Petry and her husband walked out of the AfD on the day after the election, announcing their intentions to remain as independents, but they still draw lucrative salaries both from parliament as well as the EU.
During a press conference Frauke Petry had stormed out to everyone’s surprise. The AfD party leaders Alice Weidel, Alexander Gauland and Jörg Meuthen, who were also part of the press conference, all said that they had not known about Frauke Petry’s decision.
Petry had explained her unusual decision by saying that she would have liked the AfD to be “parliamentary”.
“I don’t feel any animosity [towards Petry],” Weidel said. “I think it’s a shame that she left the AfD. I consider it the wrong decision.”
The AfD captured some 13 percent of the German vote, and Weidel said the party would be ready to join a coalition government by 2021. Weidel was not the only one to note Petry and her husband’s surprising decision to leave the party unannounced.
“Dr. Petry has done us a favor by making this decision now and we do not have to discuss it within the Group,” said Jens Maier, a newly elected deputy of the AfD for Saxony, during a meeting in the German Bundestag on Tuesday in Berlin.
“We must thank Dr. Petry for making this decision so quickly,” he added.
Alexander Gauland, co-founder of the party, meanwhile announced that the party would position itself as an opposition.
He also said that he and Petry had always been in agreement with each other: “We always said that when we are on the same level as the others, we have to take responsibility of course, but there was no quarrel with Frauke Petry and I have always said the same.”
Petry had warned in the Leipziger Volkszeitung that the AfD would frighten middle-class voters, but she appeared to have been wrong judging by the positive election outcome.
She said voters had been frightened by the utterances of Gauland, and the other top candidate Weidel. But Gauland sharply rejected the criticism. He called Petry “hysterical”.
Petry is mistaken, Gauland told Reuters TV. “If our values improve, we can not just lose voters.”
Petry this month kicked off a new “Blue Party”, promising a “reasonable conservative” agenda and berating AfD leaders for holding views too far outside the mainstream.
Weidel however, told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag newspaper that a British mainstream politician, the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was her political role model.
“Margaret Thatcher is my political role model,” Weidel told the newspaper, explaining how Thatchers’s counter-current movement had revived Britain’s economic prospects.
According to AFP, Weidel said the party’s long-term goal was to shape policy, and Thatcher’s experience in Britain was a helpful guide. “Thatcher took over Great Britain when the country was economically in the dumps and built it up again.”
Weidel, a lesbian, has two adopted sons and her partner lives Switzerland. She said only 18 percent of the AfD’s voters were women which was “way too few”, but promised free child care and kindergartens to help families.
Nine AfD members of Saxony’s state parliament also issued a statement in which they expressed their opinion on the “future work of our parliamentary party” following the debacle surrounding Frauke Petry.
“We stand behind the elected AfD federal governing body, and the co-operation of all AfD parliamentary groups with the new AfD Bundestag group is a matter of course for us.” The explanation was signed by André Barth, Mario Beger, Silke Grimm, Carsten Hütter, Detlev Spangenberg, Jörg Urban, Karin Wilke, André Wendt and Sebastian Wippel.