Former Populist Leader Launches Party Appealing to ‘Moderate Conservatives’

Former leader of the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), Frauke Petry, has unveiled the Blue Party, which she hopes will win votes with a “reasonable conservative” agenda.

“Blue is the right choice, as it stands for conservative as well as liberal politics in Germany and Europe,” she told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) on Thursday evening.

Petry won a parliament seat in federal elections last month when the AfD made enormous gains, but quit the party the following day, pledging to sit as an independent.

The German chemist had complained the AfD was reduced to being a “protest party” as a result of other Bundestag parties’ refusal to consider working with it due to her colleagues’ nationalist and conservative views.

Stating that a third of German voters want to see “a reasonable, conservative political offering”, Petry suggested that the Blue Party could replicate on a national level the success of the Christian Social Union (CSU).

Part of a faction with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the CSU is more conservative and sceptical of mass migration than its sister party, but fields candidates only in the German state of Bavaria.

The 42-year-old told RND that the Blue Party will be officially unveiled at an event in Saxony on Friday, followed in November by rallies and forums across the country at which citizens can “get involved whether they have party membership or not”.

“With citizens [who attend Blue Party events] we want to discuss realistic solutions to the challenges of the coming years, to connect people, and to prepare for upcoming elections,” Petry said.

The former AfD leader has previously asserted that the ideology of “refugees welcome” has become a substitute for religion in many parts of German society, warning that Enlightenment views in the country are threatened by a massive influx of Muslims who hold illiberal views on issues including women’s rights.

Petry’s car was torched last year in what was believed to be an act of arson, and figures in the AfD have repeatedly suffered attacks ranging from vandalism to physical assault at the hands of left-wing extremists.


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