Alternative for Germany (German: Alternative für Deutschland, AfD) is a right-wing to far-right political party in Germany. Founded in April 2013, the AfD narrowly missed the 5% electoral threshold to sit in the Bundestag during the 2013 federal election. In 2014 the party won seven seats in the European election as a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists. After securing representation in 14 of the 16 German state parliaments by October 2017, the AfD became the third-largest party in Germany after the 2017 federal election, claiming 94 seats in the Bundestag, a major breakthrough for the party as it was the first time the AfD had won any seats in the Bundestag. The party is chaired by Jörg Meuthen; its lead candidates in the 2017 elections were AfD Co-Vice Chairman Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel who now serves as the party group leader in the Bundestag. Since 2017, AfD is the largest opposition party in the Bundestag.
The party has been described as a German nationalist, right-wing populist, and Eurosceptic party. Since about 2015, the AfD has been increasingly open to working with far-right extremist groups such as Pegida. Parts of the AfD have racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic and xenophobic tendencies linked to far-right movements such as neo-Nazism and identitarianism.
Alternative for Germany
Alternative für Deutschland
|Parliamentary leadership||Alice Weidel|
|Founded||6 February 2013|
|Headquarters||Schillstraße 9 10785 Berlin|
|Youth wing||Young Alternative for Germany|
|Membership (February 2019)||35,000|
|Political position||Right-wing to far-right|
|European Parliament group||ECR (2014–2016)|
EFDD (from 2016)
|Colours|| Light blue|
91 / 709
188 / 1,821
1 / 96
In September 2012, Alexander Gauland, Bernd Lucke, and journalist Konrad Adam, founded the political group Electoral Alternative 2013 (German: Wahlalternative 2013) in Bad Nauheim, to oppose German federal policies concerning the eurozone crisis. Their manifesto was endorsed by several economists, journalists, and business leaders, and stated that the eurozone had proven to be "unsuitable" as a currency area and that southern European states were "sinking into poverty under the competitive pressure of the euro".
Some candidates of what would become the AfD sought election in Lower Saxony as part of the Electoral Alternative 2013 in alliance with the Free Voters, an association participating in local elections without specific federal or foreign policies, and received 1% of the vote. In February 2013 the group decided to found a new party to compete in the 2013 federal elections. The Free Voters leadership declined to join forces, according to a leaked email from Bernd Lucke. Advocating the abolition of the Euro, Alternative for Germany (AfD) took a more radical stance than the Free Voters. Likewise, the Pirate Party of Germany opposed any coalition with the AfD at their 2013 spring convention.
The AfD's initial supporters were the same prominent economists, business leaders and journalists who had supported the Electoral Alternative 2013, including former members of the Christian Democratic Union, who had previously challenged the constitutionality of the German government's eurozone policies at the Federal Constitutional Court.
On 14 April 2013, the AfD announced its presence to the wider public when it held its first convention in Berlin, elected the party leadership and adopted a party platform. Bernd Lucke, entrepreneur Frauke Petry and Konrad Adam were elected as speakers. The AfD federal board also chose three deputy speakers, Alexander Gauland, Roland Klaus and Patricia Casale. The party elected treasurer Norbert Stenzel and the three assessors Irina Smirnova, Beatrix Diefenbach and Wolf-Joachim Schünemann. The economist Joachim Starbatty, along with Jörn Kruse, Helga Luckenbach, Dirk Meyer and Roland Vaubel were elected to the party's scientific advisory board. Between 31 March and 12 May 2013 the AfD founded affiliates in all 16 German states in order to participate in the federal elections. On 15 June 2013 the Young Alternative for Germany was founded in Darmstadt as the AfD's youth organisation. In April 2013, during David Cameron's visit to Germany, the British Conservative Party was reported to have contacted both AfD and the Free Voters to discuss possible cooperation, supported by the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group of the European Parliament. In June 2013, Bernd Lucke gave a question and answer session organised by the Conservative Party-allied Bruges Group think tank in Portcullis House, London. In a detailed report in the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in April 2013, the paper's Berlin-based political correspondent Majid Sattar revealed that the SPD and CDU had conducted opposition research to blunt the growth and attraction of the AfD.
The party was created by Bernd Lucke, Alexander Gauland, and Konrad Adam to confront German-supported bailouts for poorer southern European countries.
On 22 September 2013, the AfD won 4.7% of the votes in the 2013 federal election, just missing the 5% barrier to enter the Bundestag. The party won about 2 million party list votes and 810,000 constituency votes, which was 1.9% of the total of these votes cast across Germany.
The AfD did not participate in the 2013 Bavaria state election held on 15 September 2013. The AfD gained its first representation in the state parliament of Hesse with the defection of Jochen Paulus from the Free Democratic Party (FDP) to the AfD in early May 2013, who was not re-elected and left office in January 2014. In the 2013 Hesse state election held on 22 September 2013, the same day as the 2013 federal election, the AfD failed to gain representation in the parliament with 4.0% of the vote.
