The AfD’s top candidates: Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel Image: dpa
AfD top candidate Alexander Gauland has strongly attacked the integration commissioner of the federal government. His party colleague Alice Weidel added once again. Criticism comes not only from the federal government.
T he AfD’s top candidate, Alexander Gauland, spoke at an election rally in Eichsfeld, Thuringia, of disposing of the SPD’s deputy leader and the federal government’s integration commissioner, Aydan ozoguz. First, Gauland was outraged by a statement made by ozoguz in the newspaper "Tagesspiegel" in May, which had read: "A specifically German culture is, beyond the language, simply not identifiable."
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Gauland commented on the statement: "This is what a German-Turkish woman says. Invite her to Eichsfeld sometime, and then tell her what is specifically German culture. After that, she will never come here again, and we will be able to dispose of her in Anatolia, thank God." Applause and scattered cheers from the audience followed.
About the influx of asylum seekers, criminal immigrants and Islamist terrorists Gauland said, "They want to take away this Germany from us. And, dear friends, this is almost something – in the past, it would have been called an invasion – like a creeping land grab. And this creeping land grab we must all unitedly resist."Later, Gauland demanded that rejected asylum seekers also be deported to countries where human rights abuses occur, such as Libya.
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Alice Weidel, the AfD’s second top candidate, told ZDF’s Morgenmagazin on Monday that she did not know the exact context of Gauland’s statement and that the choice of words was a "matter of taste". But if Gauland had meant that ozoguz was completely unsuitable as integration commissioner, they can "sign that". Gauland himself told the "Tagesspiegel" on Monday that he could not remember whether he had actually used the term "dispose of". That ozoguz is unsuitable for her office, he says, however, already for a long time in every speech.
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Meanwhile, during a campaign event in Braunschweig on Saturday, Lower Saxony’s AfD chairman Armin-Paul Hampel compared members of the German Bundestag to members of the Reichstag led by the Nazis.
In front of dozens of supporters, Hampel said the then one-party parliament had been called the "Reichsmannergesangsverein" after the seizure of power. The National Socialist members of parliament were thus popularly assumed to be occupied only with singing the national anthem. "Those who did not stand up in the Bundestag during the refugee crisis are also in danger of being called that," Hampel said. When asked, Hampel stressed that he had only said that members of the Bundestag were "threatened" by this designation.
Outrage among coalition parties
Representatives of the SPD and the CDU/CSU condemned Gauland’s remarks on Monday. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) had his spokesman say the AfD vice chairman’s words lacked "any decency and respect for dissenters".
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said he did not want to get into the habit of commenting on AfD campaign statements. "In this case, I just want to say: Ms. ozoguz comes from Hamburg, insofar these statements disqualify themselves by themselves." In the short message service Twitter, Martin Schulz, top candidate of the Social Democrats, also criticized Gauland’s remarks.
Meanwhile, the head of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Thomas Oppermann, accused Gauland of speaking like a "Nazi".
CDU Secretary General Peter Tauber also called Gauland’s remarks racist.