Dana Guth and the AfD co-bosses Tino Chrupalla (left) and Jörg Meuthen (right) on September 12th at the state party conference: They lost their state chairmanship against Jens Kestner from the "wing"
Photo: Swen Pförtner / dpa
There has recently been one less parliamentary group in the Lower Saxony state parliament: Chairwoman Dana Guth and MPs Stefan Wirtz and Jens Ahrends have left the AfD parliamentary group.
To obtain the status, seven more party representatives would be needed in the state parliament - but there are only six.
Due to the loss of parliamentary group strength, the AfD will have fewer parliamentary rights in the future.
Guth had lost the state chairmanship in a battle vote in mid-September - against Jens Kestner, a representative of the officially disbanded "wing" classified as right-wing extremist by the constitution protection.
Guth's decision to leave the faction deepens the split in the party.
Next Wednesday, the AfD federal executive in Berlin wants to talk about the situation in Lower Saxony.
The AfD honorary chairman Alexander Gauland recently brought an exclusion procedure against Guth into play.
The AfD is now "virtually incapable of parliamentary action in an important federal state due to Guth's" senseless demolition of the faction ".
Anyone who immediately throws everything down after a defeat within the party cannot fight politically together, said Gauland.
In the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung" he accused Guth of anti-party behavior and supported demands for exclusion from the party.
However, it is unclear whether the federal executive will follow this proposal.
Gauland has no voting rights in the body - and there are powerful opponents in the party.
Party leader Jörg Meuthen wants to keep Guth in the AfD, the 50-year-old is counted among Meuthen's supporters.
Already in the dispute over the exclusion of the former AfD politician Andreas Kalbitz, Gauland had opposed Meuthen.
Meuthen told SPIEGEL on Thursday that Guth's actions, which led to the breakdown of the Lower Saxony parliamentary group, were "unacceptable and will have consequences."
He did not want to join the demand for exclusion from the party.
"The most important thing now is to do everything necessary to restore the parliamentary group status and to be able to continue the work in the state parliament as a parliamentary group."
Co-boss Chrupalla at the crisis meeting in Hanover
Meuthen's co-chair, Tino Chrupalla, was also active in the Guth case.
"I was in Hanover today and spoke to the rest of the parliamentary group, both with the MPs and the staff," he told SPIEGEL on Thursday.
It was also a matter of protecting employees from unemployment and, if necessary, employing them in the parliamentary group where positions were still vacant.
Chrupalla said he had initiated a special meeting of the federal board because of the events in Lower Saxony.
"It is important to me to hear what happened again personally from everyone involved."
He asked the Lower Saxony AfD state executive to postpone party regulatory measures against Guth, Wirtz and Ahrends and to wait for the debate in the federal executive.
Bremen case as a model for sanctions?
Internally, in the Guth case, there is speculation in the AfD about milder sanctions than exclusion from the party.
Guth, who like her two comrades-in-arms, wants to continue to belong to the AfD, could be suspended from office.
The AfD recently proceeded in a similar way in the case of the Bremen AfD politician Frank Magnitz.
The former head of the state was sentenced by the responsible Lower Saxony AfD regional arbitration court to a year suspension.
Magnitz 'offense: He had refused to give up one of his two parliamentary seats - in the Bremen citizenship and in the Bundestag.
In addition, the federal executive accused him of having blown up the parliamentary group in Bremen.
Like Guth, Magnitz left the AfD parliamentary group with two party colleagues in 2019, which meant that they lost their status in the Bremen citizenship.
The Magnitz case also shows how long the dispute over possible sanctions can drag on.
Because the decision of the regional arbitration court is far from over: The 68-year-old has announced that he will take the decision to the AfD federal arbitration court.
Icon: The mirror