The AfD’s national party conference has approved a change to the party’s constitution will give the party a simplified leadership structure, which will more closely resemble those of the dreaded ‘Altparteien’ (‘old’ or established parties) CDU, CSU, FDP, and SPD. After a period of transition, the AfD will have a single ‘Vorsitzender’ (party chair), supported by a ‘Generalsekretär’ (a subordinate managerial role). Currently, the party has three ‘speakers’ (chairs), all with equal powers and responsibilities, and so is closer to the model chosen by the Left and the Greens who each employ two party chairs to give equal representation to both sexes (as well as to various factions).
Bernd Lucke, one of the current speakers who has very much been the party’s public face since the 2013 campaign, has tried to push through this change for at least a year. At the conference, he rather undiplomatically complained that the other two were creating confusion and delay, and that he was often left with the task to clean up after them. He also hinted that he wants this job – but so does Frauke Petry (who has recently become very cosy with Pegida). This is not just a clash of personalities – rather Lucke and Petry seem to represent different trajectories for the future development of the party.