In early 2014, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled the proposed 3% vote hurdle for representation in the European elections unconstitutional, and the 2014 European Parliament election became the first run in Germany without a barrier for representation.
The AfD held a party conference on 25 January 2014 at Frankenstolz Arena, Aschaffenburg, northwest Bavaria. The conference chose the slogan Mut zu Deutschland ("Courage [to stand up] for Germany") to replace the former slogan Mut zur Wahrheit (lit. "Courage [to speak] the truth" or, more succinctly, "Telling it as it is"), which prompted disagreement among the federal board that the party could be seen as too anti-European. Eventually a compromise was reached by using the slogan "MUT ZU D*EU*TSCHLAND, with the "EU" in "DEUTSCHLAND" encircled by the 12 stars of the European flag. The conference elected the top six candidates for the European elections on 26 January 2014 and met again the following weekend to choose the remaining euro candidates. Candidates from 7th–28th place on the party list were selected in Berlin on 1 February. Party chairman Bernd Lucke was elected as lead candidate.
In February 2014, AfD officials said they had discussed alliances with Britain's anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP), which Bernd Lucke and the federal board of AfD opposed, and also with the ECR group, to which the British Conservative Party belongs. In April 2014 Hans-Olaf Henkel, AfD's second candidate on the European election list, ruled out forming a group with UKIP after the 2014 European election. stating that he saw the British Conservatives as the preferred partner in the European Parliament. On 10 May 2014 Bernd Lucke had been in talks with the Czech and Polish member parties of ECR group.
In the 25 May 2014 European election, the AfD came in fifth place in Germany, with 7.1% of the national vote (2,065,162 votes), and seven members of the EU parliament. On 12 June 2014 it was announced that the AfD had been accepted into the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament. The official vote result was not released to the public, but figures of 29 votes for and 26 against were reported by the membership.
On 31 August 2014, the AfD scored 9.7% of the vote in the Saxony state election, winning 14 seats in the Landtag of Saxony. and on 14 September 2014 they obtained 10.6% of the vote in the Thuringian and 12.2% in the Brandenburg state election, winning 11 seats in both state parliaments.
On 15 February 2015 AfD won 6.1% of the vote in the 2015 Hamburg state election, gaining the mandate for eight seats in the Hamburg Parliament, winning their first seats in a western German state.
After months of factional infighting and a cancelled party gathering in June 2015, on 4 July 2015 Frauke Petry was elected as the de facto principal speaker of the party with 60% of the member votes ahead of Bernd Lucke at a party congress in Essen. Petry was a member of the national-conservative faction of the AfD. Her leadership was widely seen as heralding a shift of the party to the right, to focus more on issues such as migration, Islam and strengthening ties to Russia, a shift which was claimed by Lucke as turning the party into a "Pegida party". In the following week, five MEPs exited the party on 7 July, the only remaining MEPs being Beatrix von Storch and Marcus Pretzell and on 8 July 2015, Lucke announced that he was resigning from the AfD, citing the rise of xenophobic and pro-Russian sentiments in the party. At a meeting of members of the Wake-up call (Weckruf 2015) group on 19 July 2015, the founder of the AfD Bernd Lucke and former AfD members announced they would form a new party, the Alliance for Progress and Renewal (ALFA), under the founding principles of the AfD.
In February 2016, the AfD announced a cooperation pact with the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ). On 8 March 2016, the bureau of the ECR Group began motions to exclude the AfD from their group due to its links with the far-right FPÖ, inviting the two remaining AfD MEPs to leave the group by 31 March, with a motion of exclusion to be tabled on 12 April if they refuse to leave voluntarily. While MEP Beatrix von Storch left the ECR group on 8 April to join the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group, Marcus Pretzell let himself be expelled on 12 April 2016.
With the migrant debate remaining the dominant national issue, on 13 March 2016 elections held in the three states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt saw the AfD receiving double-digit percentages of the vote in all three states. In the 2016 Saxony-Anhalt state election, the AfD reached second place in the Landtag, receiving 24.2% of the vote. In the 2016 Baden-Württemberg state election, the AfD achieved third place with 15.1% of the vote. In the 2016 Rhineland-Palatinate state election, the AfD again reached third place with 12.6% of the vote. In Angela Merkel's home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern her CDU was beaten into third place following a strong showing of the AfD who contested at state level for the first time, to claim the second-highest polling with 20.8% of the vote in the 2016 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election. However AfD voter support in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania appears to have come from both left and right wing parties with support for the SPD down 4.9%, CDU down 4.1%, The Left down 5.2%, Alliance '90/The Greens down 3.9% and support for the National Democratic Party of Germany halved, dropping 3.0%. Rising support for the AfD meant that The Greens and the NDP failed to reach the 5% threshold to qualify for seats in the Landtag of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and consequently lost their seats. In the 2016 Berlin state election, which the AfD also contested for the first time, they achieved a vote of 14.2%, making them the fifth largest party represented in the state assembly. Their vote seems to have come equally from the SPD and CDU, whose votes declined 6.7% and 5.7% respectively.
