AfD party conference: secret agreement with Höcke

Status: 06/22/2022 10:29 am

According to internal chat messages, the AfD leadership coordinated with Björn Höcke before the election of the new party executive. For the renunciation of his candidacy, he was therefore offered another influential post.

By Bastian Wierzioch, MDR

The party leadership of the AfD apparently coordinated with Björn Höcke before the federal executive elections at the weekend in Riesa. This emerges from internal AfD chat messages that MDR Thuringia present. According to the agreement, the Thuringian AfD boss is said to have waived a candidacy for a post on the new federal executive board. In return, Höcke is said to have been given the prospect of chairing a new commission “to prepare for a party structural reform”. The case points to Höcke’s enormous influence on the federal party. In addition, the reactions of several AfD members of the Bundestag show how irreconcilable the hostile camps are in the internal party debate about the future party program.

“Behind the events a calculation”

Hans-Thomas Tillschneider from Magdeburg blurted out the matter. After the federal party conference in Riesa, the AfD member of parliament criticized the course of events in a closed AfD chat group. “What parts of the leadership pulled together with the party conference leadership in Riesa on Sunday was nothing other than the continuation of the war against their own party. I suspect a calculation behind what happened.”

In his text, Tillschneider primarily criticized the way the delegates handled a resolution he also supported on the “consensual dissolution of the EU”. Two sentences were said that immediately caused outrage in the AfD chat group: “Björn Höcke was promised the strategy commission in the event that he did not run for the BuVo,” wrote Tillschneider, who by “BuVo” means the federal board. “To make sure that word is kept, the network around Björn Höcke wanted the strategy commission to be decided before the BuVo elections.” What is meant is the “Commission for the Preparation of a Party Structural Reform,” which was actually to be set up in Riesa. But that never happened because the party conference on Sunday was prematurely canceled due to the dispute over the EU resolution.

Höcke confidant Hans-Thomas Tillschneider is one of the most influential party officials in Saxony-Anhalt and one of the main reasons why the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution is monitoring the entire AfD as a suspected right-wing extremist. In the past, for example, the politician had compared Islam in Germany to a “tree fungus” that grew “on the trunk of the German oak tree.” For this reason, many in the moderate AfD camp consider Tillschneider to be a stimulus figure.

Outraged reactions in chat

The excitement about his text in the AfD chat group, which consists of several hundred AfD officials and elected representatives, was correspondingly great. “It’s nice to be able to find out openly from someone involved what was planned with Mr. Höcke,” wrote one of the chat participants. “The same Höcke who said in the interview that he doesn’t want a one-pointer just yet, because that would tear the party apart. You just have to sweat out a part of the party before you can pull it off, right?”

Another functionary said: “Mr. Tillschneider confirms with his text what every sensible delegate in Riesa knew anyway. Mr. Höcke’s mantra-like incantations of unity are pure hypocrisy. Obviously, the need for unity always becomes ‘historical’ when he and his aides think they’re in charge.” According to the chat participant, he hopes “that Tino Chrupalla and Alice Weidel have now understood very precisely what they can expect from Mr. Höcke”.

AfD statements

Several AfD members of the Bundestag confirmed MDR Thuringia the authenticity of the chat messages. A member of parliament who wished to remain anonymous said on request: “It is interesting, but very good, that Tillschneider, in his boundless anger about the unforeseen course of events at the party congress, came out with the truth. Now we know that what promised to us by the party leadership as ‘grassroots democracy’, at least at the very top is mere waste.” Only Chrupalla and Weidel could have concluded “such a deal”, “no one else”.

Höcke wanted that MDR Thuringia neither confirm nor deny the existence of the “deal” with the party leadership. His office manager said: “Mr. Höcke will not comment on this.” The federal office of the AfD in Berlin did not answer one MDR-Inquiry on this topic.

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