the AfD, the far-right party born ten years ago, now aspires to govern

It was February 6, 2013. That day, in a parish hall in Oberursel, an upscale town near Frankfurt, eighteen men angry at Angela Merkel’s policy in the face of the euro zone crisis a new political party, Alternative for Germany (AfD). Their main demand: the end of the single currency and the return to the deutschemark.

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Monday, February 6, it was 8 kilometers away, in the village hall of the small town of Königstein, that the AfD celebrated its tenth anniversary. Of its eighteen founding fathers, only one was however present, two having died, two having declined the invitation, the thirteen others having meanwhile left a party in which they no longer recognized themselves.

In ten years, the AfD has indeed changed a lot. First ideologically, the original fight against the euro having given way to other battles: against the reception of refugees during the 2015-2016 migration crisis, against masks and vaccines during the Covid-19 pandemic. 19 and, since February 24, 2022, against the sanctions imposed on Russia and against any aid to Ukraine.

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Sociologically too, the AfD has metamorphosed. THE “teachers’ party”, the nickname given to it when it started out because of the large number of economists, lawyers and essayists sitting on its governing bodies, has expanded its recruitment pool. Originally drawing from conservative and bourgeois circles in the west of the country, it now records its best scores in the former East Germany, where it has become a pole of attraction for citizens with little education and angry with the “old parties of the system”to use an expression dear to its leaders.

79 deputies

Ten years after its founding, the AfD is firmly rooted in the German political landscape. In the Bundestag, where he sits on the far right, he has 79 deputies, twice as many as the far left party Die Linke. At the level of the Länder, it is represented in all the regional parliaments, except that of Schleswig-Holstein, in the north of the country.

Although it has made a name for itself as an opposition force, the AfD has not yet become a government party. This is now his ambition. “We don’t just want to be heard, we want to get our ideas across and we want to govern”said Alice Weidel, the co-chair of the party, Monday, in Königstein. “In the near future, we will govern, first in one of the eastern Länder, then in the west of the country, and finally at the national level”bid Tino Chrupalla, his alter ego.

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