The Pegida movement in Germany has announced that it is forming a political party—the “Freiheitlich Direktdemokratische Volkspartei” (the Peoples’ Direct Democracy and Freedom Partry, FDDV), just as the German government indicated that it was preparing to ban the anti-invasion movement.
Pegida movement head Lutz Bachmann announced the formation of the new party at a meeting in Dresden yesterday, at the regular Monday evening rally in the eastern German city.
According to Bachman, the article of incorporation for the party had already been signed on June 13, and was a response to a threatened ban of Pegida.
Bachmann refused to announce who the founding members or provisional leader of the party would be, but pointed out that Pegida wanted to develop a “parliamentary arm” more than a year ago.
The FDDV will not enter into direct competition with the already established Alternative für Deutschland (AFD) party, Bachmann said.
“We shall support the AfD in the next elections [scheduled for 2017] and shall only field candidates in a limited number of constituencies where there are direct elections [which will not affect the AfD vote],” Bachmann said.
He said that there are a number of good links between various AfD regional associations and Pegida, except in Saxony, where that party’s leader Frauke Petry, is known to have an “Ice Age” attitude toward Pegida, Bachman added.
“But there are other national associations which have understood that it is only by working together [that we will advance our cause],” he added.
Bachmann said that he would not be leader of the party, and that he would keep the FDDV and Pegida strictly separated. “I remain Lutz of Pegida on the road,” he said.
The German government is known to be considering a ban of the original association which spawned Pegida on the grounds that it is “spreading extremism.”
Last month, the AfD suffered an internal split when more than half of its representatives in the in the Baden-Württemberg regional parliament resigned their membership.
The origin of the split appears to be a power struggle between Petry and the rebel MPs, led by Jörg Meuthen, within the AfD—which is now, according to all polls, the third largest party in Germany.
The split appears to have been precipitated by an argument over the writings by another of the party’s MPs, Dr. Wolfgang Gedeon.
Dr. Gedeon had written elsewhere that those who question the holocaust should not be persecuted for doing so, and that freedom of speech entailed the right to question and analyze historical events.
Meuthen sought Gedeon’s expulsion from the AfD but was unable to win a required two-thirds majority, and so led his supporters out of the party in protest. Gedeon has since resigned from the party after talks with Petry, but Meuthen’s group have refused to return.
The AfD dissidents claim that Gedeon’s statement represents “anti-Semitism”—a ludicrous claim, and the conflict is more likely to be centered in an attempted leadership challenge within the party.