DThe AfD in Brandenburg has elected its state parliamentary group leader Hans-Christoph Berndt as the top candidate for the state elections in September. A party conference in Jüterbog on Saturday voted with a large majority for the 68-year-old. Among other things, Berndt promoted the controversial right-wing concept of so-called remigration to party members. He is the founder of the Zukunft Heimat association, which the Office for the Protection of the Constitution classifies as right-wing extremist.

Berndt expressly praised a protest action in 2015 against a planned accommodation for asylum seekers in Golßen. He called the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which the AfD is a suspected right-wing extremist case, a “neo-Stasi” and called for the office to be closed down. The top candidate sharply attacked the democratic parties and Brandenburg's Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD).

“If the state parties now mobilize their auxiliary troops to fight against the AfD and if they escalate the fight against the AfD into a spiritual civil war this year, then, dear friends, that does not make us afraid, but rather makes us determined,” said Berndt . And he added: “Woidke is the personified party state that we have to overcome in order to be able to breathe freely again.”

Berndt rejects distancing himself from Junger Alternative

A similar statement by AfD member of the state parliament Lars Hünich about the “party state” brought the state Office for the Protection of the Constitution into action at the beginning of the year. Hünich had said: “If we are in government tomorrow, then we have to abolish this party state.”

At the party conference, Berndt also acknowledged so-called front-line organizations for the AfD, including the Junge Alternative, which the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution lists as right-wing extremist, and the Institute for State Policy in Schnellroda, which is also considered right-wing extremist. The AfD politician refused to distance himself. “We stick together and we defend ourselves together,” he said.

In a survey a few days ago, the AfD achieved 25 percent approval in Brandenburg, putting it in first place ahead of the SPD and CDU. The new chairman René Springer has announced that the AfD wants to govern Brandenburg. However, there are no coalition partners in sight for the party.