hannover - The congress of the right-wing populist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has re-elected Jörg Meuthen (56) as party chairman on Saturday. He got 72 percent of the votes. There were no opposing candidates. Surprising was the choice for Alexander Gauland (76) as co-chairman. The moderate Berliner Georg Pazderski did not make it.
Gauland was one of the two leaders of the AfD and leads the group in the Bundestag. The hardliner did not actually aspire to be a party president, but suddenly came into the picture after the election of the second chairman had failed. Both the daring favorite Pazderski and the unexpectedly advanced Doris von Sayn-Wittgenstein won neither a majority nor a second one.
That made a third round necessary, for which Pazderski and Von Sayn-Wittgensteinen thanked after a suspension for deliberation. Gauland, who did not want to avoid his responsibility, remained as the only alternative; 68 percent of the party members wished him success.
Meuthen and Gauland promised the supporters to do everything to keep the AfD together. Meuthen did not want to hear anything from a fission. According to him it is normal that a political party has different wings. Pazderski was then kept on board by appointing him vice president.
Meuthen previously shared the presidency with Frauke Petry. This figurehead stepped up in April during an internal power struggle. After the parliamentary elections in September, Petry even turned his back on the AfD. According to her, the party, partly by types like Gauland, advanced to the extreme right.