Direkte Demokratie für Europa

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Kathrin Oertel

Direkte Demokratie für Europa (DDfE; Direct Democracy for Europe) is a campaign group formed by six former organizers of the German anti-Islam Pegida protests, led by the former Pegida treasurer, Kathrin Oertel. DDfE split from Pegida after Pegida's founder, Lutz Bachmann—who had resigned as chairman in late January 2015 after allegations of hate speech and revelations that he had posed as Adolf Hitler for selfies—refused to leave Pegida's 12-person organizing team.[1][2] Oertel, a freelance business consultant from Coswig, Saxony, near Dresden, was previously the second most prominent spokesperson of Pegida.


In contrast to Pegida, which DDfE calls a "protest movement", DDfE claims to take a more moderate position. It calls itself a "reform movement" and places itself "to the right of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany", the centre-right party of Chancellor Angela Merkel,[3]. The activists of DDfE focus on demands for more direct democracy and tend to avoid overt anti-Muslim statements. Oertel was quoted in The Guardian as saying, "We had a real fear that the discontent in Germany could end in civil war, and we wanted to avoid that."[4]

Nonetheless, Oertel stated that she still considered Pegida necessary. According to her, DDfE shares Pegida's goals but adopts different means.

On 6 February 2015, DDfE posted a "position paper" on its Facebook page containing its main demands:[5]

Public protest[edit]

DDfE organized its first public rally at Dresden's Neumarkt on 8 February 2015. The organizers expected up to 5,000 participants, but according to official police estimates, only 500 turned up.[6] According to the organizers, the number of participants was 1,000.[7] This was generally described as disappointing, after Pegida had attracted up to 25,000 protesters in January 2015.

The group drew scorn from the German press for posing in front of a map of Europe that depicted Germany without its northernmost federal state, Schleswig-Holstein (which was attached to Denmark instead), and that featured non-European Union members Ukraine and Belarus while excluding EU member Greece and EU candidates Montenegro and Albania.[8]


  1. ^ "Pegida loses second leader in a week". The Guardian. 28 January 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  2. ^ "More Resignations at Top of Anti-Islam Organization". The New York Times. 28 January 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Ex-PEGIDA Leader Founding New Organization in Germany". New York Times. 2 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  4. ^ Connolly, Kate (3 February 2015). "Former Pegida head starts 'less radical' splinter group". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Direkte Demokratie für Europa, Positionspapier". Direkte Demokratie für Europa. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Nach Pegida-Spaltung: Wenig Zuspruch für Abtrünnige". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 8 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Dresden: Wenig Zulauf für Pegida-Abtrünnige". Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Pegida-Ableger vergisst Schleswig-Holstein". Süddeutsche Zeitung. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.

External links[edit]

  • ddfe.eu - redirects to Facebook page (as of 10 February 2015)