• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Leader warns AfD could become National Front

The Local · 19 May 2015, 18:06

Published: 19 May 2015 18:06 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 May 2015 18:06 GMT+02:00

Party founder and leader Bernd Lucke, along with three close allies, conceded to several German journalists on Tuesday that his party had the potential to develop into an anti-American, Islamophobic German version of the National Front, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

The extraordinary admission happened in Strasbourg where Lucke and party MEPs Hans-Olaf Henkel, Bernd Kölmel and Joachim Starbatty attempted to clear up confusion about their future in the party.

On Monday Lucke along with other economic liberals in the party announced the setting up of a group called 'Wakeup Call 2015'.

Many party members had expressed "their dissatisfaction with the perception of the AfD and at the direction which some of the party leaders are trying to take," the leaders said on the group's website, adding that "many are considering leaving the party or are calling for the founding of a new one."

The party leaders said that they, too, shared these concerns and had no desire to serve as a respectable veneer for extremist opinions.

But in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Lucke assured journalists that setting up Wakeup Call 2015 did not amount to a threat to leave the party, saying the opposite was true. He said he was making a call for moderates to stay in the fold and argued that Wakeup Call 2015 was needed to stop the party from turning into a home for the far right.

"It is an initiative to prevent mass flight from the party," he said. "The vast majority want the party to stick to the principals on which it was founded in 2013."

Drift to the right

An economist by profession, Lucke set up the AfD in 2013 as a protest against the euro, which he described as ill-fitted to the different cultures and economic priorities of the member states.

Last year was a breakthrough year for the party as they first won 7.1 percent of the vote in the European election before going on to considerable success in east German state elections, easily passing the 5 percent barrier for representation in the legislature on every occasion.

But the party's success in east Germany also led to the empowerment of a populist right-wing faction which has recently challenged Lucke for control of the party agenda.

Particularly contentious in recent weeks has been the refusal by the leaders of this faction to unconditionally condemn the National Democratic Party, widely viewed in Germany as being a neo-Nazi organisation.

Lucke's Wakeup Call has not gone down well with the leaders of this faction.

Alexander Gauland, the party head in Brandenburg, called it a "weapon of war" for the purpose of maintaining control within the party.

Story continues below…

Legal proceedings

Now the party head in Saxony, Frauke Petry has announced she is considering legal proceedings against the new group, reports the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Speaking at a press conference in Dresden, Petry said "the party doesn't need a wakeup call. I am confused at this new group that was not agreed upon with anyone in the party leadership."

She added that she doubted that the group was compatible with the party's constitution.

Threatening to take on Lucke for the party leadership at the party's June convention, Perty said "the AfD can exist without Mr Lucke in 2015."

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

German broadcaster sues Turkey over confiscated video
Akif Cagatay Kilic. Photo: DPA

German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Monday it had filed a civil complaint after a Turkish minister's office confiscated a taped video interview with him.

Germany's 'James Bond' goes on trial over tax evasion
Werner Mauss. Photo: DPA.

Germany's former top spy, Werner Mauss, went on trial on Monday accused of hiding millions of euros from authorities.

Germany holds first national 'mermaiding' championship
Photo: DPA

Ariel would be proud.

Gallery
15 pics that prove Germany is totally enchanting in autumn
The Max-Eyth-See in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

As summer fades into a distant memory and you start to begrudge trading Birkenstocks for boots, these pictures may help change your perspective on the new chill in the air.

Left politician who smuggled refugee could lose immunity
Diether Dehm. Photo: DPA.

Die Linke (Left Party) politician Diether Dehm could lose his immunity as an elected official after he admitted to smuggling a refugee into Germany.

Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record in Berlin marathon win
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,513
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd