Global Independent Analytics
Lionel Baland
Lionel Baland

Location: Belgium

Specialization: Euroscepticism, Patriotic parties of Europe

In Germany, we don’t have a patriotic feeling anymore. We have to rediscover it!

Interview with head of AfD’s list in the German state Rhineland-Palatinate Mr. Uwe Junge

Uwe Junge is a leading figure of the AfD. He started his professional life in the army where he is an officer. He was for 30 years a member of the CDU - the center-right party of Chancellor Angela Merkel – but left in 2009. In March 2013, he joined the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland - Alternative for Germany), a German patriotic party. He was the head of the AfD-list for the regional elections in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate on Sunday March 13, 2016. GIAnalytics’ Lionel Baland met him for an interview.

Lionel Baland: Are there differences between the idea of AfD in your state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the idea of AfD at the national level?

Uwe Junge: No. The leader of the party, Frauke Petry, is a close friend of mine. We call each other frequently and we agree together. We are on the same political page.

Yes, but the problems are different in every part of Germany.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, we have mainly infrastructure and training problems. We want more direct democracy too. We hope that the number of signatures of people wishing to get a consultation will be smaller.

With which party could AfD form power after the 2016 March 13 regional elections in the three different German states?

The AfD will stay in the opposition because it is a young political party. We have our program and we want to defend the people’s interests from the seats of the opposition. We have – as other young parties – a lack of Party cadres.

In Saxe-Anhalt - where the AfD is very strong - too?

Yes, I think they will stay outside of the government of Saxe-Anhalt because the party is still young.

Why is there such a huge difference between East and West in Germany for the patriots? Why are they strong in the East - where they were before communism – and not in the West?

In the East, the people did huge demonstrations in 1989. They have a culture of it. They are more sensitive to the fact that the system tries to silence the people. They are more socialized. In the West, we stay at home in front of the television.

Why are they so many attacks from the leftists against the AfD?

It’s not only from the leftists. It comes from the trade-unions, churches and other political parties too. They are afraid to loose the influence that the AfD receives.

Do you think that in the future, there can be a possible collaboration or rapprochement between the AfD and the other patriotic or German nationalist parties?

No, we will not work with pro-Köln, pro-NRW, die Republikaner or PEGIDA. At the beginning, PEGIDA was a movement of protest and it was nice. But the leaders Lutz Bachmann and Tatjana Festerling are too radical for us.

Is not PEGIDA a gun to the head of the AfD because an opinion poll[i]  shows that if PEGIDA became a party, it will get more votes than the AfD?

I don’t think PEGIDA will become a party.

And a collaboration with Bürger in Wut (BIW-Citizens in Rage) from Jan Timke? It’s a soft patriotic party.

We will see in the future.

And with the Christian Social Union (CSU-Christlich-Soziale Union), the Bavarian conservative sister party of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Angela Merkel?

The CSU exists only in Bayern, one of the 16 German states. It’s not a rival for us.

Is a rapprochement with the party Alfa of the former leader of the AfD Bernd Lucke possible?

Alfa (Allianz für Fortschritt und Aufbruch - Alliance for Progress and Renewal) is nothing. It is very small and represents practically nothing. This party doesn’t have any future. Bernd Lucke doesn’t have the social capacity and cannot lead correctly. He is an autocrat.

It’s not easy for a new party to implement itself. For example, the AfD presented lists of candidates for the 2016 municipal elections in the state of Hessen only in some municipalities. How can you solve this issue?

We organize workshops to instruct our Party cadres. In the future we will try to do more. But if we have this problem at the local level, at the level of the different German states we have different very good candidates who have a lot of knowledge.

In the past, no one patriotic party found the way to implement itself in the German political landscape for a long time. Is not the AfD a shooting star in the political sky of Germany?

We will stay for a long time in the politics in Germany because we have a clear program, a political staff and the weakness of the CDU is working for us. In this country, we don’t have a patriotic feeling anymore. We have to rediscover it.

Don’t you think that if the Chancellor Angela Merkel resigned, her successor inside the party would be somebody more patriotic trying to take back the votes of the AfD?

No, because this kind of person doesn’t exist anymore: Angela Merkel destroyed the people of this political wing.

Does the press have a normal behavior to your party?

No. The party is mishandled by the press: a lot of the journalists are red (social-democrats) or green (ecologists). But there is a positive evolution and I can say that in Rhineland-Palatinate I don’t have a lot of trouble with the press.

What do you think of the sanctions against Russia? What have to be for you the relationships between Germany and Russia?

It’s an existential question for our country: Germany has to have good relationships with Russia. This country is an important part of Europe. We have to converse with Russia. The Former German social-democrat Chancellor Helmut Schmidt – I am a great fan of his - said that as long as you speak with somebody you don’t fight with him.

In the European parliament, the AfD sits in the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) political group with the British Conservative Party. But on Saturday February 13, 2016, the AfD met in Düsseldorf in Germany the Austrian FPÖ of Heinz-Christian Strache. The FPÖ sits in the European Alliance for Freedom with the French National Front, the Belgian (Flemish) Vlaams Belang, the Italian Lega Nord, the Dutch PVV of Geert Wilders, the Polish Congress of the New Right, the MEP Laurențiu Rebega (Rumania) and the MEP Janice Atkinson (United Kingdom). Will the AfD will move to this group, maybe after getting kicked out of the ECR?

Our two MEPs - Beatrix von Storch and Marcus Pretzell - are still in the ECR and have not been expelled. Some MEPs in this group tried to push them out, but they missed their target and we are still in this group. We will not go for a group with the National Front. We don’t want to leave the ECR group. But, we have good connections with the FPÖ in Austria - and with the SVP/UDC in Switzerland too - and want to keep this good relationship.

 

 


[i] A poll conduct by Emnid stated that if PEGIDA will run as a party in the next German elections, it would receive 8% of the vote, more than the 6% that would be won by AfD

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