Ousted AfD founder establishes new anti-bailout party

Bernd Lucke says Allianz für Fortschritt und Aufbruch would not be afraid of addressing social problems including migration

Bernd Lucke at the founding meeting of the new party, in Kassel, western Germany. Photograph: Uwe Zucchi/AFP/Getty Images

Bernd Lucke at the founding meeting of the new party, in Kassel, western Germany. Photograph: Uwe Zucchi/AFP/Getty Images

 

The founder of Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, who quit after being ousted from the leadership, has created a new party to continue his anti-EU bailout campaign.

Two weeks after leaving the AfD, Bernd Lucke was elected president of a new party called the Allianz für Fortschritt und Aufbruch (Alliance for Programme and Renewal), or Alfa.

At Alfa’s founding congress in Kassel, Prof Lucke went on the attack against the new AfD and its leadership, saying it had “gone off the rails and become a Pegida Party” – a nod to an organisation in Dresden campaigning against “Islamisation of the west”.

Xenophobic sentiment

Prof Lucke and his liberal conservative camp lost control of the AfD after a right-wing conservative camp demanded that, to broaden its political appeal, the party should broaden its policies beyond criticism of the euro.

When Prof Lucke refused, his rivals accused him of being unable and unwilling to share power, and organised a putsch.

Prof Lucke said his new organisation would not be afraid of addressing social problems, such as those associated with migration. But he said it would “oppose politics with populist language” that give the “inaccurate impression that it’s possible to reach satisfactory answers with black- and-white thinking and sweeping generalisations”.

The AfD was founded in early 2013 amid narrowly missed entering the Bundestag in that year’s federal election. Last year it won seven seats in the European Parliament and entered five state parliaments.

Just two of the AfD’s MEPs have remained in the European Parliament, while many of the state parliamentary parties have now split.

About 70 former AfD members attended the founding meeting of Alfa, but Prof Lucke said that about 5,000 people have indicated their interest in joining his new group.

Unsurprisingly, AfD members said they were unimpressed by the new rival.

Unlikely to follow

Alexander Gauland

“It has no unique selling point,” Mr Gauland said.

Political scientists are doubtful whether there is room for yet another party right of Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

“Behind every successful party we’ve had in Germany was a broad social movement,” said political scientist Ulrich von Alemann on German television. “This party has no practical use.”