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German far-right AfD co-chief quits after election disappointment

The co-chief of Germany's far-right AfD Jörg Meuthen said on Monday that he would not seek to continue as head of the eurosceptic and islamophobic party.

Jörg Meuthen (left) with AfD co-leader Tino Chrupalla and AfD parliamentary leader Alice Weidel after a press conference in Berlin after the election.
Jörg Meuthen (left) with AfD co-leader Tino Chrupalla and AfD parliamentary leader Alice Weidel after a press conference in Berlin after the election. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd von Jutrczenka

After six and a half “incredibly challenging” but also “enriching” years, Meuthen said in a statement that he would “no longer bear the role of federal spokesman” for the party.

Formed in 2013, the AfD first won seats in the German parliament in 2017 but lost ground in elections at the end of September this year.

Despite topping the poll in two former east German states, the party received around 10 percent of the vote nationally, down two percentage points on its previous result.

Meuthen, a member of the European Parliament since 2017, said he would continue his “political work” against “the course set by established parties in Germany and Brussels”.

READ ALSO: Germany’s far right AfD chooses hardline team ahead of national elections 

Victory for radical wing

Known as a more moderate figure within the party, Meuthen has been under attack from the more radical members of the AfD.

During a party congress in April, a group of delegates attempted to remove Meuthen from his role as co-party leader.

Meuthen sought in 2020 to dissolve the so-called “Wing”, the most extreme strain within the party, ejecting one of its principal figures, Andreas Kalbitz.

The anti-Islam, hard-right AfD has often courted controversy by calling for Germany to stop atoning for its World War II crimes.

One of its co-chiefs, Alexander Gauland, once described the Nazi era as just “a speck of bird poo” on German history.

READ ALSO: ‘Yes to Dexit’: Far-right AfD firms up election strategy

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TRAVEL NEWS

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

It's official - people in Germany will get cheap public transport for three months this summer after the €9 ticket was approved.

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

As part of a host of energy relief measures to cushion the cost of living crisis, the German government is offering cheap public transport for the months of June, July and August. 

Monthly tickets will be available at a price of €9 (or €27 for all three months) and they will allow people to use all buses, trains and trams in local and regional transport throughout the country.

So even if people buy the ticket in Munich, they will also be able to use local and regional buses, trains and trams elsewhere in Germany, whether it’s Hamburg or Cologne. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

The ticket will not be valid, however, on long-distance transport such as ICE trains or Flixbus.

The offer was put together by the coalition government – made of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the FDP.

The Bundestag voted for the initiative on Thursday, agreeing to give federal states a subsidy of €2.5 billion to fund the project. 

And on Friday, the Bundesrat – the upper house of parliament that represents the states – gave the green light to the ticket, paving the way for it to begin on June 1st. 

States had wanted an extra €1.5 billion funding boost to deal with lost revenue, however it would have been hugely controversial if they had blocked it.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

During a debate on Thursday, federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said the €9 project was “already a success”.

“All of Germany is talking about local public transport,” he said, adding that it is also being viewed with interest abroad. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 ticket

The Left party (Die Linke) voted in favour of the €9 ticket, but leader Bernd Riexinger said he thought the plan didn’t go far enough. “Three months is simply too little,” he said.

The opposition, however, slammed the move. Christian Democrat Michael Donth called it an “expensive experiment”.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn will offer the ticket for sale as early as Monday. Local public transport providers across the country are also preparing their ticket machines for the initiative. It will also be available in travel centres.

People with subscriptions to local transport will automatically benefit from the offer. 

In some regions, such as Stuttgart and Freiburg, the ticket is already available for purchase.

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin

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