At the party congress held on 30 April to 1 May 2016, the AfD adopted a policy platform based upon opposition to Islam, calling for the ban of Islamic symbols including burkhas, minarets and the call to prayer, using the slogan "Islam is not a part of Germany".
At the party conference in April 2017, Frauke Petry announced that she would not run as the party's main candidate for the 2017 federal election. This announcement grew out of internal power struggle as the party's support had fallen in polls from 15% in the summer of 2016 to 7% just before the conference. Björn Höcke from the far-right wing of the party and Petry were attempting to push each other out of the party. Petry's decision was partly seen as a step to avoid a vote at the conference on the issue of her standing. The party chose Alexander Gauland, a stark conservative who worked as an editor and was a former member of the CDU, to lead the party in the elections. Gauland supported the retention of Höcke's party membership. Alice Weidel, who is perceived as more moderate and neoliberal, was elected as his running mate. The party approved a platform that, according to The Wall Street Journal: "urges Germany to close its borders to asylum applicants, end sanctions on Russia and to leave the EU if Berlin fails to retrieve national sovereignty from Brussels, as well as to amend the country's constitution to allow people born to non-German parents to have their German citizenship revoked if they commit serious crimes.
In the 2017 German federal elections the AfD won 12.6% of the vote and received 94 seats; this was the first time it had won seats in the Bundestag. It won three constituency seats, which would have been enough to qualify for proportionally-elected seats in any event. Under a longstanding law intended to benefit regional parties, any party that wins at least three constituency seats qualifies for its share of proportionally-elected seats, regardless of vote share.
At a press conference held by AfD the day after the election, Petry said that she would participate in the Bundestag as an independent; she said she did this because extremist statements by some members made it impossible for AfD to function as a constructive opposition, and to make clear to voters that there is internal dissent in the AfD. She also said that she would be leaving the party at some future date. Fauke formed the Blue Party, in September 2017. Four members of the AfD in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania legislature, including Bernhard Wild, also left the AfD to form their own group, which folded in December 2018.
In 2018, André Poggenburg, the AfD's regional leader of the eastern Saxony-Anhalt state, resigned his post after making racist remarks concerning Turks and immigrants with dual citizenship. Poggenburg gave as reasons for his resignation a shift to the left in the AFD when it jettisoned from extremists in order to appear more moderate to voters. In 2019, Poggenburg started a new far-right party, Aufbruch der deutschen Patrioten ("Awakening of German Patriots", AdP), which planned to field candidates in state elections in Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg in Fall 2019. The party came under criticism when it announced that it would use a logo which included a blue cornflower, a symbol associated with the anti-Semitic Schoenerer Movement which was also used by banned Austrian Nazis in the 1930s before the Anschluss in 1938 united Austria with Nazi Germany. Poggenburg has been criticized in the past for his use of vocabulary redolent of Nazi-era Germany.
The AfD was founded as a centre-right conservative party of the middle class with a tendency toward 'soft' Euroscepticism, being generally supportive of Germany's membership in the European Union but critical of further European integration, the existence of the euro currency, and the bailouts by the eurozone for countries such as Greece. At that time, the party also advocated support for Swiss-style direct democracy, dissolution of the Eurozone, opposition to immigration, and opposed gay marriage.
By May 2015, the party became polarised into two factions, one centred around Lucke and his core economic policies and another group led by Petry, which favoured an anti-immigration approach. The result was that Lucke's faction left to found a new party: the Alliance for Progress and Renewal, later renamed the Liberal Conservative Reformers in November 2016. AfD also supports the privatization of social programs and state owned enterprises.
The party was founded on opposition to Germany's financial support of other Eurozone states and the third main point of its initial platform called for Germany to cede no further elements of its sovereignty to the EU without approval via a referendum. Over time, a focus on German nationalism, on reclaiming Germany's sovereignty and national pride, especially in repudiation to Germany's culture of shame with regard to its Nazi past, became more central in AfD's ideology and a central plank in its populist appeals. For example, Petry, who led the moderate wing of the party, said that Germany should reclaim the German word "völkisch" from its Nazi connotations, while Höcke, who is an example of the more right-wing views, regularly speaks of the "Fatherland" and "Volk." In January 2017, Höcke drew heavy criticism for a speech in which he stated, in reference to the Berlin Holocaust Memorial, "Germans are the only people in the world who plant a monument of shame in the heart of the capital," and criticized the "laughable policy of coming to terms with the past." Höcke continued that Germany should make a "180 degree" turn with regard to its sense of national pride.
The party also describes German national identity as under threat both from European integration and from the presence and accommodation of immigrants and refugees within Germany; its anti-immigration message is often articulated in this way, especially with regard to Islam.
