AfD local politicians Robert Stuhlmann and Hannes Loth have been sworn in, making the far-right party's recent successes official since Wednesday. With great media interest, the 50-year-old Stuhlmann took the oath of office as district administrator in Sonneberg, Thuringia, and the 42-year-old Loth in the small town of Raguhn-Jeßnitz in Saxony-Anhalt. Not everyone is happy about the party's upswing.
The Thuringian armchair man is thus Germany's first district administrator to be provided by the AfD. In the first district council meeting after his election at the end of June, he swore to uphold the Basic Law and the constitution of the Free State as well as all applicable laws and to fulfill his official duties conscientiously and impartially. Then there were flowers and applause for him. However, many council members did not applaud. In accordance with Thuringia's municipal regulations, Stuhlmann has been in office since the beginning of July.
Loth swore the oath of office on Wednesday evening. He wants to uphold and defend the Basic Law and the Constitution, do justice to everyone and conscientiously fulfill his official duties. Some citizens also came to his swearing-in ceremony during a city council meeting.
Applause and bouquets of flowers
Accompanied by applause, the 42-year-old accepted several bouquets of flowers and thanked the previous mayor, who was acting on an acting basis. In a run-off election at the beginning of July, 51.13 percent of those entitled to vote voted for Loth. This makes him the first full-time mayor of the AfD in Saxony-Anhalt.
On the online platform X, which was previously known under the name Twitter, the party even spoke of the first AfD mayor in Germany - with a mayor in Burladingen in Baden-Württemberg until 2020 who had switched to the AfD. In Thuringia and Brandenburg, AfD mayors had already been elected - but the German Association of Towns and Municipalities is not aware of any full-time mayors, but the organization does not keep statistics on this.
Order, security, fire brigade and daycare places are important, Loth said shortly before he was sworn in to the German Press Agency. In contrast to the "old parties", the AfD is "more concerned with the citizens". Even as mayor, he wants to be close to the people and do what they say. The party expects a tough European election campaign in the next few months, but also further successes in Germany, he said after being sworn in. He offered skeptics an opportunity to get to know each other. According to his own statements, he will start his work as mayor on September 1st.
FDP: "Not a good sign for our region"
The AfD has been triumphing nationwide since it drew level with the SPD chancellor party in polls at the beginning of June. The right-wing party could get between 19 and 21 percent if there were a federal election now - twice as much as its election result in autumn 2021 (10.3 percent). The party is classified as a suspected right-wing extremist by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. In Thuringia, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution classifies them as "safe right-wing extremists".
Andreas Silbersack, leader of the FDP parliamentary group in Saxony-Anhalt, called the success of Stuhlmann and Loth "not a good sign for our region". Real problems that concern citizens should be tackled objectively, solved pragmatically and the connections explained to people over and over again. "The AfD, on the other hand, stirs up hatred and discord without offering any real solutions to people's problems."