The AfD federal executive has excluded the previous state chairman and parliamentary leader in Brandenburg, Andreas Kalbitz, from the party. On Friday, the highest party committee declared the membership of one of the best-known and most controversial leaders of the right-wing nationalists to be void. That learned the Southgerman newspaper from the party leadership. Seven board members voted for, five against the exclusion. A board member abstained.
The decision is considered a bang in the power struggle for the future of the AfD. Alongside Björn Höcke, head of the AfD in Thuringia, Kalbitz was the best-known representative of the party’s right-wing national movement, the “wing”. He is at least as influential as Höcke. The organization had disbanded at the end of April under pressure from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The reason for the exclusion was his admission to the neo-Nazi organization “Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend” (HDJ). The HDJ is on the AfD’s so-called incompatibility list. Anyone who was a member of a group on this list must not be included in the AfD. In addition, the party leadership accuses Kalbitz that he did not indicate his membership in the Republicans between late 1993 and early 1994. The Republicans have also been under the protection of the constitution for years.
With this declaration of nullity, the AfD chose the fastest way to separate from Kalbitz. Membership was canceled with immediate effect, it said. The pressure on the party leadership had risen again this week to draw consequences from Kalbitz’s involvement in the far-right milieu. In a letter to the 13 federal executive boards of the AfD, Kalbitz had to admit that his name might have been on a “prospect or contact list” of the now banned organization. Kalbitz describes this as “quite possible and likely”. This emerges from a statement to the party’s federal executive that WDR, NDR and Süddeutscher Zeitung is present.
Kalbitz wants to fight for his place in the AfD
The exclusion was preceded by a longer process. The AfD federal executive had asked Kalbitz at the end of March to review his biography and any right-wing extremist references. The reason for this is the opinion of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution on the AfD, in which it is established that Kalbitz was a member of the right-wing extremist organization HDJ. The report stated, among other things, that Kalbitz was deeply rooted in right-wing extremism and that the name “Andreas Kalbitz family” including a four-digit membership number was on a member list of the HDJ. Kalbitz denied this again and again.
The voting behavior makes it clear how controversial the rapid exclusion in the party is. According to information from party circles, the party leader Jörg Meuthen and six other members of the party executive board voted for the decision. Kalbitz, co-chair Tino Chrupalla, chairman of the parliamentary group, Alice Weidel, and three other members were against it. Carsten Hütter from Saxony therefore abstained. The separation could fuel the dispute over the direction in the AfD, it said in the party leadership.
The head of the parliamentary group, Alexander Gauland, criticized the expulsion as “wrong” and “very dangerous for the party”. Kalbitz meanwhile wants to fight for his place in the AfD. He wanted “to use all legal possibilities to contest this wrong political decision in my view,” he said after the decision.