According to its interim electoral manifesto, the party is against same-sex marriage and favours civil unions. The party is also against adoption for same-sex couples. The left-leaning newspaper Die Tageszeitung described the group as advocating "old gender roles". Wolfgang Gedeon, an elected AfD representative, has included feminism, along with "sexualism" and "migrationism", in an ideology he calls "green communism" that he opposes, and argues for family values as part of German identity. As AfD has campaigned for traditional roles for women, it has aligned itself with groups opposed to modern feminism. The youth wing of the party has used social media to campaign against aspects of modern feminism, with the support of party leadership.
The party has a platform of climate change scepticism, and therefore criticizes the energy transformation policies (Energiewende) that have promoted renewable energy. The party wants to restrict "uncontrolled expansion of wind energy", for instance.
In foreign policy, as of 2015 the party platform was pro-NATO, pro-United States and largely pro-Israel, but the party was significantly divided on whether to support Russia, and had opposed sanctions on Russia supported by NATO and the United States. It is also divided on free-trade agreements.
AfD supported the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Beatrix von Storch, the party’s deputy spokesperson, said: "As long as the Germany provides Islamic regimes such as Turkey or Saudi Arabia with arms, there is no reason why Israel, as a pro-Western, democratic state should be excluded from arms deals."
Because the 2013 federal election was the first attempt to join by the party, the AfD had not received any federal funds in the run-up to it, but after receiving 2 million votes it crossed the threshold for party funding and was expected to receive an estimated 1.3 to 1.5 million Euros per year of state subsidies. After joining the parliament after the election of 2017 with more than 90 representatives, the party received more than 70 million Euros per year. This will probably rise to more than 100 million Euros per year from 2019 onward. Further, the party has established and acknowledged a foundation for political education, and other purposes, close to the party but organized separately, which may be able to claim up to 80 million Euro per year. This foundation would be need to be acknowledged by the federal parliament in Germany first, but it generally has a legal claim to these subsidies.
In February 2016, the AfD announced a closer cooperation with the right-wing populist party Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), which is a member of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group. On 8 March 2016, the bureau of the ECR Group began motions to exclude AfD MEPs from their group due to the party's links with the far-right FPÖ and controversial remarks by two party leader, about shooting immigrants. MEP Beatrix von Storch pre-empted her imminent expulsion by leaving the ECR group to join the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group on 8 April, and Marcus Pretzell was expelled from the ECR group on 12 April 2016. During the AfD party convention on 30 April 2016, Pretzell announced his intention to join the Europe of Nations and Freedom group.
At the outset AfD presented itself as conservative and middle-class, catering to a well-educated demographic; around two-thirds of supporters listed on its website in the early days held doctorates, leading to AfD being nicknamed the "professors' party" in those early days. The party was described as professors and academics who dislike the compromises inflicted on their purist theories by German party politics. 86% of the party's initial supporters were male.
Outside the Berlin hotel where the party held its inaugural meeting, it has been alleged that copies of Junge Freiheit, a weekly that is also popular with the far-right were being handed out. The Rheinische Post pointed out that some AfD members and supporters write for the conservative paper Junge Freiheit. There was also a protest outside the venue of the party’s inaugural meeting by Andreas Storr, a National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) representative in the Landtag of Saxony, as the NPD sees the AfD as a rival for Eurosceptic votes.
In 2013 Alternative for Germany party organisers sent out the message that they are not trying to attract right-wing radicals, and toned down rhetoric on their Facebook page following media allegations that it too closely evoked the language of the far-right. At that time the AfD checked applicants for membership to exclude far-right and former NPD members who support the anti-Euro policy (as other mainstream German political parties do). The former party chairman Bernd Lucke initially defended the choice of words, citing freedom of opinion, and a right to use "strong words", meanwhile he has also said that "The applause is coming from the wrong side" in regards to praise his party gained from the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD).
A 2013 investigation conducted by the internet social analytic company Linkfluence showed little to no similarities in Facebook likes of AfD followers and those of the NPD supporter base. AfD members interests tended towards euroscepticism and direct democracy, while NPD supporters showed interests in anti-Islamification, right-wing rock bands and the German military. An evaluation between the hyperlinks included on AFD local party websites also showed few similarities, with the company's German chief-executive stating "The AfD supporter base and the right-wing extremist scene are digitally very far removed from one another". The analysis did point to AfD members favouring links with right-wing populist reactionary conservative content. The AfD's desire to break consensus-based politics and oppose political correctness as undermining freedom of speech, does lend it kudos as a legitimate mouthpiece for right-wing populism among some of the party membership and on regional AfD websites, which contrasts with the intellectual character of the party hierarchy.
In August 2013, political activists from far-left anti-fascist anarchists to the mainstream Green Party accusing it of pandering to xenophobic and nationalistic sentiments. This ultimately led to the AfD complaining over incidents of verbal abuse and violence to its campaigners in Berlin, Lübeck, Nuremberg and the university city of Göttingen. Incidents in Göttingen flared after a party conference on 1 August, with police intervening later in the month in an attempted garage arson attack (in which there was said to be a car filled with AfD campaign literature) and to break up a dispute between the AfD and members of the Green Youth. Party leader Bernd Lucke described the events as a "slap in the face for every person who supports democracy" with the party in Lower Saxony left questioning whether to abandon their campaign in the state as local pub and restaurant owners denied the party access to their venues fearing for their businesses.
