A free-market splinter of Alternative for Germany will meet this weekend to look into forming a new party. AfD lost 2,000 members after founder Bernd Lucke fell to rival Frauke Petry in a July 4 leadership vote.
Supporters of Bernd Lucke (left in photo), the founder and ousted chairman of Alternative for Germany, plan to meet Sunday to work out necessary details to form a new Euroskeptic party. Founders of the AfD splinter group, called Weckruf 2015 (Wake-up Call 2015 ), said they would meet in the city of Kassel with the objective of attracting enough active members to elect a steering committee.
In a call to arms Monday, Wake-up Call 2015 announced that AfD's "fundamentalist and nationalist right-wing wing" had usurped the Euroskeptic platform. "The AfD is therefore lost to us," the statement read. "So, if we want to be politically active in a party that corresponds to our values, we have to form a new party. We, the founding members of Wakeup Call 2015, are here to prepare."
Wake-up Call Speaker Sven Wagner said that, depending on what happened at the weekend, the new party's official founding could come at a later date. "I'm counting on the majority for a founding," he said. What comes next would depend on the willingness of new party's 4,000 members - according to Wake-up Call's count, though only 70 will attend the meeting in Kassel - to collaborate.
In May, Lucke warned of what he saw as the alarming rise of "Islamophobic and xenophobic" forces within the right-wing party he had co-founded. Those very same forces, led by party speaker Frauke Petry, forced him out at an emergency conference in the Ruhrgebiet city of Essen on July 4.
Lucke and about 2,000 other members left AfD after the conference in Essen, saying they might form a new party. Though Lucke gave Wake-up Call its name, the faction has not announced whether he might stand for the leadership. Some members may consider him a liability after his failure within AfD.
'The worst sense'
Founded in 2013 by critics of Germany's internationalist euro policies, AfD has achieved moderate success in regional parliaments, most notably in new leader Petry's native Saxony, which elected 14 AfD members to the 126-seat legislature in 2014. The AfD holds no seats at the federal level.
On Friday, Petry called Lucke's warnings that the party had turned into a German version of France's far-right Front National "propaganda in the worst sense." She has called demonstrations against homes for asylum-seekers legitimate, but only appropriate in front of town halls, not outside migrants' residences. Such demonstrations have come as new light has been shed on violence against migrants in Germany.
A week after Lucke's ouster, the AfD scored its lowest approval rating with voters since the September 2013 elections, managing only 3 percent in an Emnid poll published in the Sunday edition of Germany's mass-circulation Bild newspaper.
mkg/jil (Reuters, AFP, dpa)