One week after Andreas Kalbitz was kicked out, the AfD leadership remains deeply divided: one boss writes a circular email to ARD to all members, the other contradicts the same email.
By Martin Schmidt, ARD Capital Studio
When emails are sent to the large distributor in the AfD, there is usually a need for explanation. It was late again on Thursday evening: In the e-mail inboxes of all members, a “member circular for the decision of the federal executive board in the Andreas Kalbitz case”, signed by federal spokesman Jörg Meuthen, landed.
Actually, however, it is not just a digital letter, but two. Because directly attached to the mail is a statement from Tino Chrupalla, the other federal spokesman for the AfD. Both texts are up to it ARD capital studio in front. They show that even one week after the decision to withdraw the party membership of right-wing extremist Andreas Kalbitz, the federal executive board is deeply divided.
Much of Meuthen’s text has been known for days, but in the sometimes violent discussion it seems important to him to sort everything out for his own members again, to explain it himself. According to the majority of the federal executive board, Kalbitz had concealed both the “Home Youth German Youth” (HDJ) and the Republicans in his application for admission because he had to assume that he would not be admitted to the AfD.
“Of course, the questions relevant to the decision – facts and legal assessment – have been legally examined and assessed beforehand,” writes Meuthen, countering an allegation made by his opponents on the federal executive board.
Dispute over the opinion of the protection of the constitution
Co-spokesman Chrupalla, together with Alice Weidel, had their own proposal put on the agenda of the board meeting last Friday. He also mentions this in his statement, which is attached to Meuthen’s circular.
In view of diametrically contradictory legal assessments, the Federal Executive Board should have obtained a legal opinion on the question of withdrawing party membership and then made this the basis for its decision. “This request was not even voted on at the meeting,” Chrupalla writes, claiming: “Unlike the letter [Meuthens Rundbrief] suggests, however, there is no uniform picture of the legal situation. “
What about the member list?
Another point of controversy between the party leaders revolves around the essential evidence that led to the decision: an internal report by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution on the right-wing extremist wing of the AfD. Accordingly, there is a list of members of the HDJ, in which the “Andreas Kalbitz family” is also listed. Kalbitz himself is now suing the Office for the Protection of the Constitution for the release of these documents.
“From my point of view, the outcome of this procedure should have been awaited,” said Chrupalla. Meuthen, on the other hand, has no doubt about this “factual finding” of the report, which is available to the Federal Executive Board. In addition, Kalbitz has so far refused to distance itself clearly from the “neo-Nazi organization” HDJ.
The entire board split
In his newsletter, Meuthen always speaks on behalf of the majority of the federal board. He should therefore have at least the six other board members on his side who also voted for the expulsion of Kalbitz – including his deputy Beatrix von Storch.
Chrupalla’s statement, on the other hand, is explicitly signed by four other board members who “fully agree”: Alexander Gauland, Alice Weidel, Stephan Brandner and Stephan Protschka.
“Self-destruction of the AfD”
And while Meuthen ends up conjuring up the unity of the party and demanding concentration on the subject-matter policy, Chrupalla formulates a clear reproach: the majority of the federal executive board have “expected intra-party disputes, which the public perceives as self-perplexity of the AfD, approvingly Taken purchase. “
These disputes are already in full swing in the party – and obviously also in the leadership duo. It is difficult to imagine how the deeply divided Federal Executive Board should work together again – this is now emphasized by members of the Federal Executive Board itself.