Long-standing party leader: Meuthen leaves the AfD



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Status: 01/28/2022 1:45 p.m

Jörg Meuthen has left the AfD and thus resigned his party chairmanship with immediate effect. He confirmed that to WDR, Ed and the ARD-Capital Studio.

By Sebastian Pittelkow NDR, Katja Riedel, WDR, and Martin Schmidt, ARD Capital Studio

Jörg Meuthen has resigned from the AfD presidency and left the party. He spoke of a defeat in the power struggle with the formally dissolved right-wing extremist wing for the alignment of the AfD. Meuthen also linked his resignation with harsh criticism of the state of his party: “The heart of the party today beats very far to the right and it actually beats high all the time.”

Meuthen said that he had failed as party leader with his commitment to a different path. In his opinion, parts of the party “are not based on the free democratic basic order,” he said. “I clearly see totalitarian echoes there.” The AfD has developed something akin to a sect, especially when it comes to corona policy. At best, he sees a future for the AfD as an East German regional party.

Meuthen retains MP mandate

Meuthen wants to keep his mandate as a member of the European Parliament in the right-wing populist group “Identity and Democracy”. The 60-year-old wants to remain politically active in the future. He is already in talks. When asked, he would not say who he was talking to. This will be cleared up shortly.

Meuthen has been under political pressure since Thursday: his immunity is to be lifted due to investigations into his donation affair. In an interview with WDR, NDR and the ARD-Hauptstadtstudio, he denied that there was a connection to this procedure, that his decision had been made a long time ago and was the result of a longer process.

“National Socialist Loans” at Höcke

Meuthen had already announced in autumn that he would no longer run for party chairmanship in the AfD. Observers have already seen this as a defeat in the power struggle against the wing representatives and his adversaries on the party executive, above all his co-chairman Tino Chrupalla and party deputy Alice Weidel. “Not to forget Chrupalla, Weidel, Gauland, Höcke, Brandner, they’ll be really happy that Meuthen is finally gone. They’ve been working on it for a long time,” said Meuthen in an interview. Referring to the Thuringian state chief Björn Höcke, he clearly sees repeated “National Socialist borrowings”, which Höcke has always denied.

Meuthen joined the AfD in 2013 and became federal spokesman in the summer of 2015 after the departure of party co-founder Bernd Lucke. First he led the AfD alongside Frauke Petry, then with Alexander Gauland and finally with Tino Chrupalla. In order to secure power, Meuthen used to use the wing again and again. Two years ago, however, he had begun to turn against the wing classified by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as right-wing extremists and its representatives.

Since 2019, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has been examining whether it should monitor the AfD as a whole as a suspected case of right-wing extremism. In March, the administrative court in Cologne negotiated several legal disputes between the party and the domestic secret service. It is also about the question of whether the authority may monitor the party and sub-organizations with intelligence resources.


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