The AfD has another chance to win a top municipal office in Thuringia. Their candidate, 61-year-old entrepreneur Jörg Prophet, received 42.1 percent of the vote in the mayoral election in the Thuringian industrial and university town of Nordhausen, as a spokeswoman for the city administration announced.
He achieved by far the best result among five other applicants and made it to the runoff election on September 24th. In two weeks, Prophet will have to compete with the independent incumbent Kai Buchmann, who received 23.7 percent.
The turnout was 56.4 percent, in the 2017 election it was 44.6 percent in the first ballot. A runoff election is necessary if none of the applicants reaches the 50 percent threshold in the first round.
The AfD, which is classified as a suspected right-wing extremist case by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, has won a district election in Thuringia and a mayoral election in Saxony-Anhalt since the end of June. It all started with the Sonneberg district in southern Thuringia, where the AfD politician Robert Sesselmann was elected as the AfD's first district administrator.
Höcke is sure - AfD will nominate the mayor
"This means that another success like in Sonneberg seems possible, even though Nordhausen was not considered a stronghold of the AfD just a few months ago," said Thuringia's AfD state spokesman Stefan Möller, commenting on the result in Nordhausen. State party leader Björn Höcke wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that he was sure that the AfD could appoint its first mayor in two weeks.
In Nordhausen, the AfD candidate Prophet, who says he has experience as a member of the district council and the city council, is focusing primarily on local political issues in the election campaign. Nordhausen is the district town and has around 42,000 inhabitants. According to the city administration, almost 37,000 people were eligible to vote.
The SPD candidate and mayor Alexandra Rieger received 18.6 percent of the vote, the non-party school principal Andreas Trump, who ran for the CDU, received 11.2 percent. The other candidates scored in the low single digits.
The AfD is currently experiencing a high in polls
Nordhausen has long been an SPD stronghold, but has seen many changes at the top of the city over the past eleven years. This year's mayoral election is also marked by internal disputes and personal disputes. Incumbent Buchmann was temporarily suspended in the spring; following an administrative court decision, he has been back in office since August. The district accuses him of breach of duty.
The AfD is currently experiencing a high in polls. In Saxony it was 35 percent in a survey by the opinion research institute Insa at the beginning of September, in Thuringia it was 34 percent a few weeks ago and 28 percent in Brandenburg.
Thuringian state politicians such as the parliamentary group leader of the Left in the state parliament, Steffen Dittes, fear the “normalization of a right-wing extremist party”. In Thuringia, the AfD and its leader Höcke are classified and monitored by the state Office for the Protection of the Constitution as proven right-wing extremists. Dittes feared that normalizing the AfD at local level would in the long term remove barriers "that still exist at the state and federal level."