German anti-immigration party split as co-leader resigns

Jörg Meuthen has quit as co-leader of AfD, and resigned from the party

Regular H&D readers will know that the German anti-immigration party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) was originally a eurosceptic party focused on a Thatcher-style tax-cutting, state-shrinking, anti-Brussels agenda: a more moderate version of UKIP.

After Angela Merkel’s infamous championing of asylum seekers during the immigration crisis of 2015 – summed up in her phrase at a press conference on August 31st that year: “We can do this!” (i.e. Germany can admit millions of ‘refugees’) – AfD rapidly became more of an anti-immigration party than a eurosceptic party, and began shedding its more moderate conservative activists including several MEPs.

Even so, there have always been deep ideological divisions within AfD. One wing – actually called Der Flügel (“the wing”) – is much closer to explicit racial nationalism and sometimes approaches ‘forbidden’ historical questions. The most prominent Flügel leader is Björn Höcke, AfD leader in the central German state of Thuringia (once part of communist East Germany), where the party is especially strong.

In 2020 Germany’s domestic security service BfV (equivalent to Britain’s MI5) announced that the Flügel was under surveillance as a potential threat to the democratic order.

Until this week the most prominent figure in AfD’s ‘moderate’ wing was its national co-leader Jörg Meuthen, who has now resigned not only from his leadership post but from the party.

Meuthen claims that he was losing the battle against the Flügel faction and that as a result AfD was no longer clearly a “democratic” party.

“The party’s heart is beating very far to the right today, and permanently at an elevated rate. I do see quite clear totalitarian echoes there.”

These are very strong words to use (especially in a German context) about a party of which you were co-leader until the previous day!

Meuthen’s resignation has boosted the influence of Björn Höcke, leader of AfD’s radical faction, Der Flügel.

Many observers predict that Meuthen will join forces with the main German conservative party CDU, which recently elected a new and more ‘right-wing’ leader, Friedrich Merz. If so, this would be a significant boost to the CDU, which polled a record low vote in last year’s federal election.

Meuthen has suggested that as it becomes more radical, AfD will only be relevant in the more economically depressed and radicalised regions of the former East Germany, including Höcke’s Thuringia and the neighbouring state Saxony.

This split has been brewing for some time, though until recently it seemed more likely that the Flügel would be expelled rather than the ‘moderates’ resigning. A crucial role has been played by the middle ground of the party, including co-leader Alice Weidel, who seems to have sided with Höcke and the radicals.

Alongside recent developments in France, Spain and Portugal, Meuthen’s resignation is one of several significant changes on the European ‘far right’, which will be analysed in the March edition of Heritage and Destiny.

German conservatives elect new ‘right-wing’ leader

Friedrich Merz (above centre) after winning last week’s CDU leadership election

After their devastating defeat in September year, the German conservative party CDU has chosen a new ‘right-wing’ leader.

66-year-old Friedrich Merz was for years seen as the main right-wing rival to long-serving Chancellor Angela Merkel inside the Christian Democrats.

Merkel’s retirement from German politics (which she dominated as CDU leader since 2000 and Chancellor since 2005) came in two stages: stepping down as party leader three years ago, then as Chancellor after this year’s federal elections.

Friedrich Merz was twice defeated in elections for CDU leader: first by Merkel’s chosen successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, then after this ‘mini-Merkel’ proved not up to the job, by another ‘centrist’ Armin Laschet in January this year.

It was Laschet who turned out to be a hopeless leader, taking the CDU to its worst ever federal election result.

Last week, at his third attempt, Merz easily won the CDU leadership with the backing of more than 62% of members in the first ballot, easily defeating centrist Norbert Röttgen and close Merkel ally Helge Braun.

Merz was a deputy to Angela Merkel at the start of her CDU leadership (before she became Chancellor), but soon became seen as a ‘right-wing’ rival and spent several years out of politics, preparing for an eventual bid to succeed her.

Yet H&D readers should look carefully at exactly what sort of ‘right-wing’ policies the new CDU leader stands for. Friedrich Merz is not our sort of ‘right-winger’. He is a throwback to the pro-business, small-state, market capitalism of the Thatcher-Reagan era.

A former corporate lawyer, Merz spent years outside politics during which he led the German operations of the investment firm BlackRock, regarded as the world’s largest ‘shadow bank’ and headed by New York billionaire Larry Fink. In 2018 Merz showed his true political colours, rejecting the Ludwig Erhard Prize (named after one of the CDU’s founding fathers) because he found the views of the Erhard Foundation’s chairman Roland Tichy to be too right-wing.

While he will probably win back some support from the more conservative, bürgerlich wing of the AfD (Alternative for Germany), radical nationalists inside and outside AfD should be able to establish clear water between ourselves and the likes of Friedrich Merz.