On 24 August 2013, Lucke and 16 other party members were reported to have been attacked in Bremen by opponents who used pepper spray and pushed Lucke from the stage. Initial reports by party officials and the police suggested that they were left-wing extremists and that about eight out of 20–25 attackers had succeeded in getting onto the stage. It was reported that a campaign worker had been cut with a knife. Later the police indicated that the number of people was probably around 10, of whom only two were known to have gained access to the stage, that only one of the opponents was known to be a left wing activist, and that the minor cut sustained by a campaign worker was probably not caused by a knife and was incurred later when attempting to apprehend a fleeing attacker.
Following the German Federal Election 2013 the anti-Islam party Die Freiheit unilaterally pledged to support Alternative for Germany in the 2014 elections and concentrate its efforts on local elections only. Bernd Lucke responded by saying the recommendation was unwelcome and sent a letter to party associations recommending a hiring freeze. Earlier in September, Lucke described the Freedom Party members as coming from two camps, one of extreme Islam critics and populists, the other, ordinary democrats who were joining the AfD. Co-operation with the Freedom Party remains controversial within the ranks of the AfD, with some German state associations conducting vetting interviews with former Freedom Party members. Referring to an initiative for an LGBT specific sex education in elementary school, Petry had asked on her social media presence if homophobia was such a common prejudice among third and fourth grade children, that it would be necessary to confront them with it. An article in the German LGBT magazine Queer interpreted her statement as a demand to protect ″normal" (allegedly referring to heterosexual) families in elementary school.
In November 2015, a leading Berlin theatre, the Schaubühne, was brought into legal conflict with members of the AfD over a piece, Falk Richter's FEAR, that parodied them as zombies and mass murderers. AfD vice-president Beatrix von Storch is depicted facing retribution for her maternal grandfather's role as a minister in Hitler's government. AfD Spokesperson, Christian Lüth, responded by interrupting a performance and filming it. Beatrix von Storch, and Conservative spokesperson Hedwig von Beverfoerde, then requested and obtained a preliminary injunction against the theatre, prohibiting it from using images of them in the production. They charged that the images' use violated their human dignity protected under the Constitution. On 15 December 2015, the court ruled against the complainants in favour of the theatre's freedom of expression and lifted the injunctions against using the images. The judges commented that 'any audience member can recognize that this is just a play'.
In November 2015 Markus Pretzell said that German borders should be defended "with armed force as a measure of last resort," and in January 2016, Frauke Petry twice said similar things. Petry told the regional newspaper Mannheimer Morgen in an interview, but she later denied this and claimed that the press lied about her statement. Rhein-Zeitung has offered the audio-recording of the interview in which she advocates firing on refugees.
Stern reports that among 396 AfD candidates for the 2017 Bundestag, 47 candidates have not distanced themselves from right-wing extremism. Although a large proportion of the candidates are not openly racist, some relativize Germany's role in World War II or call for the recognition of a "Cult of Guilt". 30 candidates tolerate right-wing friends in their profile or are themselves members of groups associated with such people. Others mourn the German Reich or use their symbols.
In response to the Pegida movement and demonstrations, members of AfD have expressed different views, with Lucke describing the movement as "a sign that these people do not feel their concerns are understood by politicians". In response to the CDU Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière alleging an "overlap" between Pegida rallies and the AfD, Alexander Gauland stated that the AfD are "natural allies of this movement". However, Hans-Olaf Henkel asked members of the party not to join the demonstrations, telling Der Tagesspiegel that he believed it could not be ruled out that they had "xenophobic or even racist connotations". A straw poll by The Economist found that nine out of ten Pegida protesters would back the AfD.
In May 2018, the statue of the founding father of communism Karl Marx, donated by the Chinese government, was unveiled in Karl Marx's hometown of Trier, Germany. AfD leader Alexander Gauland said the city should not be accepting the statue because it disrespects victims of communism. AfD staged a silent march to remember the victims of communist regimes.
Björn Höcke, one of the founders of AfD, gave a speech in Dresden in January 2017, in which, referring to the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, he stated that "we Germans are the only people in the world who have planted a memorial of shame in the heart of their capital" and suggested that Germans "need to make a 180 degree change in their politics of commemoration."
The speech was widely criticized as antisemitic, among others by Jewish leaders in Germany. Within the AfD, he was described by his party chairwoman, Frauke Petry, as a "burden to the party" while other members of the party, such as Alexander Gauland, said that they found no anti-semitism in the speech.
As a result of his speech, the leaders of the AfD have asked in February 2017 that Björn Höcke be expelled from the party. The arbitration committee of the AfD in Thuringia is set to rule on the leaders' request. As of August 2017, Höcke remains "a part of the soul of the AfD".
The Young Alternative for Germany (German: Junge Alternative für Deutschland or JA), was founded in 2013 as the youth organisation of the AfD, while remaining legally independent from its mother party.
