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Her face is little known to the general public in Germany, but at age 38, Alice Weidel, openly lesbian politician, was appointed with Alexander Gauland, 76, to lead the legislative battle for the far right party AFD (Alternativ für Deutschland).
AFD intends to use this new face as a way to attract a new generation of voters and give itself a more democratic image. Weidel explains that the AFD is a “liberal-conservative force”.
Weidel is an economist. She grew up in Harsewinkel, North Rhine-Westphalia. She studied economics and business administration at the University of Bayreuth and earned her PhD in 2011. She has worked at Goldman Sachs and Allianz Global Investors Europe in Frankfurt and worked for six years in China.
In the spotlight during her appointment to the AFD in April, she caused a stir in Bienne, Switzerland where she lives with her partner — a director and producer — and their two children.
Although Weidel’s “non-traditional” family contrasts with that of the current president of AFD, who is expecting her fifth child, Weidel’s political ideas are far from reflecting this open-mindedness.
On her Facebook page, Weidel criticizes the refugee reception policy of current German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Surfing on fears, she claims that the Turks want to impose sharia in Germany.
One needs to read the AFD program for parliamentary elections to appreciate the so-called “liberal approach” of this party. Founded four years ago as an anti-European movement, AFD intends to make anti-immigration and anti-Islam its leitmotif. Its electoral program declares Islam to be incompatible with Germany, promises the closure of borders and a tightening of the right to asylum.
On the issue of freedoms, reading the chapter titles on the family and education is particularly revealing. It says AFD wants to “strengthen marriage and the family” [heterosexual]; “Children need both parents”, and society needs to “strengthen fathers.” One part reads, “For a clear family image: the ideology of gender is unconstitutional,” a line which opposes recent gender equality efforts for women in German. AFD is also calling for an end to sex education courses and, of course, wants to put an end to “gender studies” in general.
The leaders of the opposing socialist party (SPD) might promise the opening of marriage to same-sex couples, as well as adoption, but the AFD remains fiercely opposed.
Some German media already believe that Weidel’s liberal veneer is likely to crack more and more in the run-up to the legislative elections in September 2017, and they do not hesitate to say that it will push the AFD even more towards the extreme right.
In many European countries, gays and lesbians do not hesitate to display their extreme right-wing positions. This is the case in France where the acting president, Steeve Briois, and the number two of the National Front of Marine Le Pen are both gay. But in France’s case too, it doesn’t make the political party friendlier. If Le Pen had been elected in France’s last presidential race, marriage and adoption for same-sex couples would have been repealed.