I haven't been following closely the self-destructive course of the AfD ("Alternative for Germany") party, but I had always assumed they would put forward Frauke Petry as the leader heading into the elections later this year. So I was surprised that the right-wing hardliners rejected Petry and instead chose the duo Alexander Gauland and Alice Wedel to lead the party. I was somewhat familiar with Gauland as a far-right ideologue who is anti-Nato, pro-Putin and a racist - he seems to embody the ideas and values of the AfD. But I had never heard of Alice Weidel. What I am learning about her is confusing, to say the least.
She’s the Alternative for Germany’s new co-frontrunner despite a great divergence from the party’s typically conservative, xenophobic portrait. Alice Weidel, an openly gay economist, was nominated as the anti-immigrant, far-right party’s chief candidate on Sunday, set to run alongside AfD co-founder Alexander Gauland in September’s federal elections.At 38 years old, Ms. Weidel has had a remarkably successful career in business and finance, working for Goldman Sachs, Allianz Global Investors and the Bank of China, in positions ranging from start-up consultant to investment banker. She lived in China for six years, speaks fluent Mandarin and completed her doctorate thesis on the Chinese pension system. She currently resides in Überlingen, a city on the northern shore in Lake Constance, close to the Swiss border. Her life partner is a Swiss film and TV producer, and the couple has two sons under the age of five.
Okay, how could someone who is clearly intelligent, with extensive international experience - a "Globalist", if you will - and openly gay join a party that is openly hostile to foreigners, gays, globalization, etc.? It seems to me she would be much more comfortable with the traditional liberal Free Democrats (FDP).
On the other hand, Alice Weidel has made a number of negative - even hateful- comments about the refugees that Germany has accepted, which no doubt endears her to the racist base of the AfD.
Sicher ist: Den Kurs AfD-Polemik muss sie nicht mehr besuchen. Im Oktober 2016 schreibt sie auf Facebook, deutsche Steuerzahler würden einem "Millionenheer von ungebildeten Migranten aus dem Nahen Osten und Afrika eine Rundumsorglos-Vollversorgung finanzieren". Scorer-Punkte bei Pegida sind ihr damit sicher. Genauso wie mit der Behauptung, (danke Merkel), die Bundeskanzlerin sei "selbstverständlich" mitverantwortlich für den Tod einer jungen Frau in Freiburg, die mutmaßlich von einem Asylbewerber vergewaltigt und getötet wurde.
Still, she is attractive, articulate, and no doubt presents a moderate face for the party on the talkshows. Behind the scenes, however, the AfD base know that they will be well-served by Alexander Gauland. But with Weidel the party stands a good chance of surpassing the 5% hurdle and achieving representation in the Bundestag.