In view of the JA's independence it has been regarded by some in the AfD hierarchy as being somewhat wayward, with the JA repeatedly accused of being "too far-right", politically regressive and antifeminist by the German mainstream media.
party list votes
0 / 631
94 / 709
|Election year||Votes||% of vote||Rank||Seats won||+/–|
7 / 96
|State election, year||Votes||% of
14 / 126
11 / 91
11 / 88
8 / 121
5 / 83
23 / 143
14 / 101
25 / 87
18 / 71
25 / 160
3 / 51
5 / 73
|North Rhine-Westphalia, 2017||624,552||7.4||#4||
16 / 199
|Lower Saxony, 2017||235,840||6.2||#5||
9 / 137
22 / 200
19 / 110
...rally in Hanover against anti-Islam AfD party
Nowadays, the AfD is mainly known for its anti-immigration (namely, anti-Islamic)
"Sunday’s election in Germany is expected to bring big gains for the hard-right, anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD) party,
The AfD’s founder Bernd Lucke, an economics professor, left the party last summer, condemning rising xenophobia.
Let's take the slightly controversial side about what the AfD wants to do about culture and immigration, which has been vastly misrepresented by their opponents, then everything else is small government, direct democracy, low regulation and low taxes, support for the family...
Is it far-right? Yes.
the Alternative for Germany, the first far-right party to enter Parliament in decades
the AfD is an anti-establishment party that harnesses xenophobia and popular discontent about what it labels unaccountable political and media elites.
Bernd Lucke, the AfD's first leader, resigned in 2015, citing concerns the party had become "Islamophobic and xenophobic".
Lucke told Reuters at the time that he was leaving amid rising xenophobia and Islamophobia in the party,
"Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland ist in der schwersten Krise ihrer Geschichte. Das Euro-Währungsgebiet hat sich als ungeeignet erwiesen. Südeuropäische Staaten verarmen unter dem Wettbewerbsdruck des Euro. Ganze Staaten stehen am Rande der Zahlungsunfähigkeit." [The Federal Republic of Germany is in the gravest crisis of its history. The euro currency area has shown itself to be unfit for purpose. Countries in southern Europe are sinking into poverty under the competitive pressure of the euro. Whole countries are on the brink of bankruptcy.]
The three-year-old Alternative for Germany, or AfD, won 21 to 22 percent of votes in the election for the state legislature in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, according to projections for ARD and ZDF television based on exit polls and partial counting. They put support for Merkel's Christian Democrats between 19 and 20 percent, their worst result yet in the state.
"Scientific research on the long-term development of the climate because of man-made CO2 emissions is fraught with uncertainty
Likewise, the AfD professes its desire to maintain an intimate security relationship with the US, stating NATO is and remains the bond of a transatlantic security architecture, whose crucial anchor is the alliance with the USA.”38 However, it also expresses a need for a closer relationship with Russia to resolve problems in Eastern Europe. However, a resolution passed that calls for an end to European sanctions imposed on Russia, and to abstain from further measures designed to bind Ukraine and EU or Ukraine and Russia closer together, has led some to charge the party with anti-Americanism.39 The debate about a more pro-American or pro-Russian course appears to divide the AfD deeply, and opinions differ significantly among even the party leadership, as a Die Welt article reports.
Federal elections were held in Germany on 24 September 2017 to elect the members of the 19th Bundestag. At stake were all 598 seats in the Bundestag, as well as 111 overhang and levelling seats determined thereafter.
The Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, won the highest percentage of the vote with 33%, though suffered a large swing against it of more than 8%. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) achieved its worst result since the Second World War with only 20% of the vote. Alternative for Germany (AfD)—which was previously unrepresented in the Bundestag—became the third party in the Bundestag with 12.6% of the vote, whilst the Free Democrats (FDP) won 10.7% of the vote and returned to the Bundestag after losing all their seats in the 2013 election. The other parties to achieve representation in the Bundestag were the Left and the Greens, who each won close to 9% of the vote. In the 709 member Bundestag, the CDU/CSU won 246 seats (200 CDU and 46 CSU), SPD 153, AfD 94, FDP 80, the Left (Linke) 69, and the Greens 67. A majority is 355.
For the second consecutive occasion, the CDU/CSU reached a coalition agreement with the SPD to form a grand coalition, the fourth in post-war German history. The new government took office on 14 March 2018. The agreement came after a failed attempt by the CDU/CSU to enter into a "Jamaica coalition" with the Greens and the Free Democrats, which the latter pulled out of citing irreconcilable differences between the parties on migration and energy policy.2017 German presidential election
The 2017 German presidential election (officially the 16th Federal Convention) was held on 12 February 2017 to elect the 12th President of Germany. Incumbent President Joachim Gauck announced on 6 June 2016 that he would not stand for re-election, citing his advancing age.The President is elected by the Federal Convention, an electoral body that consists of all members of the current Bundestag and an equal number of electors, who are elected by the sixteen state parliaments. Frank-Walter Steinmeier of the Social Democratic Party was chosen as the single candidate of the ruling coalition in November 2016 and, with the Christian Democratic Union choosing not to field a candidate against him, his election was seen as guaranteed. Steinmeier was elected on the first ballot, and took office on 19 March 2017.2019 European Parliament election in Germany
The 2019 European Parliament election in Germany will be held on 26 May 2019, electing members of the national Germany constituency to the European Parliament.
