Nordhausen Town Hall: Far-Right Conquest Foiled

We voted this Sunday, September 24 in Nordhausen, in Thuringia (east), to elect the mayor of this municipality of 42,000 inhabitants. Rarely has an election in a small German town been so closely followed.

With 42% of the vote in the first round, the candidate of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, Jörg Prophet, was the favorite. The party was almost sure of achieving a third local success this year, but this time with another dimension: Nordhausen has 42,000 inhabitants.

Ultimately, the outgoing mayor won with a ten-point lead, causing widespread relief in the region and in Germany. “The inhabitants of Nordhausen have mostly opted for a plural and tolerant city, aware of its responsibility towards history,” reacted the director of the Dora memorials, next to Nordhausen, and Buchenwald, two former Nazi concentration camps.

The campaign against the candidate of the party who relativized Nazi crimes evoking the “cult of guilt” in Germany will undoubtedly have mobilized voters. Upon arrival, the outgoing mayor without a label, despite political quarrels and accusations of moral harassment, won with 55% of the votes, or thirty points more than two weeks ago. In Thuringia and elsewhere, the other parties, apart from the AfD, welcomed this result. But the far-right party remains the leading force in this region of eastern Germany where we vote next year. Recently, the AfD obtained 35% in a poll.

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