D.he Berlin AfD has surprisingly elected former deputy parliamentary group leader Kristin Brinker as the new state party leader. At the state party convention in Paaren im Glien in Brandenburg, Brinker received 50.2 percent of the vote on Saturday and thus prevailed against Beatrix von Storch, member of the Bundestag, as a spokesman announced. Von Storch had wanted to take over the state chairmanship of the Berlin AfD together with the parliamentary group leader in the Berlin House of Representatives, Georg Pazderski.
Brinker won by just two votes. As reported by the RBB, the delegates rejected a double leadership prior to their election by a narrow majority and voted for a sole chairman or chairwoman. Pazderski then did not run for election.
Bringing a “breath of fresh air” into the party
After there was practically a stalemate in three ballots, 122 delegates voted for Brinker and 120 for von Storch at the fourth attempt. One delegate rejected both candidates, two abstained. If Brinker had got just one vote less, it would not have been enough to obtain the necessary majority.
According to the RBB, Brinker is considered to be an internal party opponent of Pazderski and started with the claim to bring a “breath of fresh air” to the party in the super election year. The trained architect, born in 1972, is currently the parliamentary group’s budgetary and financial policy spokesperson. The Berlin MPs Jeanette Auricht and Ronald Gläser as well as the Bundestag MP Götz Frömming were elected as deputy chairmen.
The current acting chairman of the Berlin AfD, MEP Nicolaus Fest, had announced that he would no longer be available for the office. The state party is currently led by an emergency board because the election of a new board was not possible due to repeated postponements of the party congress. The event in Paaren im Gliem, northwest of Berlin, was the fifth attempt by the Berlin AfD to hold a state party conference.
In front of the venue, an amusement park, around 100 to 200 people gathered for a counter-protest. The alliance against right-wing Falkensee and left-wing groups from Berlin called for this.
Problems with finances
The auditor of the Berlin AfD, Sebastian Mack, pointed out problems with the party finances at the party congress. The software used for accounting is not audit-proof, said Mack. In one case, a booking was subsequently deleted and can no longer be found. In addition, a random sample showed that at least two documents were missing. Many so-called own documents were also presented to him. There is no evidence that someone has reached into the cash register. “However, given the evidence, that cannot be ruled out.”
Against this background, Mack requested that the incumbent party executive in 2018/2019 around the then chairman Georg Pazderski not formally exonerate until things were finally resolved. The delegates rejected this with a narrow majority, and the board of directors was then just as slightly exonerated for 2020.
AfD state treasurer Frank-Christian Hansel, who, as parliamentary managing director, is also responsible for the finances of the parliamentary group in the House of Representatives, rejected the statements by Mack and criticism of his own work. “I have nothing to blame,” said Hansel, adding that he was not an accountant. Hansel suspected a political campaign behind the process, with which he should be “shot down” as a board candidate.
There had also been discussions and disputes in the previous year about the group’s accounting, which uses the same software.
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