The same applies here in the UK, where during 2022 we can define a distinct nationalist ideology, very different from the neo-Thatcherism and libertarianism on offer from Boris Johnson’s likely successors in the Conservative Party, or from increasingly irrelevant civic nationalists in parties such as Reform UK and the moribund UKIP.

During 2022 H&D will play its part in defining racial nationalism with a social (even ‘socialist’) dimension, relevant to our times and to voters who might have backed Brexit, UKIP, and even Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in the false hope that these causes and parties would rescue our people and our nation from cultural decay and economic stagnation.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you will stay with us in the New Year.

German Federal Election – end of Merkel era

Alice Weidel, co-leader of Germany’s anti-immigration party AfD

Results are being declared of today’s German election for the Bundestag (federal parliament). H&D‘s assistant editor Peter Rushton has been in Germany during the campaign and will report here and in the November issue of H&D on the results and their implications for the racial nationalist and broad pro-White movement in Europe. (click here to view detailed NPD results from this year’s election)

The German electoral system is a combination of constituencies (which elect members of the Bundestag on a similar basis to the UK Parliament, i.e. first-past-the-post) and a proportional ‘additional member’ system. This means that parties polling more than 5% nationwide are guaranteed Bundestag members.

The main outcome was a strong result for the social-democratic SPD, whose leader Olaf Scholz seems very likely to become Chancellor. Meanwhile the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) slightly slipped back from 12.6% in 2017 to 10.3% this year.

The constituency held for thirty years for the CDU by retiring Chancellor Angela Merkel was among those lost to the SPD, who won every directly elected seat in Merkel’s Mecklenburg region.

Despite its vote declining nationwide, AfD has gained numerous constituency seats across its strongholds of Saxony and Thuringia (regions of the old East Germany), though once the proportional element is allocated AfD ends up with 83 seats in the new Bundestag, down from 94 last time.

Of the sixteen constituencies in Saxony, AfD retained two, also regained the seat won four years ago by former leader Frauke Petry who had since quit the party, and gained another seven (from the collapsing CDU). This makes ten Saxon constituencies for the AfD, while just four were retained by CDU (including the two Dresden constituencies), one (Chemnitz) gained by SPD, and one (in southern Leipzig) retained by the Left Party.

AfD is now the largest party in Thuringia, with four of the eight directly elected Bundestag seats and 24% of the vote: a triumph for its regional leader Björn Höcke (above) who also leads AfD’s most explicitly nationalist faction

Of the eight constituencies in Thuringia four went to AfD, three for SPD, and just one for CDU. Moreover in a highly symbolic victory AfD took the largest vote share in Thuringia with 24%, ahead of SPD on 23.4% and CDU on 16.9%. This is all the more significant as AfD’s leader in Thuringia (Björn Höcke) heads the party’s most hardline nationalist faction.

Slightly to the north of Saxony and Thuringia, AfD gained two of the eight constituencies in the Saxony-Anhalt region. While it’s often assumed that the seats won by European racial nationalist parties are because of the proportional voting system, the fact is that today AfD has won sixteen seats in parts of the old East Germany under the “UK style” first-past-the-post system.

The CDU’s collapse means that in large parts of the old East Germany it will now be AfD that is the main voice of opposition to the likely new SPD-Green government. The great pity for AfD is that had they been able to continue concentrating on their popular policies on immigration and crime, these results could have been much better. It’s clear from today’s results that the party’s flirtation with Covid/vaccine conspiracy theory has been an electoral liability. Various candidates and parties focused entirely on anti-lockdown and/or anti-vaccine campaigning fared even worse, polling insignificant votes.

The big losers of this election seem to be both conservatives and the far left (with the ex-communist Left Party losing 30 seats, down to 39 in the new Bundestag): the big winners are Social-Democrats and Greens.

AfD polled 12.6% at the last federal election in 2017, winning 94 seats to become the third-largest party in the Bundestag, but their 10.3% vote this year left AfD in fifth place nationwide (overtaken by both the Greens and the liberal FDP).

More radical racial nationalist parties (of which by far the largest is the NPD) have been electorally eclipsed for the time being by AfD’s success and tend to concentrate more on local and regional elections where they stand a chance of winning seats. In the 2017 federal election the NPD polled just over 175,000 votes nationwide (0.4%). This fell to just under 65,000 votes (around 0.1%) this year.

The one certain result of this election is the retirement of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been in power since November 2005 (latterly leading a coalition government of conservatives and social democrats). Her successor as head of the conservative CDU/CSU – Armin Laschet – had a disastrous campaign and seems most unlikely to become Chancellor: his party polled a record low vote and will finish slightly behind the SPD. Merkel will remain in post until coalition talks have agreed a new government, probably involving three parties in the new Bundestag: the SPD, Greens and liberal ‘Free Democrats’ (FDP).

