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German President launches fresh attack on AfD

The AfD rejected the criticism from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier stating that the Alternative for Germany was not a bourgeois party. "A Federal President should not interfere in the party politics," said the AfD chairman Alexander Gauland.

Published: September 15, 2019, 11:09 am

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    Gauland told Berlin weekly Junge Freiheit: “He is the Federal President for all parties and for all Germans.” Gauland had spoken after the successes of his party in the recent elections in Saxony and Brandenburg, saying that there were “bourgeois majorities” in both federal states.

    The co-chairman of the AfD, Jörg Meuthen, described the statement by Steinmeier as “mischief”. The Federal President thus abandoned his role, which has to be party-politically neutral, he said. At the same time he recalled Steinmeier’s call for a concert of the left-wing extremist music group Feine Sahne Fischfilet. This was more a proof that he lacked true citizenship, he told German daily FAZ.

    Steinmeier had supported a concert “against the law” in Chemnitz on Facebook, in which the left-wing punk band advertised their primitive violent fantasies. When the AfD complained, Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) interrupted: “The Federal President is our head of state. If he does us the honor of joining in our debate, it will not be an opportunity for you to criticize him. Please do not do that!”

    Schäuble emphasized the special position which the Federal President holds in the state structure.

    Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the AfD was not a bourgeois party, after Alexander Gauland pointedly describes the AfD as “bourgeois”, a description intended to be a message to the outside, but above all to its own voters.

    “You rub your eyes a little,” Steinmeier, the former SPD chancellor candidate told German magazine Spiegel in response to the statements of AfD chief Gauland after the recent state elections. The AfD is currently well on the way to becoming the leading civic people’s party. In Brandenburg it is already.

    Steinmeier contradicted this: bourgeoisie, the rule of law and individual liberties belonged together, he warned. “Anyone who sees himself in this tradition can not at the same time pay homage to an exclusionary, authoritarian or even nationalistic way of thinking. That’s the opposite of bourgeois: it’s anti-bourgeois.”

    He said each party had to decide where it wanted to stand, “either folkish collectivist or enlightened bourgeois – both can not be done at the same time”. One’s own bourgeoisie can be demonstrated by the defense of freedom, the recognition of the individual and the respect for dissenters, explained the Federal President. “It’s about this attitude.” Although democracy lives from the controversy and also needs the dispute. But frustration is not a free pass for misanthropy.”

    At the same time, Steinmeier complained that he missed a decisive fight against “right-wing extremism” in the Grand Coalition. The governing parties should not underestimate the “far-right danger” he added.

    “But not only since the beginning of the Grand Coalition have both parties been in discussions about their political leadership, strategy and content orientation. This robs them of strength, time and energy for necessary debates in a public that rightly places high expectations on the problem-solving competence of a government.”

    There are banal reasons for the political competitors of the AfD to contradict the notion of the “bourgeois” spectrum, since the CDU/CSU tell their supporters that they are against the “right-wing populists”.

    And as if on cue, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) this week spoke out in favor the leftwing agenda of taking in one in four migrants who arrive in Italy after being rescued from sea. “I have always said that our migration policy is also humane. We do not let anyone drown. That will not overwhelm our migration policy,” he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

    According to the CSU politician, France was prepared to accept 25 percent of rescued migrants. The talks were still ongoing and the ruling was scheduled for September 23 at the meeting of EU Home Ministers in Malta.

    Germany, France, Italy and Malta are therefore planning to establish a transitional solution for the distribution of illegal migrants. “The expectation is that more states will join in,” emphasized Seehofer. For Germany, nothing will change, the number of asylum seekers remains manageable, he said. Italy’s new government on Thursday demanded that the Eastern European states, which have so far refused to accept migrants, pay for it.

    The FDP chairman Christian Lindner spoke out against this new direction. “I warn Mrs Merkel against agreeing to such a high quota, because we have been carrying the main burden in Europe for years,” he told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

    “Cosmopolitanism and tolerance should not be separated from control. We should make it easier for skilled workers to immigrate, we need to deport migrants who do not receive protection status with all the consequences. “A restart of the immigration policy is necessary”.

    The physical attacks on the AfD are sadly continuing. The party in Saxony was the target of the latest arson attack on their fleet in the Saxon town of Meissen on Saturday night. A total of six vehicles and two trailers went up in flames, said the press spokesman of AfD Saxony, Andreas Harlass. “Luckily nobody came to harm.”

    Around midnight, AfD politician Mario Aßmann was alarmed by the dog barking of a neighboring shelter. Shortly after he left the house, an explosion followed and the first car went up in flames. The fire quickly reached the other cars and trailers. The damage amounts to between 40 000 to 50 000 euros. The state security has opened an investigation.

    The board of the Saxon AfD has now demanded from the state government a concept for the protection of its members against attacks. Such attacks on campaign workers and party politicians during the recent state election campaign were frequent. “Helpers were kicked while hanging posters and attacked at the polls,” said Harlaß.

    The “verbal radicalism of the old parties” was partly responsible for these attacks, as well as the arson attack this week: The Lord Mayor of Dresden, Dirk Hilbert (FDP), had called the AfD a “harmful element”.

    And Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also contributed with his recent hysterical allegations against the party.

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    • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

      The AfD is in no way extremist. One of the things Merkel and her minions such as Seinmeier, Schauble, an Seehofer have done since she became chancellor is to try to cripple the opposition, legally or otherwise. Over the past decade the focus of CDU opprobrium has been on the AfD, which is increasingly popular in eastern Germany, where people know Merkel and her ilk for what they are. Part of Merkel’s strategy has been to make a deal with the media, which has “access” to the government and the CDU, in return for smearing the AfD as “far-right” and misrepresenting her left-leaning party as “conservative”. The media also label the Greens, perhaps the most extreme leftist party, as “environmentalist” or “ecologist”, in their news reports, totally omitting anything about their hard left politics . Merkel’s media strategy has unfortunately been working, hindering the growth of the AfD.

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