Destinations Magazine

The Alternative for Germany Decides to Remain a Protest Party

By Stizzard

HISTORY has a way of repeating itself. In 2013 a group of anti-euro intellectuals led by Bernd Lucke, an economist, formed the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. Two years later he was ousted by Frauke Petry, an erstwhile ally, who led the party to a series of sensational results in state elections by angrily opposing Angela Merkel's refugee policies. But in recent months, as the refugee crisis has moved off the headlines, the AfD's poll numbers have slumped into single digits. On April 22nd it was Ms Petry's turn to be shunted aside, at the party's conference in Cologne. Her nemesis: Alexander Gauland, a traditionalist with the grand air of a British aristocrat, who had helped her defenestrate the moderate Mr Lucke.

This was more complicated than a rightward lurch. Three groups have dominated the AfD since Mr Lucke's fall, each led by two main figures. The events of Cologne saw control of the party shift decisively within this sextet.

One could call the first group the Power-Seekers: Ms Petry and Marcus Pretzell, her husband and one of the AfD's members of the European Parliament. Impressed by Marine Le Pen, France's nationalist presidential candidate, they want to combine shrill politics (Ms Petry has said border guards should use arms against illegal immigrants) with a sharper, more disciplined image, a rejection of overt racism and...

The Economist: Europe
The Alternative for Germany decides to remain a protest party

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