“I can’t hold the party together”

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IIn the AfD dispute over the Andreas Kalbitz case, the parliamentary group leader Alexander Gauland is pessimistic about the future of the party. “I cannot hold the party together if it divides up in this way,” said Gauland of the “Welt am Sonntag”. He did not want to “hope” that the dispute over how to deal with the former Brandenburg state and parliamentary group leader Kalbitz “will turn into a disintegration of the party”. However, he is afraid that “the party is going to difficult times and I currently see hardly any ways to prevent it from happening”.

Gauland’s pessimistic assessment of the situation of the AfD also affects the 79-year-old’s considerations regarding his own political future. He would no longer run as leader of the parliamentary group. When asked whether he wanted to be a member of the next AfD parliamentary group after the 2021 federal election, Gauland said: “I always said that I would only make this decision in winter. When I see it this way, I’m more skeptical. “

Gauland also renewed his criticism of AfD leader Jörg Meuthen, who in May, with the help of a narrow majority on the AfD federal executive board, brought about the decision to cancel Kalbitz’s AfD membership. The AfD board had justified the expulsion by saying that when Kalbitz joined the party in 2013, he had concealed previous memberships with the Republicans and in the “right-wing extremist German youth” (HDJ), which was classified as an extreme right and now banned. Kalbitz is taking legal action against the arbitration decision, he has now submitted an application for interim legal protection to the Berlin district court. The main application should follow.

In a “RTL / ntv trend barometer” published on Saturday, the AfD only achieved a value of eight percent, one point less than in the previous week. It was 4.6 percent below its result in the 2017 Bundestag election.

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