return of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in Germany, claiming that “large parts” of the war-ravaged country were now safe.

by Deborah COLE

Germany’s far-right AfD meet to capitalise on Merkel woes

November 30, 2017


© AFP / by Deborah COLE | German Chancellor Angela Merkel has yet to seal a coalition agreement, with the far-right AfD aiming to bolster its strong election result

BERLIN (AFP) – The far-right Alternative for Germany gathers Saturday for a special meeting looking for ways to make the most of the political impasse that has left Chancellor Angela Merkel hamstrung.Around 600 delegates will assemble in the northern city of Hanover for the two-day event, with pro-refugee protests and police on hand.

The AfD won nearly 13 percent in September’s general election, taking almost 100 seats in parliament on an anti-immigration and anti-Muslim platform.

Its main rallying cry was “Merkel must go” following her decision to let in more than one million asylum seekers since 2015.

The AfD has relished the chancellor’s woes since the poll left her without a clear ruling majority and now tied up in protracted coalition talks.

However the AfD has growing problems, with a power struggle emerging between hardliners and more moderate forces in the four-year-old party which could spill over at the weekend meeting.

The main order of business will be the election of new leadership after the dramatic departure in September of its best-known figure, Frauke Petry.

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Frauke Petry

While co-leader Joerg Meuthen is standing for re-election, he is facing a challenge from the party’s Berlin chief, Georg Pazderski.

AfD parliamentary group president Alexander Gauland urged the party to continue having two leaders, saying it helped bridge internal divisions.

“It is crucial to me that the top of the AfD reflects east and west as well as more conservative and economically liberal positions,” he told AFP.

– ‘Rightward lurch’ –

Former co-president Petry, who bolted over a split with radical nationalists to form her own party, had been the AfD’s most charismatic voice.

Although the sudden exit reinforced an image of infighting, Petry failed to lure more than just one MP to join her in defecting.

“She apparently hoped to take more people with her and then it didn’t happen,” Gauland said.

“The parliamentary group is working together harmoniously,” he insisted.

It is also possible that Bjoern Hoecke, who has triggered outrage with calls for Germany to back away from its atonement for World War II crimes, will stand in Hanover for the party’s 13-member board.

Hoecke recently became the target of a group of activists who unveiled a replica of Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial secretly erected outside his home.

“Hoecke and his supporters are in the radical nationalist wing of the party,” Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper said.

“If they are strongly represented on the new board, it would be seen as a rightward lurch for the party… possibly prompting many relatively moderate members to leave.”

– ‘Enormous volatility’ –

The congress comes at a time of great uncertainty for Germany, with suspense building as to how the current deadlock in Europe’s top economy can end.

Merkel held four weeks of talks with the pro-business Free Democrats and the ecologist Greens to form an unprecedented alliance spanning the political spectrum but the negotiations collapsed in acrimony earlier this month.

She is now courting the Social Democrats, who long languished in her shadow, to join her in a re-run of a “grand coalition”.

AfD leaders have claimed credit for the troubles stalking Merkel as she seeks to begin a fourth term.

“We have enormous volatility right now” that could help the AfD, political scientist Wolfgang Schroeder of the University of Kassel in western Germany told AFP.

“That could help feed the disenchantment with politics — along the lines ‘they can’t even get a government together’.”

Polls confirm an unsettled political landscape. Some show slight gains for the AfD since the collapse of the first round of coalition talks but others indicate a slight dip since the September vote.

Schroeder said the AfD’s success meant other parties including the liberal FDP and Merkel’s Bavarian partners, the CSU, were trying to poach some of its tougher stances on immigration, Europe and climate protection.

“That may mean it will have to try harder to get attention — you’ll surely see that at the party congress.”

by Deborah COLE

Germany’s hard-right AfD is anti-immigration, will make life for Merkel tougher — Germany is being turned “into a caliphate”?

September 27, 2017


© AFP/File / by Frank ZELLER | The AfD is the first hard-right nationalist party to enter the German Bundestag in large numbers in the post-World War II era, an epochal event that stunned most Germans

BERLIN (AFP) – The Alternative for Germany (AfD) claims to be a force of “patriots” but some of its new lawmakers have shocked with xenophobic and revisionist comments and have been linked to far-right groups.The AfD is the first hard-right nationalist party to enter the German Bundestag in large numbers in the post-World War II era, an epochal event that stunned most Germans.

