That was February 6, 2013. On that day, in a parish hall in the upscale town of Oberursel near Frankfurt, 18 men were outraged by Angela Merkel’s policies in the face of the eurozone crisis, a new party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD). Their main demands: the end of the single currency and the return of the Deutsche mark.
On Monday 6 February, at the village hall in the small town of Königstein, 8 kilometers away, the AfD celebrated its tenth anniversary. Yet of its 18 founders, only one was in attendance, two had died, two declined the invitation, and 13 simultaneously left a party where they no longer knew themselves.
The AfD has indeed changed a lot in ten years. First ideologically, the initial fight against the euro has given way to others: against the admission of refugees during the 2015-2016 migrant crisis, against masks and vaccines during the Covid-19 pandemic. 19 and since February 24, 2022, against the sanctions imposed on Russia and any aid to Ukraine.
Sociologically, the AfD has also changed.this “Teachers Gathering”, given the moniker at its inception due to the large number of economists, lawyers and essayists in its governing body, has broadened its recruitment. Originally from conservative and bourgeois circles in the west of the country, it has now achieved its best results in the former East Germany, where it has become a benchmark for appealing to less educated citizens angry with the German state. “Old Party in the System”using an expression beloved of its leaders.
Ten years after its founding, the AfD is firmly entrenched in the German political landscape. In the Bundestag, where he sits in the far right, he has 79 delegates, twice as many as the far left party. At the state level, it is represented in all regional parliaments except Schleswig-Holstein in the north of the country.
Despite its reputation as an opposition party, the AfD has yet to become the ruling party. Now that’s his ambition. “We don’t just want to be heard, we want to communicate our ideas, we want to govern”said the party’s co-chair Alice Weidel in Königstein on Monday. “In the near future we will be governing first in a state in the east, then in the west of the country and finally at the national level”his alter ego Tino Chrupalla bids.
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