Does the AfD need Frauke Petry?

Frauke Petry, the leader of the national conservative party Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), failed with her proposals at the AfD conference in Cologne on the weekend. Her opponent within the party, Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel, were elected as its lead candidates. This is the end of Petry's career in the AfD, journalists comment, and speculate on whether or not her defeat will hurt the party's chances in the German parliamentary elections.

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taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

AfD not elected because of its leaders

The quarreling won't hurt the party's chances of winning, taz believes:

“If Petry really follows words with deeds and remains the party leader but steps aside in the election campaign, leaving others to assume the responsibility, the best known face in the AfD would be reduced to a minor role. This could hurt the party in the coming elections, but not significantly. The AfD, as many studies show, is not elected because of its people but because the voters either want radically different policies - or use it for protest. So support for the AfD is depends less on its leading candidates than on the question of whether another surge in refugee numbers, violent crimes committed by migrants or another Islamist attack will put the AfD's topics back at the top of the agenda.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

No one need fear this party any longer

The party will be marginalised after Frauke Petry's withdrawal, De Volkskrant counters:

“All populist parties are comprised of outsiders speaking in the name of 'the man on the street'. They oppose the established political system, which purportedly fails to take sufficient account of voters' concerns. 'We are the people' was the battlecry heard in the protest marches in Dresden against the 'Islamisation of the Occident'. But when populists suddenly want to join in the power games they alienate themselves from their hard core supporters. Petry, who wanted to bring the party more into the centre, has now also experienced this. ... In the meantime Merkel's CDU/CSU has shifted markedly to the right in its refugee policy, taking the wind out of the AfD's sails. The AfD is now on its deathbed - for lack of relevance.”