Since the party’s breakthrough in Sunday’s vote, the country has been scrutinising the biographies of the often little-known newcomers, elected on a platform of rejecting migrants, Muslims and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Among them are police officers, prosecutors and judges, academics and business leaders, soldiers and scientists, a one-time radio host, an undertaker and a former fighter-pilot.

A disproportionate number are from Germany’s ex-communist and poorer east, where the AfD was the number one party for male voters and won outright in the state of Saxony.

The AfD rails against “traitor” Merkel as public enemy number one, for opening German borders to an “invasion” of more than one million migrants since 2015.

Some MPs have links to PEGIDA, short for Patriots Against the Islamisation of the Occident, a street movement that emerged in the Saxony state capital of Dresden.

Other lawmakers have reported links to shadowy fraternities, football hooligans, Russian ultra-nationalists and the nativist Identitarian Movement, which is being watched by the BfV domestic security service.

One has reportedly driven a car with “AH1818” on its number plates, the Tagesspiegel daily wrote — neo-Nazi code for Adolf Hitler’s initials, followed by the number of those letters in the alphabet, listed twice.

And Jens Maier, a judge in Dresden, has drawn fire for voicing a degree of understanding for Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, reportedly saying that he had acted “out of desperation” over multiculturalism when he killed 77 people in 2011.

– ‘Europe of fatherlands’ –

Still giddy from the election, which made the AfD Germany’s third strongest party, its 93 freshly-baked lawmakers gathered this week in a modernist concrete-and-steel annex building to the glass-domed Reichstag that is still pockmarked from Word War II battles.

Lawmaker number 94 stayed away — Frauke Petry, the former face of the AfD, had theatrically walked out of a party press conference the day before to protest against its bitter infighting and radicalisation.

Co-Leader Beatrix von Storch, picking up her new parliamentary ID card, said it was time for the party to “get to work”.

Asked whether the AfD, with slogans like “Bikinis not Burkas”, is far-right, she replied: “We want to cap refugee numbers, we are against Islamisation, we want to preserve our culture, we want to protect our borders.

“We are for the classic family unit, we don’t want a United States of Europe, but a Europe of fatherlands. I think these are perfectly normal topics.”

– ‘Guilt cult’ –

The MPs include at least 13 with ultra-right views, 30 “nationalist-conservatives”, and 18 comparative “moderates”, according to a count by Die Zeit weekly, which said the allegiances of others were unclear.

Among the new MPs is Leif-Erik Holm, 47, a former radio host who has claimed Germany is being turned “into a caliphate”, and who ran against Merkel in her Baltic Coast electorate .

Merkel lost a lot of votes, he said, but “beating her would have been the icing on the cake”.

Some members are veterans of the AfD’s founding days in 2013, when it railed mainly against eurozone bailouts to crisis-hit Greece.

Others call for tougher law and order, traditional “family values” and fighting against what they consider a left-leaning establishment spreading its lies via a complicit media.

On the far right, leaders have shocked with taboo-breaking comments that challenge Germany’s culture of atonement over World War II and the Holocaust.

One is co-leader Alexander Gauland, 75, a defector from Merkel’s conservative bloc, who has urged Germans to be proud of their veterans from two world wars.

Another, Martin Renner, has criticised Germany’s “guilt cult”.

Asked about the comment, he stuck by the phrase but added that he had only learnt later that it was commonly used by the far-right and anti-Semitic NPD party.

Dozens of members are close to regional party leader Bjoern Hoecke, who has demanded “a 180-degree turn” in Germany’s culture of remembrance and called Berlin’s Holocaust monument a “memorial of shame”.

by Frank ZELLER

Germany: Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies CSU threaten rightward shift

September 27, 2017

The Christian Social Union (CSU) was one of many old German parties to suffer at the hands of the AfD in the election. But Merkel’s Bavarian sister party has another problem — an upcoming state election at home.

CSU leaders (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Hoppe)

Among the many earthquakes in Germany’s political landscape triggered by the German election was the destruction of a decades-old dictum once uttered by the Christian Social Union’s (CSU) most famed leader Franz Josef Strauss: “There must be no democratically legitimate party right of the CSU.”

