Liberal Conservative Reformers

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Liberal Conservative Reformers
Liberal-Konservative Reformer
Abbreviation LKR
Chairman Bernd Kölmel
Founded 19 July 2015
Split from Alternative for Germany
Membership (2015) 2,000
Ideology Liberal conservatism
Economic liberalism
Soft Euroscepticism
Political position Centre-right
European affiliation Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe
International affiliation None
European Parliament group European Conservatives and Reformists
Bundestag
0 / 709
State Parliaments
3 / 1,855
European Parliament
5 / 96
Website
lkr.de

The Liberal Conservative Reformers (German: Liberal-Konservative Reformer, LKR) is a centre-right political party in Germany which was known from July 2015 to November 2016 as ALFA.

The party was established in July 2015 as a split from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) led by former AfD spokesman Bernd Lucke.[1][2][3] It was founded as the Alliance for Progress and Renewal (Allianz für Fortschritt und Aufbruch, ALFA), but changed its name in November 2016 after litigation with the pro-life movement "Aktion Lebensrecht für Alle" (Action Right to Live for Everybody) which uses the same abbreviation (Alfa).[4]

The party is represented by five MEPs in the European Parliament (as members of the European Conservatives and Reformists group) and three members of the Bürgerschaft of Bremen due to their formal withdrawal from the AfD.

History[edit]

The party founding was preceded by months of power struggle between Bernd Lucke and Frauke Petry for AfD party leadership, the latter being leader of the party's national-conservative wing.[5] In the course of the dispute Lucke and leading AfD members with liberal-conservative and economic liberal orientations founded the association Weckruf 2015 (wake-up call 2015) out of concern for a perceived right-wing populist tendency in the AfD.

At an extraordinary party convention in Essen on 4 July 2015, Lucke was defeated in the election for chairman by his opponent Petry, who received 60% of the vote.[6] The following week, 5 AfD MEPs exited the party on 7 July 2015, and Lucke announced his resignation from the party on 8 July,[7][8] leading to the formation of the ALFA party.

ALFA was formally founded on 19 July 2015 at a closed inaugural meeting of 70 people in Kassel, Hesse where statutes and a party platform were approved and Bernd Lucke MEP was elected chairman.[2][9] Also selected as its foundation were its deputy chairmen was Bernd Kölmel MEP, Gunther Nickel and Reiner Rohlje, and the general secretary Ulrike Trebesius MEP.[10]

It has been estimated that 20% percent of the then AfD membership moved to ALFA with Lucke.[11]

On 18 March 2016, ALFA was admitted into the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists.[12]

The party met on 4 June 2016 for its second convention, at which Ulrike Trebesius, member of the European Parliament, was elected party chairwoman. On her side her fellow MEP Bernd Kölmel, Ulrich van Suntum, professor of economics at Münster University and chairman of the party at state level in Northrhine-Westphalia, and Christian Schäfer, chair of the ALFA caucus in the state parliament of Bremen, were elected vice chairmen. Bernd Lucke was instead elected almost unanimously the party's number one candidate for the next general election in Germany, that will be held in 2017.[13] Later that year Trebesius resigned from office. Thus Christian Kott from Bremen was elected chairman on 12 November 2016, in Frankfurt. On the same convention party delegates also changed the party's name to Liberal-Conservative Reformers. Since then the party name is often abbreviated LKR.

On 17 September 2017, a new party executive committee was elected, with Bernd Kölmel as party chairman.[14] Other members of the executive committee include Bernd Lucke, Ulrike Trebesius and Hans-Olaf Henkel.

Former party acronym ALFA[edit]

The association "Action right to live for all" (Aktion Lebensrecht für Alle), shortened Alfa in German, took legal action against the party because of the usage of the same acronym. The pro-life movement won at the Augsburg regional court. If the party was to disobey, it would be subject to a fine of 250,000 euros.[15] Consequently, the party changed its name to "Liberal-Konservative Reformer" (Liberal-Conservative Reformers).[4]

Separately, the German subsidiary of Alfa Romeo, the Italian car manufacturer, was reported as considering taking legal action against the party over the use of the acronym ALFA.[16]

Party platform[edit]

The party criticises the low-, zero- and negative-interest policies of the European Central Bank.[17] It also emphasises Western alignment with NATO and the EU as the foundation of a transatlantic security structure. LKR favors free trade in general and under certain conditions the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). It supports immigration of suitably qualified candidates on the Canadian Model. The party rejects a minimum wage, but prefers a so-called activating minimum income for every citizen. The party describes itself as morally conservative, economically liberal and as an advocate of technological progress. The party fully rejects extremism of every kind.

Hans-Olaf Henkel has stated that since the party split from the AfD in July 2015 that the media no longer take notice of the party, stating it will be a "challenge" for the five LKR MEPs to be re-elected in 2019.[18] Henkel, who will be 79 in 2019, does not plan to stand for election again.[18]

Party structure[edit]

The party has a branch organisation in each of the sixteen German states. In many states there are also regional organisations. Additionally there is a Youth Organisation, Junge Reformer (Young Reformers), shortened jure. Jure's chairman was also elected vice chairman of the European Young Conservatives. There are also a club of women within the party and an official group for small and medium-sized firm owners.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ex-chief of German anti-euro party starts new eurosceptic group". Yahoo News. 19 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Germany's ex-AfD leader sets up new eurosceptic party". Reuters UK.
  3. ^ SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg, Germany (19 July 2015). "ALFA: AfD-Gründer Bernd Lucke gründet neue Partei". SPIEGEL ONLINE.
  4. ^ a b GmbH, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (2016-11-13). "Partei um Bernd Lucke: Alfa findet einen neuen Namen". FAZ.NET (in German). Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  5. ^ "Ousted chief of Germany′s euroskeptic AfD sets up new political party - News - DW.COM - 19.07.2015". DW.COM.
  6. ^ "Germany's euroskeptic AfD elects conservative leader Petry". Deutsche Welle. 4 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Nach "Richtungsentscheidung" AfD meldet Hunderte Austritte" (in German). N-TV. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  8. ^ Barkin, Noah (8 July 2015). "German AfD founder leaves party decrying xenophobic shift". Reuters. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  9. ^ "German Eurosceptic leader Lucke sets up Alfa party". BBC News.
  10. ^ "Bernd Lucke als Chef: AfD-Abtrünnige gründen neue Partei "Alfa"". handelsblatt.com.
  11. ^ Scholz, KayAlexander (28 November 2015). "AfD upbraids Merkel, migrants at Hanover party congress". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  12. ^ "ACRE - EUROPE'S FASTEST GROWING POLITICAL MOVEMENT". aecr.eu. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-09. Retrieved 2016-07-11.
  14. ^ "Liberal-Konservative Reformer(LKR) wählen neuen Bundesvorstand". 17 September 2017.
  15. ^ KG, STADTZEITUNG Werbeverlag und Reisebüro GmbH & Co. "Gericht verbietet Name "Alfa": Augsburger Verein kontra Bernd Lucke". stadtzeitung.de. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  16. ^ Hill, Jenny (21 July 2015). "What next for Germany's Eurosceptic AfD party?". BBC News. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  17. ^ Party program (in German) [1] retrieved on 20 July 2015
  18. ^ a b Teffer, Peter (30 October 2015). "Germany's anti-euro party which became two". euobserver. Retrieved 13 November 2015.

External links[edit]