It will be the first election to be held nationally since the 2017 federal election, in which Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition between the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats declined heavily in popularity, with the eurosceptic right-wing Alternative for Germany making significant gains and coming third. In 2018, the left leaning Greens and the AFD made large gains in regional elections in Bavaria and Hesse, whilst the traditional centre-left Social Democratic Party sustained heavy losses. The European election is therefore a major electoral test for the ruling coalition.Alexander Gauland
Alexander Eberhardt Gauland (born 20 February 1941) is a German politician, journalist and lawyer who has served as leader of the German political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Bundestag since September 2017 and co-leader of the party since December 2017. He has been a Member of the Bundestag (MdB) since September 2017. Gauland was the party's co-founder and is its federal spokesman and the party leader for the state of Brandenburg.Alice Weidel
Alice Elisabeth Weidel (born 6 February 1979) is a German politician and the Leader of Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Bundestag since October 2017. She has been a member of the Bundestag (MdB) since the 2017 federal election during which she was the AfD's lead candidate together with Alexander Gauland.Alternative for Sweden
Alternative for Sweden (Swedish: Alternativ för Sverige) is a far-right political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 2017 by members of the Sweden Democrat Youth, who were collectively expelled from the Sweden Democrats in 2015. It advocates repatriation of immigrants, non-interventionism, Swedish withdrawal from the European Union, a flat tax system, opposition to NATO, and improved animal rights, among other things. It is led by Gustav Kasselstrand and, according to him, draws inspiration from Alternative for Germany, the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) and the French National Rally. AfS ran in the Swedish general election in 2018, but failed to enter the Parliament, as it received 0.31% of the votes.Beatrix von Storch
Beatrix Amelie Ehrengard Eilika von Storch (born Beatrix Amelie Ehrengard Eilika Herzogin von Oldenburg; 27 May 1971) is a German politician who has served as Deputy Leader of the Alternative for Germany since July 2015 and Member of the Bundestag since September 2017. She previously served as Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany. She belongs ancestrally to the royal House of Oldenburg which reigned over the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg until 1918.Bernd Lucke
Bernd Lucke (born 19 August 1962) is a German economist and politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany. He is a member of the Liberal Conservative Reformers, part of the European Conservatives and Reformists.
He is a professor of macroeconomics at the University of Hamburg, a co-founder of "Wahlalternative 2013" (translated: "Electoral Alternative 2013"), and a founding member of the Alternative for Germany. Lucke lost out on the leadership of the AfD against Frauke Petry in July 2015, which was considered a shift of the party to extremist positions; he subsequently left the party. In July 2015 he and other former AfD members founded the political party Liberal-Konservative Reformer (formerly ALFA).Björn Höcke
Björn Höcke (born 1 April 1972) is a German politician for the political party Alternative for Germany (AfD).Frauke Petry
Frauke Petry (German: [ˈfʁaʊkə ˈpeːtʁiː]; née Marquardt; born 1 June 1975), a German politician, chaired the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party from 4 July 2015 to 29 September 2017. Most political scientists described Petry as a representative of the national conservative wing of that party.Petry had formerly served as one of three party spokespersons from 2013 to 2015, and became leader in 2015, displacing the party's founder Bernd Lucke after an internal power struggle; Lucke subsequently left the party and said it has "fallen irretrievably into the wrong hands" after Petry's election. Petry is noted for her anti-Islam views, for her calls to ban minarets, and for arguing that German police should "use firearms if necessary" to prevent illegal border-crossings. She is a chemist by training and has a professional background as a businesswoman.Hans-Olaf Henkel
Hans-Olaf Henkel (born 14 March 1940) is a German politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany. He is part of the European Conservatives and Reformists and was a former member of AfD and of the Liberal Conservative Reformers.Jörg Meuthen
Jörg Hubert Meuthen (German: [ˈjœəg ˈmɔʏtn̩]; born 29 June 1961) is a German economist and politician serving as Federal spokesman for Alternative for Germany (AfD) since July 2015. He is professor for political economy and finance at the Academy of Kehl. He was frontrunner for the AfD at the Baden-Württemberg state election, 2016 and is since March 2016 a Member of Parliament and parliamentary leader.Liberal Conservative Reformers
The Liberal Conservative Reformers (German: Liberal-Konservative Reformer, LKR) is a centre-right political party in Germany which was known from July 2015 to November 2016 as ALFA.
