There are winners who beam and literally burst into joy. And there is Tino Chrupalla. The pictures from the moment of the re-election of the old and new AfD party leaders show a laughing 47-year-old. Much greater than the joy, however, is the relief of the former master painter.
After all, the mission of re-election was only just successful with an approval of only 53.45 percent of the votes. 36.3 percent of the delegates – and thus significantly more than previously assumed – supported the opposing candidate Chrupallas, Norbert Kleinwaechter, who sits in the Bundestag for the Brandenburg AfD. The fact that ten percent of the delegates did not want to vote for either candidate should hurt Chrupalla even more.
What happened on Saturday at noon in Riesa, Saxony, had already been announced. The day before, immediately after Chrupalla had presented a more or less emotionless report on the activities of the old federal executive committee, the party congress delegates literally grilled it.
The party’s crisis, triggered by internal quarrels, the lack of a program, lost state elections in a row and the resignation of ex-federal spokesman Jörg Meuthen, was literally thrown at Chrupalla’s feet. He sometimes reacted angrily, sometimes rudely quoting colleagues on the board, and conceding that he had not asserted himself in various places.
Finally, it was up to Alice Weidel to get Chrupalla out of trouble. With her plea for dealing with internal differences of opinion internally, she paved the way for a motion to end the debate. This was accepted, Chrupalla was released from the quasi-interrogation.
This process and the result of the board elections on Saturday show: Chrupalla is a king without a kingdom. He was confirmed at the head of the AfD federal association and, in connection with the parliamentary group chairmanship, theoretically retains maximum power. In practice, however, things look different.
The officially dissolved wing flexed its muscles more clearly than at any other party conference. This is not only true in terms of personnel – many members of the new federal executive board are considered to be close to the wing – but also in terms of content.
The successful application to be able to have the party led by a single leader in the future bore the signature of the Thuringian AfD state leader Björn Höcke. The two-thirds majority required to amend the Articles of Association was reached. A success of Höcke, which he “not yet” wanted to put into practice.
Whether it will remain so in 2024 – after the end of the two-year term of office of the newly elected federal executive board – is uncertain. Admittedly, representatives of the party’s supposedly moderate camp shrug it off, declaring: “Hocke’s election would mean the end of the party, that won’t happen.”
On Sunday, a decision will be taken on setting up a commission to prepare for party structural reform. If this comes and Höcke takes over, as speculated, as its chair, this thesis should be strengthened further.
How the AfD wants to get out of its current crisis under these conditions remained unclear at the end of the second day of the party meeting. Instead of dealing with content, as demanded by numerous representatives, personal details were again clearly in the foreground. Big challenges lie ahead of Tino Chrupalla. The delegates in Riesa denied him the power to work out and then implement solutions.