Thuringia's AfD state party and parliamentary group leader Björn Höcke has sworn in his supporters in Oranienburg for the election year 2024 and underlined the party's ambitions. "We must achieve one thing (...) that those who love Germany with all their hearts come to the high state offices - to the state chancellery in Potsdam, to the state chancellery in Saxony, to the state chancellery in Erfurt and to the chancellor's office," Höcke said in Oranienburg on Thursday evening.
In 2024, state parliaments will be elected in Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg. This year, the AfD will put a "political exclamation mark," Höcke said in the Brandenburg town near Berlin.
For nearly an hour, Höcke spoke to about 350 supporters in Schlossplatz. Germany is facing a tipping point, he said. In particular, the economy is going down the drain under the current federal government. This policy is "sucking the marrow out of our bones," Höcke said.
Höcke, who is powerful in the AfD, emphasized his desire for a strong Europe. He said his goal was to build "a new Europe" together with Russia. "This EU must die so that the true Europe can live." According to Höcke, this also includes a clear departure from what he sees as a far too loose migration policy. "If we can't build Fortress Europe, we will build Fortress Germany." Several AfD-affiliated attendees interrupted Höcke with calls for closed borders. "Fortress Europe - close the borders," some chanted several times.
Before Höcke's appearance, there had been a protest on Schlossplatz. Around 500 counter-demonstrators accompanied the speech with heckling, but were shielded from the event during the rally by an approximately 25-meter-long Germany flag erected by AfD supporters.
The AfD in Brandenburg is currently hovering at a poll high. In the latest poll, it came in at 28 percent in the Sunday poll in July. This put it well ahead of the SPD with 21 percent and the CDU with 18 percent in the poll conducted by the Insa institute for "Bild," followed by the Left Party with 10 percent, the Greens with 9 percent and Free Voters with 5 percent.
Election polls are generally always fraught with uncertainty. Among other things, weakening party ties and increasingly short-term election decisions make it difficult for polling institutes to weight the data collected. In principle, surveys reflect only the opinion at the time of the survey and are not forecasts on the election outcome.
After the election victory of the AfD politician Robert Sesselmann in the district election in the Sonneberg district in June, Höcke had spoken of a "political weather light" that emanates from the district and the first AfD district administrator.
In Brandenburg, according to state election official Herbert Trimbach, no full-time AfD mayors have been elected so far - likewise, there have been no honorary AfD mayors in the 2019 elections and beyond. In 2017, Detlev Frye was elected as honorary mayor of the AfD in Lebus near Frankfurt (Oder), but he was only a few days in office because of a formal error.
The AfD state association is classified by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Brandenburg since 2020 as a suspected right-wing extremist case, the youth organization Junge Alternative since July 12 as a secured right-wing extremist effort. The AfD considers the classifications wrong and sees it as a campaign against them.
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