More than 40,000 internal chat messages, which are available exclusively to NDR and WDR, reveal a desolate self-image and radical ideas of the first AfD parliamentary group. According to this, parts of the faction give themselves a bad report and see themselves as a “chaos shop” without a strategy. Some of the members of parliament describe Germany as an “illegal state”, Angela Merkel as a “traitor to the people” and they expect civil war-like conditions in Germany.
The chats, which were leaked to NDR and WDR by a whistleblower, come from the strictly confidential internal chat group of the first AfD parliamentary group. At least 76 of the 92 AfD MPs will write regularly in the group until after the 2021 federal election.
Two years after the AfD entered the Bundestag with 12.6 percent of the votes, voices like these are increasing in the chat group: “The party that was founded to protect our country is slowly flying away from under our ass!” or : “As far as being ashamed of others, the party has made me extremely resilient.”
About nine months before the 2021 federal election, party leader Joana Cotar, who was fighting Alice Weidel for the top candidate for the election at the time, posts: “ONCE move in the same direction. That’s it. Voters have no idea what to expect when they vote for AfD…”
In an interview with NDR/WDR, Cotar underscores her harsh criticism of the faction leadership that is still in office today: “It’s generally the lack of leadership in the faction, the courage to take action and make yourself unpopular.”
Others in the chat group are also violently attacking the faction leadership: It is a “sleeping car board” that can’t do anything.
Group leader Alice Weidel is also attacked by name by her fellow group members: “Ms. Weidel can obviously set priorities, but only when it comes to her own head.” Weidel was not a member of the chat group.
In an interview with NDR and WDR, Weidel says: “If you’re in the front row in the AfD, that’s completely normal. That doesn’t bother me.” There are always dissatisfied people. “They have to think about whether they might look for another hobby instead of wasting their time constantly writing in chats. I would wish for more involvement in parliamentary work.”
The confidential posts of the members of the Bundestag also contain numerous radical, racist and contemptuous statements: “Merkel the rat at the top! This traitor belongs in prison for life!”
There is also clear subversive rhetoric in the group: “We will have to wait until the old regime comes to an end economically and the spark from Austria, Italy, France etc. jumps over. That will come and we must prepare ourselves for the merciless fighting that will follow (…).” When asked, Alice Weidel said that such statements were unacceptable to her. If she had known about it, she would have taken action against it.
The years of internal party camp fighting between the right-wing extremist wing and the more moderate also run through the chat group. A MP asks: “We need a directional decision. Do we want to be a national-socialist or a liberal-conservative party…”
And another: “We have to ask ourselves the question of whether we want proven Nazis in the party and then also in leading positions. I do not want that. I deeply reject the ideology and the Führer cult represented by Höcke and Kalbitz.”
When in the spring of 2020 the Office for the Protection of the Constitution classified the then “wing” as a proven extremist effort, Joana Cotar wrote: “It doesn’t surprise me that this is the case now. We pulled the plug too late. (…) the wing made it far too easy for the VS.” Confronted with this, Cotar told NDR and WDR that she would have liked “a clear statement” from the party leadership “that doesn’t work, you’re harming everyone “.
Politicians from other parties in the “chatter group” are also regularly subjected to nasty insults. When the self-confessed homosexual CDU politician Jens Spahn was briefly discussed in the media as a possible new defense minister, people said: “Oh good, another defense minister”. And shortly thereafter: “With Spahn, the Bundeswehr would have switched back to breech-loaders…”. The then Minister of State Michael Roth, a member of the federal government, was a “disgusting wretch”, and SPD politician Johannes Kahrs a “radically evil anus opening”.
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