At its federal party conference in Kalkar, the AfD argued with great ruthlessness about the position of its party leader Jörg Meuthen. Numerous speakers, including members of the party leadership, accused the AfD leader of dividing the party and harming it. In the highly emotional debate on Sunday, many of Meuthen’s supporters also spoke up, expressly thanking him for his speech. In his opening speech on Saturday, the chairman voiced severe criticism of the party’s demeanor and warned that it would be a shame for the AfD if it appeared “increasingly aggressive, increasingly coarse, increasingly uninhibited”.
Despite the high levels of corona infection, the AfD met in Kalkar for a presence party conference. The meeting with 600 delegates was subject to strict conditions. The participants had to wear masks throughout. The party chairman Meuthen initially criticized the recent riots in the Bundestag made possible by AfD MPs. “It cannot and must not go on like this,” he said. “Either we get the curve here, or we fail and get into very heavy seas.” He spoke of the fact that “rumbling and rolling around”, as had just happened in the Bundestag, let the party appear in a bad light. “People no longer choose us because of incidents like this.”
He expressly opposed speaking of a Corona dictatorship: “We do not live in a dictatorship, otherwise we would hardly be able to hold this party conference today.” He was also directed against the parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag, Alexander Gauland, who then accused him of having given a speech that was “partly divisive”. The debate on Sunday exposed the party’s massive dispute over the direction. Party Vice-President Stephan Brandner accused the chairman of causing serious damage to the party. Meuthen is on the wrong track. The Bundestag member Jürgen Pohl, a confidante of the AfD right wing Björn Höcke, said Meuthen’s time in the AfD was over. Birgit Bessin, member of the state parliament from Brandenburg, said that Meuthen was spoiled with hundreds of thousands of opponents of the corona policy.
In contrast, the state chairman of the AfD North Rhine-Westphalia, Rüdiger Lucassen, thanked the party leader for having “spoken plainly and shown leadership.” Others spoke of an overdue speech. The Hessian state chairman Robert Lambrou said: “At the moment something is breaking out here that has been smoldering for a long time.” In the end there was no clear opinion. The party congress finally decided not to vote on a motion to disapprove of Meuthen’s behavior as “divisive behavior”.
On Saturday, the AfD decided on a pension concept for its program for the first time, which should end an internal dispute over its social orientation with a compromise. According to this concept, the pay-as-you-go pension system is to be retained. According to the ideas of the AfD, many state employees should also pay into the statutory pension fund.