AfD stays the course amid Petry-Pretzell “realpolitic” split

By Carolyn Yeager

FAR FEWER DEMONSTRATORS AGAINST THE AFD PARTY CONGRESS’ 2-day meeting in Cologne actually showed up than the 50,000 claimed to be expected. Only 8 to 10,000 filled the streets, which were easily controlled by the 4,000 well-prepared police on hand, even though two police officers were injured and a police car was set ablaze before things calmed down. Hateful comments from Church leaders brought push back from AfD co-chairman Frauke Petry in her speech on Saturday against their “ugly, deprecating and polarizing remarks.” (See more on that below)

From the outside, the Congress moved along very smoothly, electing as their lead candidates in the Federal election in September two top vote-getters: Alexander Gauland from Berlin and economist Alice Wiedel from Baden-Wurttemberg.

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The main disagreement came early on Saturday when the delegates refused to tc onsider the motion put forward by co-Chairman Mrs. Petry to set her party on a more moderate course that would enable it to become part of governing coalitions. This was rejected by the majority, led by Alexander Gauland and co-Chairman Jörg Meuthen. Meuthen got a standing ovation when he said in his prepared remarks to the gathering that the AfD would never form an alliance with those like Merkel, Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz or the Greens, whose pro-migrant stances were wrecking Germany.

Unless Germany switches gears very soon, it will “with mathematical certainty turn into a Muslim country.” Meuthen said Germans in his hometown were now “few and far between.” He likened the country to the Titanic.

“Everybody is still in good spirits and there’s a relaxed party mood above and below deck but it’s almost impossible for the huge ship to make the necessary change in direction anymore. People can’t or don’t want to imagine a collision with an iceberg but it’s already unavoidable.”

By contrast, Petry said a “lack of strategy” was behind the “internal strife” the party had been plagued with … strife that was played down by both Meuthen and Gauland. She was adamant that the party made a “mistake” in refusing to discuss her motion on its future direction (to moderate its tone to make it more palatable to a broader slice of the German electorate), and said at the conclusion on Sunday afternoon that “The party is not yet ready, you have to give it time. It will recognize in the coming months that certain decisions need to be taken. I have a responsibility to the party that elected me two years ago, and I will continue to fill that,” she said.

Petry-Pretzell now a ‘faction’ hardening against the right?

Digging in their heels, Marcus Pretzell, state party chairman for North RhineWestphalia, announced on Sunday that he intends to take a different course than the federal party. “In North Rhine-Westphalia, we are pursuing a different, more realpolitical course than the federal party – both in personnel and content,” he told the TV station Phoenix. Pretzell and Petry were married in December 2016 and are expecting a baby this summer.

So it is clear that the Petry-Pretzell faction will continue to try to moderate the party, including the removal of member Björn Höcke, and others like him, who have strong followings of passionate supporters.

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Published in: on April 24, 2017 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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