A week after winning its first canton, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party took a new step in its electoral progress on Sunday evening by electing a first full-time mayor in a municipality of 9,000 inhabitants in Raguhn. -Jessnitz in Saxony-Anhalt (formerly East Germany).
The extreme right registers another symbolic success in Germany. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party succeeded in electing its first full-time mayor of a municipality on Sunday 2 July, a week after winning its first canton.
Hannes Loth, 42, was elected for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party at the head of Raguhn-Jessnitz, a town of about 9,000 in the Saxony-Anhalt region in the east of the country, according to figures published on the municipality’s Facebook page.
With 51.13%, this elected representative of the regional parliament of Saxony-Anhalt beat a candidate without a label.
Just a week ago, the far-right party had won the presidency of a territorial community in Germany that brings together several municipalities, similar to a French canton: Sonneberg in the region of Thuringia, also in the east of the country.
“After the first canton, we now have AfD’s first full-time mayor,” says party leader Christian Blex on social media.
A small number of German villages have already had AfD mayors in the past, but this was a voluntary role as these elected officials had another job at the same time.
Similarly, a city in the south-west of the country with 12,000 inhabitants, Burladingen, was led between 2018 and 2020 by an elected AfD, but the latter had not been elected under the party’s colors, he had joined it during the election period.
Ahead of the Social Democracy in the opinion polls
The election comes in a context of strong growth in opinion polls for this anti-migrant, Eurosceptic movement that defends pro-Russian positions, which was created a decade ago.
According to an opinion poll by the Insa institute published on Sunday by the Sunday edition of the Bild daily, the AfD is ahead nationally with 20% of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party’s voting intentions (19%).
In the last legislative election in 2021, the far-right party recorded a score of less than half with 10.3% of the vote. The AfD is particularly established in the eastern part of the country, which feels backward.
For several months, the party has surfed the discontent of part of the public, driven by inflation or even the ecological transition that the government is trying to put in place under the impetus of the Greens, a member of the ruling coalition.
The president of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, responsible for education programs in Germany, warned at the weekend of the risk of reducing the AfD’s progress “to a simple protest movement”.
“The voters want this party, that’s where the situation is serious,” says Thomas Krüger, to the regional press group RND.
“Certain attitudes have taken root in a section of society which are not compatible with democratic principles and which are unacceptable,” he added.