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World Kalbitz 'successor: Brandenburg AfD parliamentary group elects Berndt as new chairman

14:45  27 october  2020
14:45  27 october  2020 Source:   ksta.de

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image captionIn Brandenburg AfD - led by Andreas Kalbitz Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany ( AfD ) party surged in elections in two eastern states, but not In both states the other parties will now discuss forming new coalitions - perhaps including the Greens - which will exclude AfD .

The far-right Alternative for Germany ( AfD ) elected a new leader on Saturday who pledged to follow a moderate course and appeal to middle-of-the-road voters as Germany’s largest protest party said it was preparing for power. Tino Chrupalla, a former house painter from the east German state of Saxony

Two months after Andreas Kalbitz resigned, the Brandenburg AfD parliamentary group elected Hans-Christoph Berndt as new chairman. The group announced this on Tuesday. Berndt succeeds Kalbitz, who resigned after being kicked out of the party in August.

Hans-Christoph Berndt (AfD) © picture alliance / dpa Hans-Christoph Berndt (AfD)

The party's executive board revoked Kalbitz's membership in May because it is said to have concealed contacts with the right-wing extremist milieu. The deputy parliamentary group leader Birgit Bessin, the parliamentary managing director Dennis Hohloch and the AfD member of the state parliament Hans-Christoph Berndt had applied for the chairmanship in a battle vote.

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right-wing extremist association "Zukunft Heimat"

Berndt heads the association "Zukunft Heimat", which is classified as right-wing extremist by the constitution protection. Berndt was also a "proven right-wing extremist", said Jörg Müller, the head of the state constitution protection. Müller had also called Kalbitz a "proven right-wing extremist".

The AfD federal executive had revoked Kalbitz's membership in May because he was said to have concealed earlier memberships with the right-wing extremist home-loyal German youth (HDJ) and the republicans when he was admitted.

"Another neo-Nazi"

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"With Christoph Berndt there is now another proven neo-Nazi at the head of the Brandenburg AfD parliamentary group," said the parliamentary group leader on the left , Sebastian Walter. "Two neo-Nazis just change chairs, and the right wing will be further strengthened." As a result, the Brandenburg AfD radicalized again, said Walter.

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“You had the choice between extreme, extreme and the most extreme and you chose the most dangerous person,” said SPD parliamentary group leader Erik Stohn. The Brandenburg AfD wants to change the foundations of democracy, warned Stohn. "Only democrats can stop this dangerous AfD by not giving the AfD a vote," stressed Stohn.

Choice between “right and far right”

The leader of the Free Voters parliamentary group, Péter Vida, also said that the AfD had opted for the extreme position when choosing between “right and far right”. "If the AfD Brandenburg had ever intended to evade observation by the constitution protection and radicalization, it has now finally slammed this door," said Vida. "Berndt is a southpaw and agitator of the parliamentary group."

During the election, the star pianist Igor Levit and other artists demonstrated against the AfD with a piano concert under the motto "wings instead of wings" in front of the state parliament.

Protagonists of the Völkisch-National Wing

"We want to jingle stupidity and hatred from the world with bright wing tones", said the organizer and Brandenburg artist Rainer Opolka on Tuesday at the beginning of the concert on the Alter Markt in Potsdam. Opolka pointed out that both the resigned Kalbitz and his three successor candidates were protagonists of the now disbanded völkisch-national wing of the AfD.

He was unsuccessful in an urgent application against expulsion before the Berlin Regional Court in August. Shortly before, Kalbitz had withdrawn from the parliamentary group chairmanship, which he initially only wanted to leave pending the court decision. (dpa)

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