According to the parliamentary group leader Alexander Gauland, the AfD faces an ordeal because of the conflict over Andreas Kalbitz. “I can’t keep the party together if it divides like this,” said Gauland of the “Welt am Sonntag”. He accused AfD chief Jörg Meuthen of “tricking” Kalbitz’s expulsion. For his part, Meuthen hopes to return to “cooperative cooperation” soon. Meanwhile, the survey values for the AfD continued to fall.
Gauland said he was afraid that “the party was going through difficult times and at the moment I see little opportunity to prevent it”. He did not want to “hope” that the dispute over how to deal with the former Brandenburg state and parliamentary group leader Kalbitz “will turn into a party”.
Regarding his own political future, the 79-year-old said that he would no longer run as parliamentary leader. He left open the question of a renewed candidacy for the Bundestag in 2021. “I always said that I would only decide that in winter,” said Gauland, adding: “When I see it this way, I’m more skeptical.”
The party-internal crisis had been triggered by Kalbitz’s expulsion from Meuthen. In May, the AfD federal executive board decided with a narrow majority to cancel Kalbitz’s AfD membership, because when he joined the party in 2013, he had kept silent about previous memberships with the Republicans and in the now banned right-wing extremist “Home Youth German Youth” (HDJ). The party’s Federal Arbitration Court confirmed the expulsion a week ago, but Kalbitz is taking legal action.
Gauland as well as co-faction leader Alice Weidel and Meuthen’s co-party leader Tino Chrupalla were against the annulment of the party membership. Gauland told “Welt am Sonntag” that the membership cancellation procedure was “a trick”. It was “tricked again” because the federal executive had not waited for the submission of evidence of HDJ membership.
Meuthen told the Saarbrücker Zeitung on Saturday that the Kalbitz case was “closed within the party” after confirmation of the expulsion by the Federal Arbitration Court. He hopes to return to a “cooperative collaboration” with Gauland, Weidel and Chrupalla soon. “Most of what we decide on the board is done by consensus or by a large majority,” said Meuthen. On this particular question, however, there are “undeniably fundamental differences of opinion”.
In the new “RTL / ntv trend barometer” from the Forsa Institute, the AfD only achieved a value of eight percent, one point less than in the previous week. It was 4.6 percent below its result in the 2017 Bundestag election.
In a survey published by the Kantar Institute for “Bild am Sonntag” on Sunday, the AfD also lost one point, here it came to ten percent.