There is still no AfD mayor in Germany: Jörg Prophet, the candidate of the right-wing party, only received 45.1 percent of the vote in the runoff election in Nordhausen, Thuringia, as the electoral office announced. Incumbent Kai Buchmann (independent) continues to rule in the town hall of the city of 42,000 residents. The voter turnout was 59.3 percent.
Prophet went into the runoff as the favorite: in the first round two weeks ago, he got 42.1 percent of the vote, Buchmann only 23.7 percent. To be elected mayor, you need 50 percent of the vote.
The AfD, which is classified and monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Thuringia as proven right-wing extremist, had hoped that it could appoint a mayor for the first time in Nordhausen. She didn’t succeed. The next attempt will be in Bitterfeld-Wolfen in Saxony-Anhalt in two weeks: it will follow there City information to an OB runoff election between the AfD candidate Henning Dornack, who won the first round on Sunday with 33.8 percent, and the CDU incumbent Armin Schenk (29.1 percent).
In Sonneberg, southern Thuringia, the AfD won its first district election in June and the mayoral election in the small town of Raguhn-Jeßnitz in Saxony-Anhalt in July. In Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg, the right-wing party achieved values of more than 30 percent in representative surveys – new state parliaments will be elected in these three states next year.
Nordhausen’s election received international attention, also because there is a memorial there commemorating the Nazis’ Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. Tens of thousands of people from Europe were deported there by the Nazis during the Second World War – many of them had to build weapons in underground tunnels under inhumane conditions, and many died.
Before the election, Jens-Christian Wagner, director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, said: The election of an AfD candidate with a historical revisionist worldview would be “a disaster for our relationships with the survivors; an enormous amount of trust is at stake.” And: “Several people have already announced that they will no longer come to Nordhausen if the AfD rules here.”
In a blog entry signed “Jörg Prophet”, the US troops who liberated the concentration camp are put on the same level as the National Socialists. According to the text, they got “what apparently drove them: an advantage by taking possession of technologies of killing in order to secure their own position in the world.”
The election in the district town, of course, had a special starting point: incumbent Buchmann is controversial, and the election was also influenced by internal disputes and personal disputes. Buchmann was temporarily suspended from his position in the spring; following an administrative court decision, he has been back in office since August. Disciplinary proceedings for bullying have been ongoing against him for months, and the district office’s supervisory authority accused him of 14 breaches of duty. Buchmann’s relationship with his Social Democratic deputy and with the district administrator is shattered. The mayor, who was a former Green Party member, was supported by the Greens, the Left and individual SPD members.