Whe comes to Jörg Meuthen? This question will determine the discussions in the AfD in the coming weeks after the co-chairman announced that he will not run again at the federal party conference in December. On Monday, the first applicants got involved – some of them had already done so before.
Meuthen’s co-party leader Tino Chrupalla from Saxony confirmed that he would run for the chair again. He thanked Meuthen, who had headed the AfD since 2015, “for his development work”. Chrupalla stands for the East and can count on the support of the East German regional associations, including the radical forces of the officially dissolved “wing” around Thuringian Björn Höcke. A man or a woman from the West would then have to come to Chrupalla’s side.
Rüdiger Lucassen was one of the first to show his interest. The AfD chairman in North Rhine-Westphalia had previously made it clear that he would not run against Meuthen if he ran again. Lucassen found words of praise for Meuthen on Monday. “Jörg Meuthen did not just throw it away, but he clears the way for a possible party conference without a dispute in good time. That shows decency, he has my respect for that, ”he told the FAZ
At the same time he made it clear: “I am still available for an office at the top of the party.” But he basically thinks a single point is better. That would mean an amendment to the statutes with a two-thirds majority – it is uncertain whether the delegates would approve such a change with the necessary majority. Lucassen does not rule out a candidacy if the one-way solution is rejected. If the party doesn’t want that yet, “then for me it would depend on which team could form a dual leadership,” he says.
Alice Weidel, who leads the Bundestag faction with Chrupalla and is enemies with Meuthen, is said to have ambitions for the party chairmanship. On Monday, she only said that she was taking Meuthen’s decision “with respect”. As AfD chairman, he had “survived various storms” for many years. She can understand that Meuthen now wants to devote more time to the family, said Weidel.
Meuthen’s withdrawal is likely to cause frustration among many AfD supporters in the West, who saw him as a guarantor for a “bourgeois” course. But his decision was not really surprising. “After very careful and in many intensive discussions, especially with my family, I decided not to run for another term as federal spokesman at this party congress,” Meuthen informed the around 30,000 AfD members in a circular. He was aware that many members had hoped for a different decision from him, it said.
Meuthen alluded to the fact that for large parts of the AfD he was an advocate of a moderate line that he wanted to push through against the more radical forces in the party over the past two years. Apparently he sees himself as a failure in this. Meuthen himself points out in his letter that his decision also had to do with private tension. He has “seven children (five biological and two” by marriage “) and – so far – three grandchildren”, of which he is all proud.