The AfD has decided: Tino Chrupalla and Alice Weidel should now lead the party together in addition to the parliamentary group. At the party conference in Riesa, they conjure up a fresh start for the AfD.

Tino Chrupalla and Alice Weidel will be joint leaders of the AfD in the future. At the federal party conference in Riesa, Saxony, a relatively narrow majority (53.4 percent) confirmed Chrupalla in office on Saturday for another two years.

Weidel moves up from deputy party leader to the position of co-spokeswoman with equal rights. She received 67.3 percent. In addition, three of Chrupalla’s preferred candidates were appointed as deputies. An announced rally by AfD opponents was relatively small – perhaps also because of the heat.

Together, Chrupalla and Weidel now lead both the parliamentary group and the federal party. Perhaps also to show that they can work together smoothly, they proposed each other as candidates for the top post. The model for success in the parliamentary group will be “mirrored on the party,” said Weidel. She criticized the work of the last federal board, to which she had belonged as a deputy: “You couldn’t do it any worse”.

Chrupalla: Leave quarrels behind

Chrupalla spoke of a “departure” after the election. The aim is to leave the past and the dispute behind. “The Meuthen era ended today,” he said. Representatives of the more moderate Meuthen camp – ex-co-boss Jörg Meuthen left the party in January – had recently repeatedly sharply criticized Chrupalla, among other things because of the loss of votes for the AfD in state elections. The new old party leader said, “From now on we have the party of the center (…), and we represent them here in our leadership”.

The 47-year-old received 287 of 538 votes cast. His opponent Norbert Kleinwächter got 195 votes (36.3 percent) – a respectable success for the representative of the more moderate camp. 55 delegates voted against both candidates. There was one abstention.

360 of 538 delegates voted for Weidel. 111 delegates (20.8 percent) voted for their opponent, MEP Nicolaus Fest. 64 voters voted against both candidates, three abstained.

At the delegates’ meeting, which lasts until Sunday, the entire new leadership team of the AfD was reassigned. The 14-member federal executive board largely corresponds to the ideas of the new federal chairmen, Tino Chrupalla and Alice Weidel. But there were also surprises. The supporter of party right wing Björn Höcke, Christina Baum, prevailed against a candidate from Chrupallas. she said her goal was to “restore a healthy sense of national pride” to Germans.

The delegates had changed the statutes of the AfD on Friday, so that theoretically an individual leadership is also possible in the future. The Thuringian head of state and party right winger Björn Höcke had campaigned for this. However, the party congress voted on Saturday to leave it at a dual leadership this time.

Brandner, Boehringer and Harder-Kühnel as deputies

The party congress elected three candidates that Chrupalla had wished for in the inner circle of leaders: Party Vice Stephan Brandner, who belongs to the Thuringian state association, was confirmed in office with 72.4 percent. In addition to him, Member of Parliament Peter Boehringer (55.4 percent) and his parliamentary colleague Mariana Harder-Kühnel (74.6 percent) were elected deputies to Chrupalla and Weidel. Boehringer and Brandner advertised in their application speeches for a “homogeneous federal executive board” with a view to the internal party dispute in the past. Harder-Kühnel railed against “Germany haters”. She called for a party leadership that works together “like a team”.

Chrupalla has been at the helm since November 2019. In his first election at the party congress in Braunschweig at the time, he got 54.5 percent of the votes. The master craftsman from Saxony led the AfD alone after the departure of ex-co-boss Jörg Meuthen. Meuthen had certified the AfD an increasingly radical course. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution classified the party as a suspected right-wing extremist.

Critics within the party, who consider themselves to be in the moderate camp, openly attacked the party leader after the recent loss of votes in several state elections and accused him, among other things, of not being able to score points in the West. They also criticize Chrupalla’s course as being too pro-Russian and associate it with leaving the party.

Chrupalla’s opponent, Kleinwächter, said in his application speech that “we urgently need to get out of the low we’re in”. He advocated professionalism, unity, discipline and a new style of external communication and insisted on a “liberal-conservative” course for the AfD.

Chrupalla: “We want to make the CDU and FDP superfluous”

Chrupalla campaigned for differentiation from the Union and the FDP. “We want to make the CDU and FDP superfluous,” he said. CDU party leader Friedrich Merz is a “green wolf in black sheep’s clothing”. The AfD does not participate in “vaccination, war and open borders”. According to his own statements, the 47-year-old wants to lead the AfD on a “free and social” course in the next two years.

With a view to the loss of votes in the past state elections, Weidel appealed to the delegates: “Let’s not let every setback pull us down.” She called for more unity and said: “Let’s stop the baseless allegations in public.” The AfD is not a discontinued model. “The AfD is the party of the future”. Weidel called the party the “necessary corrective in the encrusted party landscape”.

According to the police, a little over 300 counter-demonstrators gathered in front of the conference venue on Saturday for a rally. Banners read “Against” and “No Alternative for Germany”. Many demonstrators sought shelter in the shade under trees on the edge of the parking lot in front of the Sachsenarena because of the heat.

Meuthen: AfD arrived with a new board “far right”.

With the election of the new federal executive board, the AfD has moved even further to the right, according to former AfD boss Jörg Meuthen. “As was to be expected, the party finally arrived on the extreme right at the party conference in Riesa with the new election of the federal executive board and the federal arbitration court choreographed by Höcke,” said Meuthen on Saturday of the German Press Agency. “Anyone who is still involved must and will know what they are getting themselves into,” he added.

The long-standing chairman left the AfD at the end of January and has since joined the Center Party.