Sunday’s devastating results for Germany’s conservative parties seemed to show that the rise of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) as a populist far-right force across Germany has forever buried that notion. The CSU, Bavarian allies to Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) but traditionally a little more conservative, scored its lowest ever result on Sunday, with just under 39 percent of the vote in its home state — over 10 percentage points down on 2013.

Media commentators were quick to draw two conclusions — that CSU leader Horst Seehofer’s position was looking very precarious, and the CSU will have to shift to the right to win back its lost voters — particularly ahead of the Bavarian state election next fall. For now, the CSU holds an absolute majority in Bavaria, the only German state with a single-party government.

Many pundits noted with furrowed brows that this was going to make it even more difficult for Merkel to bring the CSU into a coalition with the nominally more left-wing Green party — even though the “Jamaica coalition,” a four-way combination of the CDU/CSU, Greens, and the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), appears to be the chancellor’s only option.

CDU and CSU leaders (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kappeler)The marriage between the CDU and the CSU has been going through a rocky patch of late

Asylum seeker limit

One immediate impact of these new circumstances — the CSU’s desperation and Merkel’s weakened negotiating position — is that the CSU will try to make a fixed upper limit on asylum seekers a condition of joining any new government.

That issue, which threatened to split the age-old bond between the CDU and the CSU at the height of the refugee crisis, was brought up in the aftermath of Sunday’s carnage by Joachim Herrmann, Bavarian Interior Minister. “We’re not prepared to give that up,” the senior CSU figure told Deutschlandfunk radio on Tuesday, before adding that the election had made clear that the majority of voters wanted such a limit.

But Werner Weidenfeld, political science professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, warned that it wouldn’t do for the CSU simply to shift to the right. “They can’t do that because then they’d make room in the center,” he said. “That’s why it’s just a big problem for the CSU, because it’s not just the loss of a few percentage points of voters, but because the AfD has established itself.”

“That’s why the CSU will take a confrontational tone in Berlin, and by the end Merkel will realize that her biggest problem in the coalition negotiations won’t be the Greens or the FDP, but the CSU — because they’re up against immense pressure,” he said.

Bavaria first

In other words, the CSU will take a “Bavaria first” approach — lay its Bavarian-centered election plan on the negotiating table and fight for every single point on it. Of course, seeing as it’s a four-way negotiation, the CSU will inevitably have to make compromises, but it will do everything to show its voters back home that it is a powerful force for Bavarian interests. “On the night of the national election, the state election campaign began in Bavaria, and it would be a nightmare for the CSU if anything like that happened again,” said Weidenfeld.

Thomas Schlemmer, political scientist and CSU specialist at Munich’s Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ), was more sanguine about the CSU’s prospects. “You know how much the Social Democrats got in Bavaria? Fifteen percent,” he pointed out. “If you look at the other parties, the CSU still got a very strong result.”

AfD party in Bavaria (picture alliance/dpa/M. Balk)The AfD took 12.4 percent of the vote in Bavaria

Schlemmer also believed that the newly emerging, or re-emerging, parties were not nearly as strong a force in Bavaria as it might appear now. The FDP, he said, was “traditionally a rollercoaster party in Bavaria — sometimes they’re in the state parliament and sometimes they’re out of it.”

“And what becomes of the AfD, no one really knows,” he said. “Yesterday [AfD Bundestag members] Frauke Petry left, today Marcus Pretzell. Who knows who it’ll be tomorrow?”

Heinrich Oberreuter, veteran CSU member and political scientist at the Institute for Journalism in the Bavarian city of Passau, dismissed the notion that the CSU would suddenly start taking on the more radical AfD positions in an attempt to win back voters. “It might lose some of its inhibitions about talking about problems — it was the only party that addressed the issues when it came to the challenge of the refugees, and it will carry on doing that,” he said.  “What else can it do? It certainly won’t start praising National Socialism or some nonsense like that. And it won’t become any more populist than it is already.”

Oberreuter suggested that the problem wasn’t just confined to the CSU anyway. “The point is this: within the conservative camp, that is the CDU and the CSU, members no longer want to support the Merkel position — namely, the social democratization of the CDU,” he said. “I think Merkel will get a lot more resistance from her own base in the CDU too.”


Angela Merkel’s coalition building: “Jamaica” coalition with the Greens and Free Democrats looks to be the most likely path

September 26, 2017

Building a so-called “Jamaica” coalition with the Greens and Free Democrats looks to be the most likely path to power for Chancellor Angela Merkel, a day after the vote. A few key points from the election aftermath.

