The former AfD chairman Jörg Meuthen has joined the Center Party and wants to continue to exercise his mandate in the European Parliament as its representative in the future.

Meuthen said on Friday that after leaving the AfD in January, he "looked around the spectrum of existing parties" for a political homeland "that suits me the way I am".

Johannes Leithauser

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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The Center Party has the longest history in German parliamentarism, but has lost all influence at the federal political level for 65 years.

Its Federal Treasurer Hans-Joachim Woitzik said that the number of members was 300 at the beginning of the year and has now risen to 500;

many other new applications for membership could not yet have been processed.

No "collective pool of AfDlers"

Six months ago, Uwe Witt, a member of the Bundestag, left the AfD and joined the centre.

Party chairman Christian Otte said the center sees itself as a party of the bourgeois, social and Christian center in Germany.

She wanted to make a political offer to those people who no longer felt understood by the Union parties and the SPD and "give the neglected part of the bourgeoisie a voice again".

The center wants to compete in the state elections in Lower Saxony in autumn and thus set "a first exclamation mark".

One is in the process of collecting the 2000 support signatures that are necessary for participation in the state elections.

Meuthen and Otte asserted that no attempt was made to persuade dissatisfied AfD members to join the Center Party.

Meuthen said he knew that in the AfD "people were sitting on packed suitcases", but that would "not lead to mass entries" at the center.

Otte said his party wanted "to be very restrictive";

she does not want to become a "collecting pool of AfD people" and not an "AfD two point zero".

For membership applications from former AfD members, the center has “developed a set of tools”, and there will be a case-by-case assessment.

The admission of former AfD members is justifiable "in homeopathic doses".

The well-known former AfD members Meuthen and Witt, on the other hand, should help "start a successful future," said Otte.

He spoke of a personal and programmatic modernization of his party.

Meuthen argued that the high number of non-voters shows that there is a large potential for disappointed former supporters of the Union and the SPD.

Meuthen again justified his exit from the AfD and his resignation as their "federal spokesman".

He was not able to "put the AfD on the course that I always thought was the right one".

Pointing out that the AfD is now being observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a suspected right-wing extremist, he praised his new political homeland: "I give you letter and seal that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution will never be interested in the Center Party."

The AfD member of parliament Norbert Kleinwächter, who wants to run for party chairmanship at an AfD federal party conference in a week, commented on Meuthen's entry into the center party with the assessment that this was "not a successful model".

There is no point in "warming up old structures".