The headlines this week have been dominated by executive orders (USA) and the elevation of Martin Schulz to the SPD’s candidacy for the German chancellorship. Locally, however, another story is brewing with possible national and international consequences.
It’s no surprise that Dr. Frauke Petry will head the AfD’s list of candidates for the German federal elections later this year, leaving her post as leader of the AfD in Sachsen. It may be of interest to know who is second on the list, and therefore a certainty for the Bundestag: Judge Jens Maier.
Jens Maier (a member of the AfD since 2013) was the warm up act before Björn Höcke’s now infamous Dresden speech, which resulted in charges being laid against both speakers for alleged hate speech. In a move to protect the impartiality of the court system, Maier’s brief has now been limited to cases involving traffic incidents and general public cases.
The content of the allegation is on the public record, being quoted and analysed throughout the German media.
Maier is alleged to have declared the “cult of guilt” surrounding the Nazi-era atrocities as being “over”. After him, Höcke spoke of the bombing of Dresden as a war crime. The Holocaust memorial in Berlin was also ambiguously described as a “monument of shame”.
The decision to place Maier second on the candidate list seems counter-intuitive, since Dr. Petry and her husband Marcus Pretzell (AfD-NRW) were very vocal opponents of Höcke’s performance in Dresden and pushed for disciplinary action.
That Petry is comfortable with Höcke’s warm up act right behind her on the Sachsen list says something about the state of the AfD in general.
That the continued statements by Höcke, Poggenburg, Maier and others have no significant consequences, has implications for the direction of the AfD both locally and federally. Although Höcke and Poggenburg have decided to stay in State Parliament for the time being, others such as Maier and Gauland will take their places at the federal level, continuing to push a far-right narrative.
They are members of “Der Flügel”, which has links to the “Identitäre Bewegung” (IB) and perhaps even “Ein Prozent”, an activist group which see themselves as part of a “resistance” movement.
It remains to be seen how any legal consequences for Judge Maier’s Dresden speech will influence Dr. Petry’s support for him as a potential federal colleague.