Christian Democratic Union CDU party leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures after winning the German general election (Reuters/K. Pfaffenbach)

Merkel won’t rule out ‘grand coalition’ just yet

Although somewhat weakened by their worst election showing since 1949, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives remain the largest party and are looking for coalition partners.

Merkel still hasn’t ruled out governing in coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD), even if the center-left party’s leadership apparently doesn’t want to play ball.

Read more: Opinion – Sunny days are over for Angela Merkel

On Monday, Merkel increased the pressure on the SPD to reconsider and work with the Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU). “All the parties are capable of joining a coalition and have a responsibility to help create a stable coalition,” Merkel said, adding that she wanted to speak to the SPD.

On Sunday, SPD leader Martin Schulz said his party would be “a strong opposition force in this country, to defend democracy against those who question it and attack it.”

‘Jamaica’ puzzle poses a few problems

Another option open to Merkel might be a so-called “Jamaica” coalition with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) as junior partners to the CDU-CSU. The chancellor has said she also plans to speak to both parties.

Read more: Can the Greens and FDP join Angela Merkel in a coalition?

 Image may contain: 5 people
Angela Merkel has won a fourth term, but official results have shown she’ll have a “tough road” for coalition talks

However, such a coalition — so named because the three parties’ colors are represented on the Jamaican flag — would pose some major problems.

That much was apparent on Monday when FDP leader Christian Lindner took a swipe at the Greens, accusing them of being obsessed with banning fossil fuel power stations and cars.

“The Greens will have to tread a very long road to reach discussions about ‘Jamaica’,” he said.

The 38-year-old FDP leader has also said he opposes any reform of the single currency eurozone that would create a centralized budget to help smooth out financial problems experienced by individual European countries. “We think it’s necessary for the law to encourage individual responsibility” in European countries’ finances, Lindner stated.

Read more: Uncharted political waters for Angela Merkel

Merkel has welcomed the prospect of deeper European integration but has pledged she will not set out red lines on European policy for now, giving her some wiggle room in coalition talks.

AfD co-chair Petry won’t join her party

Frauke Petry  the co-chair and longtime public face of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), will not be joining her party’s parliamentary grouping in the new Bundestag, after months of feuding with the rest of the AfD leadership.

Deutschland Bundestagswahl | AfD Wahlparty | Petry (picture alliance/dpa/B. Von Jutrczenka)
  • AfD co-chair Frauke Petry will not join her party’s parliamentary party in the new Bundestag.

“We should be open about the fact that there is conflict regarding content within the AfD, we should not pretend it doesn’t exist,” Petry told reporters on Monday.

She added that the party, which is set to enter the Bundestag for the first time, had become “anarchical” in the weeks leading up to the election and “cannot offer the voter a credible platform for government.”

Recently, Petry publicly criticized party co-leader Alexander Gauland for saying the AfD would “go after” the new government and that Germany should be proud of its soldiers in World War I and II, comments which she said were not constructive and could push voters away from the party.

All other political parties have said they are unwilling to work with the AfD.

Read more: Political cartoonists paint dark picture of German election result

CDU’s sister party may prove tricky partner

The leader of Merkel’s Bavarian CSU allies, Horst Seehofer — who has been a vocal critic of Merkel’s asylum policy — characterized the vote outcome as a “bitter disappointment” on Monday. His party had also suffered its worst result in decades.

Aware that the conservatives lost many of their voters to the AfD, Seehofer said that the CDU-CSU needed to close “an open flank to the right.”

Read more: The day after: As it happened

Seehofer, the Bavaria state premier, has said the CSU needs to reconsider its relationship with the CDU. Although both are strictly separate parties, they have formed a parliamentary bloc for generations.

Seehofer has, in the past, been quick to speak his mind and he is not afraid of issuing threats to Merkel. He might not be the easiest partner for the chancellor to deal with in coalition talks, especially when it comes to security and immigration.


German election, the day after: AfD’s Frauke Petry won’t join parliamentary group

September 25, 2017

Alternative for Germany co-chair Frauke Petry has shocked her party colleagues by saying she won’t join their new parliamentary group in the Bundestag. SPD leader Schulz says again that SPD will enter opposition.

