Status: 03.10.2023, 21:48 p.m.
By: Karsten Hinzmann
For security reasons, AfD leader Alice Weidel is not taking part in a rally in Mödlareuth. The mood in Bavaria has recently become more aggressive.
Mödlareuth – This date was supposed to be the highlight of the AfD election campaign in Bavaria; but AfD leader Alice Weidel cancelled her appearance at a rally of her party on the Day of German Unity for security reasons shortly before the Bavarian elections on Sunday, October 8. The reason for Weidel's renunciation was recently a "security-related incident," as a spokesman for the politician described it. "Ms. Weidel and her family were taken from her private home to a safe place by security authorities because of accumulating evidence pointing to an attack on her family," he said.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Criminal Police Office remained silent on individual facts to the German Press Agency and said only that the AfD chairman's refusal to make public appearances was done as a precautionary measure. On October 8, a new state parliament will be elected in Bavaria, and the threat to Alice Weidel is the next incident in a regional election campaign that is more heated than almost any before.
Polls: CSU falls short of absolute majority, second place fiercely contested
The second place behind the CSU for top candidate and Prime Minister Markus Söder is fiercely contested. Three parties are going head-to-head in this – so far, the AfD is one percentage point behind both the Free Voters and the Greens with 14 percent each in polls with 15 percent. The goal of Prime Minister Markus Söder and the likely result of the election is the continuation of the stable coalition with the Free Voters around Hubert Aiwanger; Söder regards the AfD as well as the Greens as the enemy of Bavaria. For Söder, it is important to distinguish himself from both the Greens and the AfD.
In this respect, the federal leader of the AfD in Mödlareuth wanted to create a good position for the final spurt. However, due to the diffuse threat scenario, she had refrained from making a personal appearance.
Waiver of personal appearance: After a "security incident", the AfD federal chairman Alice Weidel is campaigning only by video message © Martin Schutt/dpa
Instead, Weidel addressed her supporters with a video message. "I would like nothing more than to be with you today, but unfortunately I can't," she said, calling for the Bavarian state government under Prime Minister Markus Söder to be given a lesson in the upcoming election. Mödlareuth is a place steeped in history, because the border between the FRG and the GDR ran through it until reunification.
Election campaign: The mood in Bavaria is boiling up
On the Day of German Unity, three rallies had taken place in Mödlareuth. According to the police headquarters of Upper Franconia and the Thuringian police, everything was quiet until the afternoon. According to the police, a total of 5000,6000 to <>,<> people had come to the village. The CDU and CSU had invited to another rally. In addition, numerous counter-demonstrators of the AfD rally had come to stand up for democracy and cosmopolitanism and against right-wing extremism. Among other things, the campaign "Mödlareuth grenzenlos bunt" had called for this.
Overall, the mood in the Bavarian election campaign seems to be radicalizing. Only recently, the two top candidates of the Greens for the Bavarian state parliament, the parliamentary group chairman Ludwig Hartmann and the Green MP Katharina Schulze, were pelted with a stone on Petrusplatz in Neu-Ulm during an election campaign event – by a supposed supporter of the lateral thinking scene. No one was injured, according to police. Nevertheless, the mood in Bavaria is running high.
Politicians are increasingly victims of threats or violence
This is also described by Peter Müller, the editor-in-chief of the Augsburger Allgemeine, in the ARD Press Club: "It starts with election posters that are smeared and destroyed – in Augsburg 40 percent. And not only those of the Greens, but also. And that ends with a stone's throw in Neu-Ulm. But I do believe that in this Bavarian election campaign we have a tone that creates an environment so that a stone is thrown in the end."
In fact, verbal and physical violence against parliamentarians and their offices has increased in recent years; according to a response by the federal government to inquiries from the AfD parliamentary group in August, 2023 attacks on representatives of the parties represented in the Bundestag were registered nationwide between the beginning of January and the end of June 739. In the second half of 2022, the number of cases was 392, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
With regard to public officials and elected officials, the murder of Kassel district president Walter Lübcke on 2 June 2019 represented a negative climax of violence. One of the most prominent and also most severely affected victims of extreme physical violence is the former President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU). October 12, 1990 was a normal election campaign date in his home state of Baden-Württemberg. But then a mentally disturbed man shot at the then Federal Minister of the Interior; since then, Wolfgang Schäuble has been paraplegic. Oskar Lafontaine (currently independent) was also critically injured during an election campaign event – about half a year before Wolfgang Schäuble.
In the Bundestag election campaign, their top candidate at the time campaigned for votes for the SPD in front of several hundred people in the Cologne-Mülheim town hall. The assassin approached him with flowers and an autograph request before stabbing him in the neck with a butcher's knife and narrowly missing Lafontaine's carotid artery. The perpetrator was also considered mentally disturbed rather than politically motivated. Lafontaine continued his election campaign after his recovery, but with public appearances.