Next mayor election in two weeks
AfD success streak breaks in Nordhausen
September 25, 2023, 6:03 a.m
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The AfD suffers a setback in Nordhausen: In Thuringia, the right-wing populists want to win their third important municipal office, but in the end the incumbent wins. But for many people, new worries are replacing relief, because the next runoff election is coming up soon.
Cheers, long applause, hugs: After the failure of the AfD candidate Jörg Prophet in the mayoral election in Nordhausen, citizens and politicians expressed their relief. According to historian and Buchenwald memorial director Jens-Christian Wagner, there is still reason for concern. “In Nordhausen, the danger that there will be an extreme right-wing mayor has been averted,” said Wagner. At the same time, more than 45 percent voted for someone “who represents a closed historical revisionist worldview,” said Wagner. That is cause for concern.
In Nordhausen, incumbent Kai Buchmann (independent) won a runoff election on Sunday with 54.9 percent of the vote against AfD politician Jörg Prophet, who got 45.1 percent. However, the AfD could have another chance for a mayoral office in just two weeks: In a first round of elections for the new mayor of Bitterfeld-Wolfen in Saxony-Anhalt, the AfD candidate Henning Dornack received the most votes on Sunday – 33.8 percent . Incumbent Armin Schenk from the CDU received 29.1. Both have to stand in the runoff election on October 8th.
The Vice President of the German Bundestag, the Green Katrin Göring-Eckardt, wrote on But she also emphasized: “The outcome of today’s election shows how difficult the fight is for our democracy, how hard we have to fight for democratic majorities.” Göring-Eckardt comes from Thuringia. The leader of the Green parliamentary group, Britta Haßelmann, also wrote on X: “It depends on democrats, they have to stand together.”
Choice between “hardship and misery”
In Nordhausen, the initial situation was considered extremely difficult in advance: disciplinary proceedings were ongoing against Buchmann, and he had since been suspended due to allegations of bullying until a court overturned this. Prophet, on the other hand, was seen as the clear favorite after the first round of voting. On election day, citizens spoke of having the choice between “hardship and misery.”
Memorial director Wagner said that the signal from this election result was that a civil society could manage to “put a right-wing extremist historical revisionist in his place.” The Thuringian AfD is classified and monitored by the state Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a confirmed right-wing extremist movement. In the run-up to the election it became known that Prophet had attracted attention with historical revisionist texts. The Thuringian Office for the Protection of the Constitution also cited one of its blog texts, in which it mourned the “victims of Dresden 1945”, as an example of the AfD’s “historical revisionist agenda”. Nordhausen has around 42,000 inhabitants.