Alternative for Germany pol faces party discipline after Holocaust remarks
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party will not be immediately expelling the head of its cell in Thuringia, Björn Höcke, who recently became the subject of a wave of criticism for his remarks about the Holocaust memorial in the center of Berlin. The party leadership decided last week, after a three-hour debate, to hold a disciplinary proceedings in the matter.
"We Germans, that is to say, our nation, we are the only nation in the world who have placed a memorial to shame at the heart of our capital," Höcke said in Dresden, referring to the Holocaust memorial in the center of Berlin. He also spoke of the "stupid policy of overcoming [the past]" and said the German state of mind is to feel like a "brutally defeated nation".
The AfD politician's words were clearly rejected by representatives of German parliamentary parties and some members of his own party, including the national chair, Frauke Petry. Party leadership engaged in a teleconference last week where a proceedings to expel him was considered.
The ultimate decision was against such a move. "The federal secretariat finds that the statements of Björn Höcke in his 'Dresden speech' on 17 January 2017 have harmed the respectability, of the party," the AfD stated in a press release last week.
AfD leadership considers it necessary to begin a disciplinary proceedings against the politician. German media reports that the AfD leadership did not meet on the issue until Friday, 20 January and that most members were in favor of beginning such a proceedings.
However, one member who voted in favor of discipline later called on his fellow party members to reconsider given the upcoming Parlimentary elections in Germany. If Höcke had been proposed for expulsion, the AfD in Thuringia would also have had to decide whether to expel him, and he enjoys strong support there, which probably played a role in the party leadership's considerations.
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