Alternative for Germany

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Logo.
Konrad Adam (left), Frauke Petry (center) and Bernd Lucke (right).
Results from the 2017 election. Darker areas indicate stronger support.

Alternative for Germany (German: Alternative für Deutschland, shortened AfD) is a German right-wing political party.

In the 2017 federal election, the party won 94 seats after receiving 12.6% of the national vote.[1]

History[change | change source]

In 2012, Alexander Gauland, Bernd Lucke and Konrad Adam formed the Electoral Alternative 2013. It was critical of Germany's policy toward the eurozone crisis. Some candidates who were part of the Electoral Alternative 2013 ran for election in Lower Saxony in alliance with the Free Voters.[2] They then decided to form a party to compete in the 2013 federal election. The group wanted to abolish the euro, so the Free Voters refused to join forces.[3]

The AfD's first supporters were economists, business leaders, journalists and former members of the Christian Democratic Union who were critical of the eurozone.[4]

The AfD held their first convention on 14 April 2013. Members elected Bernd Lucke, Frauke Petry and Konrad Adam as speakers.[5]

In the 2013 federal election, the party received 4.6% of the national vote with more than 2 million votes. The party did not win any seats.[6]

Before the 2014 European Parliament election, the AfD held a conference on 25 January 2014 in Bavaria. They chose the slogan, Mut zu Deutschland ("Courage [to stand up] for Germany"). In February 2014, some AfD officials wanted to join an alliance with the hard eurosceptic party, UKIP. However, Bernd Lucke and other officials and election candidates wanted to instead join an alliance with the British Conservative Party.[7] In the European elections, the AfD won 7 seats in the European Parliament, and joined the European Conservatives and Reformists.

On 4 July 2015, Frauke Petry was elected as the principal speaker of the party.[8] She was a member of the national conservate faction within the party.[9] Her election is seen as a shift of the party further to the right wing, as the party now began to focus on Islam and immigration. Lucke believed the party was turing into the "PEGIDA party."[10] He left the party a few days later, citing the rise of xenophobia within the party.[11] On 19 July 2015, Lucke formed the Alliance for Progress and Renewal (ALFA).[12]

In February 2016, AfD announced an alliance with the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ).[13] On 8 March 2016, the European Conservatives and Reformists decided they will begin to exclude the AfD from their groups due to their links to the far-right FPÖ.[14]

In 2016, the party won seats in the Berlin, Baden-Württemberg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt Landtags.

At the AfD party conference held on 30 April to 1 May 2016, the party called for a ban on burkhas, minarets and the call to prayer, using the slogan "Islam is not a part of Germany".[15][16]

Frauke Petry decided not to run as the party's main candidate in the 2017 federal election. This was a consequence of the internal power struggle within the party. The party chose Alexander Gauland, a strong conservative and former member of the CDU,[17] to lead the party in the elections. Alice Weidel, who is seen as being more moderate, was elected as his running mate.[18] The party's platform was mainly to close the borders to asylum seekers, end sanctions on Russia and leave the European Union if Germany's national sovereignty isn't restored.[18] After the election, the party received 5.8 million votes, winning 94 seats in the Bundestag.[19] This is the first time the party has held seats in the Bundestag.

A day after the successful 2017 federal election, Frauke Petry left the party. She did this as a response to extremist comments made by some members in the AfD. She would later join the The Blue Party, which is another right-wing conservative party.[20]

Beliefs[change | change source]

The AfD's ideology is described as populist,[21] conservative and anti-immigration.[22] The party is against same-sex marriage and has a platform of climate change denial.[23][24] The party has also aligned itself with groups that are against modern feminism.[25]

Alternative for Germany is eurosceptic and critical about the influx of foreigners in Germany.[26]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Alternative for Germany: Who Are They, and What Do They Want?". The New York Times. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  2. Frymark, Kamil (10 April 2013). "German Euro-sceptics to establish a political party". CeWeekly: The Centre for Eastern Studies (Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich). Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  3. Pop, Valentina (12 March 2013). "New anti-euro party forms in Germany". EUobserver. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  4. Matthew Boesler, "A small band of German professors is the hottest new threat to the future of the Euro," Business Insider (4 March 2013).
  5. Jahn, Joachim (14 April 2013). "Aufstand gegen Merkels 'alternativlose Politik'". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German).
  6. "German Euroskeptic Party AFD Could Unravel After Election – SPIEGEL ONLINE". Der Spiegel. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  7. Waterfield, Bruno (24 April 2014). "EU elections: German Eurosceptics snub 'ridiculous' Ukip". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  8. "Germany's Far-Right Populists Have an Infighting Problem". The Atlantic. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  9. "Germany's euroskeptic AfD elects conservative leader Petry". Deutsche Welle. 4 July 2015.
  10. Schneider, Jens (6 July 2015). "Lucke und der Auszug der Gemäßigten". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  11. Barkin, Noah (8 July 2015). "German AfD founder leaves party decrying xenophobic shift". Reuters. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  12. "Ousted chief of Germany's euroskeptic AfD sets up new political party". Deutsche Welle. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  13. Deutsche AfD und FPÖ beschließen Zusammenarbeit (in German). Der Standard. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  14. Crisp, James. "AfD links to Austrian far-right 'final straw' for ECR MEPs –". Euractiv.com. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  15. Ruth Bender (1 May 2016). "Germany's AfD Adopts Anti-Islam Stance at Party Conference". The Wall Street Journal.
  16. "Germany's AfD party adopts anti-Islamic manifesto". Financial Times.
  17. Wehner, Markus. "AfD-Vizechef im Porträt - Die drei Leben des Alexander Gauland". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German).
  18. 18.0 18.1 Troianovski, Anton (23 April 2017). "Head of Germany's Upstart Anti-Immigrant Party Pushed Aside". The Wall Street Journal.
  19. "Bundestagswahl am 24. September 2017". Wahlrecht.de (in German). Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  20. "Ex-AfD chief Frauke Petry unveils new conservative 'Blue party'". Deutsche Welle. 13 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  21. "Germany's populist AfD: from anti-euro to anti-migrant". France 24. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  22. "German election: Why this vote matters". BBC News. 2017-09-15. Retrieved 2017-09-20.[better source needed]
  23. Wayne C. Thompson, ed. (2015). Nordic, Central, and Southeastern Europe 2015–2016. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 246. ISBN 978-1-4758-1883-3.
  24. Knight, Ben (7 March 2016). "What does the AfD stand for?". Deutsche Welle. "Scientific research on the long-term development of the climate because of man-made CO2 emissions is fraught with uncertainty
  25. Kemper, Andraes (March 2014) "Keimzelle der Nation? Familien- und geschlechter-politische Positionen der AfD – eine Expertise" (Germ cell of the nation? Family and gender political positions of the AfD - an expertise) Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Forum Politik und Gesellschaft
  26. "Parties and Election in Europe". 2014.

Other websites[change | change source]