Deutschland Bundestagswahl | AfD Wahlparty | Petry (picture alliance/dpa/B. Von Jutrczenka)
  • AfD co-chair Frauke Petry will not join her party’s parliamentary party in the new Bundestag.
  • The decision follows months of feuding between Petry and the rest of the AfD leadership.
  • On Sunday, the AfD won 12.6 percent of the national vote and will enter the Bundestag for the first time.

All updates in Central European Summer Time (UTC +2)


10:53 The CSU’s former minister president of Bavaria, Günther Backstein, has said the Greens and the CSU are “like fire and water.” FDP vice-chair Wolfgang Kubicki has said talks on a CDU/CSU-FDP-Green coalition will “not be a sure-fire success.”

10:18 SPD top candidate Martin Schulz says once again that his party will go into opposition in the new parliament and not enter a new grand coalition with Chancellor Merkel’s CDU and the CSU.

09:52 Following Petry’s departure, Gauland said he did not believe his statements were responsible for Petry’s decision.

Petry had publically criticized Gauland for saying that the AfD would “go after” the new government and for saying that Germany should be proud of its soldiers in the First and Second World Wars, which she said were not constructive and could push voters away from the party.

09:34 AfD co-chair Jörg Meuthen apologized for the incident and said he “had had no knowledge” of Petry’s decision, which he said was a “bombshell.”

Petry later referenced inner party disagreements and her belief that the AfD could offer nothing more than opposition for her decision.

“We should be open about the fact there there is conflict regarding content within the AfD, we should not pretend it doesn’t exist,” Petry told reporters. She added that the party had become “anarchical” in the weeks leading up to the election and “cannot offer the voter a credible platform for government.”

09:16 Frauke Petry, the co-chair and longtime public face of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), said Monday at a party press conference she will not join the AfD’s parliamentary party in the new legislative period.

The surprise announcement shocked colleagues present at the conference that included AfD top candidates Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland and escalated a months-long inner-party feud.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Petry said: “I decided after careful reflection that I will not sit with the (AfD) parliamentary group.”

She then promptly left the room without taking questions, which her colleagues had apparently not expected.

Petry won the vote in her Saxony constituency.

The far-right AfD won 12.6 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s nationwide election and will enter the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, for the first time as the third-largest party with 94 seats.

amp/se (dpa, AFP)

Leading AfD figure refuses to join German party’s parliamentary group — “Dissent” within the party — Frauke Petry walks out

September 25, 2017


© AFP | Petry has long been locked in a dispute with more hardline AfD colleagues
BERLIN (AFP) – The nationalist Alternative of Germany was hit by party infighting on Monday just hours after winning its first seats in parliament, with its co-chief Frauke Petry declaring that she won’t join its Bundestag group.”I decided after careful reflection that I will not sit with the (AfD) parliamentary group” in the Bundestag, Petry told a press conference alongside other key figures in the party before abruptly leaving the room.

Petry, who has long been locked in a dispute with more hardline AfD colleagues, won a seat in Sunday’s election and said she would still serve as an MP.

Her decision caught her colleagues by surprise at the press conference, and came a day after the AfD made history by sending dozens of lawmakers to parliament — a first since World War II for an openly anti-immigration and Islamophobic hard-right party.

Petry pointed to “dissent” within the party, and said there was no point hiding that.

She had openly criticised one of the party’s two leading candidates, Alexander Gauland, for saying that the AfD would “go after” Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government.

“That is rhetoric that I think… would not be seen as constructive by voters,” she told public broadcaster ZDF.

During the campaign, she also said Gauland’s claim that Germany should be proud of its World War I and II soldiers would cause voters to shun the party.

Split exposed in German far-right as co-leader storms out

September 25, 2017


Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Frauke Petry

BERLIN (Reuters) – Frauke Petry, the co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) said on Monday she would not be part of the parliamentary group of her anti-immigrant party and stormed out of a news conference without answering questions.

Petry’s surprise announcement came after the AfD shocked the German establishment by scoring 12.6 percent in the national election on Sunday, meaning it will be the first far-right party to enter the German parliament in more than half a century.

“I think we should be open today that there is a disagreement over content in the AfD and I think we shouldn’t hush this up because society is calling for an open debate,” Petry told a joint news conference with other party leaders.

The party founded in 2013 by a group of academics opposed to the euro has long been riven by infighting and commentators have predicted that its divisions could be amplified by its entry onto the national political stage.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Caroline Copley