DThe AfD will be led by Tino Chrupalla and Alice Weidel in the future. The party conference in Riesa, Saxony, elected the two, who are already equal chairmen of the parliamentary group, on Saturday to be the co-chairs of the party. Weidel is moving to the “Federal Spokesman” post, which had been vacant since Jörg Meuthen’s resignation at the beginning of the year; Chrupalla was confirmed in office.
A good 53 percent of the delegates voted for Chrupalla. Around 36 percent of the more than 500 delegates supported his challenger Norbert Kleinwächter, the deputy parliamentary group leader; ten percent voted against both candidates. The revolt against the party leader, which Chrupalla’s opponents within the party had instigated, has clearly failed. In addition, Chrupalla succeeded in getting his preferred candidate co-chaired. Chrupalla had nominated Weidel, who had not commented on a possible candidacy until the end, for the post in Riesa herself.
Chrupalla presented himself as “federal spokesman of the base”
In the voting, Weidel clearly prevailed over her challenger Nicolaus Fest with a good 67 percent. Just under 21 percent of the delegates voted for the EU parliamentarian, who had not previously held any prominent office in the party; almost twelve percent voted against both candidates.
In his application speech, Chrupalla had expressed himself combatively in the direction of his opponents and presented himself as a “federal spokesman for the base”. If he is attacked, it is only “because the base is to be silenced”. In the direction of those who are behind the failed revolt, he said: “This behavior destroys exactly what we are building at the information stand and in the parliaments.” The party leader appealed to the delegates: “Let’s put an end to these things here and now .”
Kleinwächter had also previously called for more unity from the party: “We will not save Germany by fighting the other camp, but by fighting the political opponent.” The member of the Bundestag presented himself as a candidate who did not belong to any camp. “Dear friends, I’m not a camp stallion,” Kleinwächter said in the direction of the delegates, but at the same time used the signal words that his supporters could understand to differentiate themselves from the radicals in the party: “The AfD is the bourgeois party, liberal and conservative.”
In her application speech, Weidel stated that the AfD was not a “discontinued model”, but the “future”. At the same time, she admitted that the AfD had seen better days. In order for the party to go up again, she asked the delegates not to question every position in terms of content or personnel. In addition, the party must stop “feeding the media with internal skirmishes”, appear united to the outside world and sell its successes better. “The AfD has helped to prevent the introduction of general vaccination requirements in the German Bundestag,” said Weidel. “That was us!”
Chrupalla has led the AfD since November 2019, initially alongside Meuthen and since his departure alone. Meuthen, who at the end of his term in office had sought open confrontation with the radical forces in the AfD, had resigned from office and left the AfD, citing “totalitarian echoes” in the party. By this time he had already completely fallen out with Chrupalla. Chrupalla will probably not have the same problems with Weidel as with Meuthen. As deputy federal chairwoman, she stood by Chrupalla’s side for important decisions that affected the formally dissolved, völkisch “wing”.