German Populist Leader: ‘Margaret Thatcher is my Role Model’

Alice Weidel, the economist co-leader of the populist anti-mass migration Alternative For Germany (AfD) has spoken of her inspiration, Margaret Thatcher, and her hope to influence German national policy in the future.

Speaking in an interview with German Tabloid Bild am Sonntag, the AfD co-leader — who saw her party take 92 of 709 members of parliament in September’s Bundestag election — Weidel said she was content to remain in opposition for the time being, but believed her party would be mature enough to enter into a governing coalition after the next elections, due to take place in 2021.

The economic conservative, who leads AfD alongside social conservative Alexander Gauland said in the new interview that she admired former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s achievement in getting Great Britain back on its feet as it faced economic ruin in the 1970s.

Explaining how she’d deliver a similar package of reforms for Germany, Weidel said she’d seek to create a “slender state” with low levels of social benefit payments, and a liberal economic policy.

Praising the ‘Iron Lady’, the populist leader said “Margaret Thatcher is my political role model” and that she admired her willingness to swim against the current of accepted political thought if it was necessary, even “if it became unpleasant.”

“Thatcher took over Great Britain when the country was economically in the dumps and built it up again. Great Britain is still benefitting from that”, she said.

Acknowledging her party was not yet ready to enter government but that it would be soon, Weidel spoke of her 2021 ambitions, remarking “in the medium term it is our goal to get into shape”.

Although the focus of Weidel — who is a lesbian and has two adopted sons with her partner — is generally considered to be on economic matters, she has spoken of her desire to get more women to vote for AfD. Noting that just 18 per cent of her voters of women, the politician has advocated a number of measures to help working women, including free daycare for young children.

The arrival of the AfD in the German parliament has been met with hostility in some quarters, with all other political parties vowing to not work with them in government, and protests against the party being launched by left-wing groups.

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