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Germany’s Far-right Leader Welcomes Brexit as Model for Sovereignty

Alice Weidel, leader of Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, has expressed support for a Brexit-style referendum on European Union (EU) membership if the party comes to power.

Model For Germany

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In an interview with the Financial Times, Weidel hailed the UK’s exit from the EU as a “model for Germany” and suggested that such a decision should be made by the people.

Weidel’s Vision for Germany

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Weidel, who has led the AfD since 2022, outlined her party’s intentions if in government, including reforming the EU to address its “democratic deficit” and reducing the powers of the unelected European Commission.

Dexit Should Be Considered

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However, she emphasized that if these reforms were unattainable, a referendum on “Dexit,” Germany’s exit from the EU, should be considered.

Challenging Established Norms

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Weidel’s proposal challenges a significant taboo in Germany, where mainstream political parties strongly advocate for European integration.

Polls suggest Otherwise

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The country’s constitution also imposes strict restrictions on national referendums, and polls suggest that a majority of Germans would vote to remain in the EU. Nevertheless, among AfD supporters, there is weaker support for EU membership.

Rising Support for AfD

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The AfD has seen a surge in support, with current polls indicating a 22% approval rating, surpassing all three parties in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition.

Path To Power Uncertain

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The party is expected to perform well in crucial elections in Saxony, Brandenburg, and Thuringia in September. However, its path to power remains uncertain due to other parties’ refusal to form coalitions with the AfD.

Controversial Meeting and Backlash

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The AfD has recently faced controversy over a meeting last November involving its lawmakers and Austrian far-right radical Martin Sellner.

Remigration

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The meeting discussed a plan for “remigration,” which would involve forcibly removing millions of people with immigrant backgrounds, including German citizens. Anti-AfD demonstrations have taken place, and politicians have raised concerns about the party’s impact on Germany’s democratic institutions.

Weidel’s Response to Controversy

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Weidel blamed Correctiv, an investigative outlet that first reported the meeting, for attempting to “criminalize” the idea of repatriation for those who unlawfully acquired citizenship or have dual nationality with suspected terrorism or criminal convictions. She clarified that mass expulsions were not the goal and emphasized the need to enforce the country’s laws.

Weidel’s Vision for Handling Ukrainian Refugees

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Weidel asserted that the 1.1 million Ukrainian refugees in Germany had no long-term future in the country. She believed it was a mistake to provide them with welfare payments and argued that they would be needed to help rebuild their country once the war ended.

AfD’s Evolution and Weidel’s Leadership

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Founded in 2013, the AfD initially focused on economic conservatism but gradually shifted rightward, emphasizing anti-immigration and anti-establishment positions. Weidel, with her background in economics and finance, has led the AfD’s parliamentary group since 2017 and offers a different image in a predominantly male party with traditional family views.

Security Concerns and Right-Wing Extremism

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Security officials have warned that the AfD has been infiltrated by right-wing extremists and is becoming more radical. In 2019, a German court described one of its senior politicians, Björn Höcke, as a fascist based on “verifiable facts.”

Firewall

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Other political parties have created a “firewall” against any coalition or cooperation with the AfD, preventing the party from participating in state governments despite its polling strength.

Future Outlook for AfD

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Weidel acknowledged that the AfD was unlikely to come to power in Berlin before 2029. However, she believed that the party’s future role in government was “inevitable” and predicted that the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) would be the first to abandon their boycott. She emphasized the importance of effective border controls, tax reform, and an energy policy focused on fossil fuels.

A Divisive Force

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Alice Weidel’s proposal for a “Dexit” referendum in Germany and her vision for the AfD’s role in government reflect the party’s growing influence and challenges established political norms in the country. As the AfD gains support, it remains a divisive force in German politics.

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