One consequence of this conservative disaster will be a bitter battle for control, with the more ‘right-wing’ leader of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party CSU – Markus Söder – likely to push his claim to lead the conservative alliance, and probably arguing that it should drop its traditional refusal to negotiate with the ‘far right’ AfD.

see also “Return of the Schleswig-Holstein Question!”

NPD results in detail – German nationalist vote shifts to AfD

NPD leader Frank Franz (above left) with his predecessor and former MEP Udo Voigt.

As expected the NPD – Germany’s main racial nationalist party – lost votes again this year to the civic nationalist anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

For the time being NPD activists and candidates will concentrate their efforts more on local and regional elections. The NPD’s best Bundestag vote was in 1969 when they polled 1.4 million votes (4.3%). In the 2004 and 2009 elections the NPD won seats in the regional parliament of Saxony, as they did in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in 2006 and 2011. In 2009 they were only a fraction short of winning regional parliamentary seats in Thuringia.

Even regional parliamentary gains are unlikely while AfD remains a powerful force, yet NPD campaigning remains important both to build a core of radical nationalist support, and to continue influencing the radical faction of the AfD, some of whose leaders have a great deal in common with the NPD even while most AfD leaders are closer to the right-wing of CDU/CSU.

At this year’s Bundestag election the NPD put up party lists in every part of Germany but not constituency candidates. Every German has two votes – one for an individual candidate, and a second vote for a regional party list. It is for these second votes that the NPD was competing.

In the two states where AfD was the largest party this year – Saxony and Thuringia – the NPD vote fell to 0.3%.

Thuringia NPD leader Thorsten Heise (above right) with Lady Michèle Renouf and fellow marchers at the 2020 Dresden Memorial.

The Thuringia NPD slate headed by Thorsten Heise polled 4,105 votes (0.3%), down from 1.2% in 2017. Bear in mind that AfD became the largest party in Thuringia this year, with a 0.6% lead over the SPD – so this AfD lead can be attributed to the transfer of previous NPD votes.

AfD was already narrowly the largest party in Saxony but consolidated its position this year with a 5.3% lead over the SPD (the conservative CDU having collapsed to third place). Here the Saxony NPD slate headed by Maik Müller polled 7,489 votes (0.3%), down from 1.1% in 2017. The smaller Dritte Weg party (Third Way – no connection to the NF splinter group once led by Patrick Harrington and Graham Williamson!) also stood in Saxony this year, taking 4,285 votes (0.2%).

In Mecklenburg – Western Pomerania (on the north-east border of today’s Federal Republic) the NPD vote didn’t fall quite so dramatically, perhaps because this region was less intensely targeted by AfD than Thuringia or Saxony. Here the NPD slate headed by Michael Andrejewski polled 6,399 votes (0.7%), down from 1.1% in 2017.

Michael Andrejewski, leader of the NPD in Mecklenburg – Western Pomerania, where the party achieved its highest vote share this year

These three remain the strongest racial nationalist areas of Germany. In remaining regional / city state results were as follows:

Brandenburg, the NPD slate headed by Klaus Beier polled 4,871 (0.3%), down from 0.9% in 2017

Saxony Anhalt, the NPD slate headed by Henry Lippold polled 3,003 votes (0.2%), down from 0.7% in 2017.

Saarland, the NPD slate headed by Otfried Best polled 1,375 votes (0.2%), down from 0.5% in 2017.

North Rhine-Westphalia, the NPD slate headed by Ariane Meise polled 8,959 votes (0.1%), down from 0.2% in 2017.

Baden-Württemberg, the NPD slate headed by Edda Schmidt polled 6,029 votes (0.1%), down from 0.3% in 2017.

Bavaria, the NPD slate headed by Sascha Roßmüller polled 5,768 votes (0.1%), down from 0.3% in 2017, with Third Way taking 3,545 votes (slightly under 0.1%).

Sascha Roßmüller, leader of the NPD slate in Bavaria

Hessen, the NPD slate headed by Stefan Jagsch polled 4,528 votes (0.1%), down from 0.3% in 2017.

Lower Saxony, the NPD slate headed by Manfred Dammann polled 4,374 votes (0.1%) down from 0.3% in 2017.

Rhineland Palatinate, the NPD slate headed by Udo Voigt polled 2,773 votes (0.1%), down from 0.3% in 2017.

Schleswig-Holstein, the NPD slate headed by Mark Proch polled 2,015 votes (0.1%), down from 0.2% in 2017

Berlin, the NPD slate headed by Andreas Käfer polled 1,979 votes (0.1%), having had no slate here in 2017.

Hamburg, the NPD slate headed by Lennart Schwarzbach polled 651 votes (0.1%), down from 0.2% in 2017.

Bremen, the NPD slate headed by Heinz Seeger polled 290 votes (0.1%), down from 0.3% in 2017.

Nationwide the NPD’s list votes totalled 64,608 (0.1%), down from 0.4% in 2017.

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