The party was established in July 2015 as a split from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) led by former AfD spokesman Bernd Lucke. It was founded as the Alliance for Progress and Renewal (Allianz für Fortschritt und Aufbruch, ALFA), but changed its name in November 2016 after litigation with the pro-life movement "Aktion Lebensrecht für Alle" (Action Right to Live for Everybody) which uses the same abbreviation (Alfa).The party is represented by five MEPs in the European Parliament (as members of the European Conservatives and Reformists group) and three members of the Bürgerschaft of Bremen due to their formal withdrawal from the AfD.List of political parties in Germany
This is a list of political parties in Germany.
The Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Bundestag, has a plural multi-party system, with two major parties, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), with its sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) in the same parliamentary group, also known as CDU/CSU or the Union.
Germany also has a number of minor parties, in recent history most importantly the Free Democratic Party (FDP), Alliance 90/The Greens, The Left, and more recently the Alternative for Germany (AfD), founded in 2013. The federal government of Germany often consisted of a coalition of a major and a minor party, specifically CDU/CSU and FDP or SPD and FDP, and from 1998 to 2005 SPD and Greens. From 1966 to 1969, from 2005 to 2009 and again since 2013, the federal government consisted of a coalition of the two major parties, called Grand Coalition.
Coalitions in the Bundestag and state legislators are often described by party colors. Party colors are red for the Social Democratic Party, green for Alliance 90/The Greens, yellow for the Free Democratic Party, purple (officially red, which is customarily used for the SPD) for the Left, light blue for the AfD, and black and blue for the CDU and CSU respectively.Marcus Pretzell
Marcus Pretzell (born 16 July 1973) is a German politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany. He was a member of the Alternative for Germany, part of the Europe of Nations and Freedom.In April 2016, Pretzell attracted controversy and criticism after stating that he supported "The defence of the German border with armed force" against asylum seekers. As a result, on 12 April 2016, he was expelled from the European Conservatives and Reformists group. Following this, he joined Marine Le Pen's Europe of Nations and Freedom faction.During a speech at an AfD party convention in Essen, 4–5 July 2015, he said, "We had the discussion about whether we were the Euro party or the Pegida party. We are both."The Blue Party (Germany)
The Blue Party (German: Die blaue Partei) is a national-conservative political party in Germany that was founded on the initiative of the former leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Frauke Petry, after she left the party following the 2017 federal election. The party presents itself as more moderate than the AfD, and aims to attract social conservatives, right-wing liberals and former AfD members to join the party. As of 22 October 2017, the party has one member in the Bundestag, one in the state parliament of Saxony and four members in the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia. The party is officially chaired by Michael Muster.Wilhelm von Gottberg
Wilhelm von Gottberg (born 30 March 1940) is a German politician of the Alternative for Germany.Gottberg was born in Woopen in Landkreis Bartenstein (now Kaliningrad Oblast), East Prussia. His family fled from East Prussia during World War II.Gottberg is president of the Territorial Association of East Prussia (since 1992) and Vice President of the Federation of Expellees (since 1992) in Germany. He is also a member of the board of the Ostpreußische Kulturstiftung, and was mayor of the community of Schnega in Lower Saxony. Gottberg used to be a member of the Christian Democratic Union, but joined the Alternative for Germany in 2016.Young Alternative for Germany
The Young Alternative for Germany (German: Junge Alternative für Deutschland or JA) is a youth organisation in Germany. Founded on 15 June 2013 in Darmstadt, and open to people aged 14 to 35 years, it presents itself as the youth wing of Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, but remains legally independent.Since 2019 the German national intelligent service Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) classified JA as “Prüffall“, which means, the agency is monitoring the public activities of JA.
In view of the JA's independence it has been regarded by the AfD hierarchy as being somewhat wayward, with the JA repeatedly accused of being "too far right," politically regressive and anti-feminist among the German media.
In March 2014, The Junge Alternative hosted Nigel Farage who had been invited to address the party's North Rhine-Westphalia organisation in Cologne. The invitation is alleged to have caused some trouble within the AfD itself over the youth wing’s unauthorised invitation of Farage, with the regional association and the youth wing wanting to stress their independence. The invitation was contrary to a decision of the AfD National Executive whose policy is that official contact with foreign parties is decided only by the federal executive. Nigel Farage's presence apparently led to a deterioration in relations with Bernd Lucke, the AfD leader, who called the move a "sign of poor political tact."The JA launched an anti-feminist campaign entitled "Gleichberechtigung statt Gleichmacherei" (variously translated as "equal rights, not levelling down" or "equality instead of uniformity") on Facebook in response to the young Social Democrats, who posted photos supportive of feminism to mark International Women's Day. The Facebook page of JA describes feminism as a "left-wing ideology", and asks people to post reasons to reject it. With the JA also citing opposition to gender quota proposals in Germany for women as a motivation. Sections of the German media also labelled election campaign material of the JA which showed attractive women in swimwear under the slogan "equality instead of uniformity" as in bad taste. The JA followed with a poster of four shirtless men under the slogan "end soft justice".In May 2014 The JA is said to have further irritated AfD bosses with a statement they released on Facebook advocating vigilante action against crime.