The AfD failed in the mayoral election in Nordhausen, Thuringia. According to preliminary results, the independent incumbent Kai Buchmann surprisingly prevailed against the AfD candidate Jörg Prophet in a runoff election. This was announced by the city’s election office. Accordingly, after a long neck-and-neck race, Buchmann received 54.9 percent of the votes, Prophet 45.1 percent. The voter turnout was 59.3 percent.

The AfD man Prophet had already admitted his defeat before the result was announced. “We have a new mayor. The Prophet has become number two in this election,” said the 61-year-old entrepreneur in a press statement. He is pleased that the city now has continuity again for six years. Buchmann said he was “very happy” about the result. He wants to spend the next six years trying to “get the best out of the city.” He has observed a large mobilization in the city in the past two weeks. That showed that the result could turn around again.

The AfD was therefore unable to continue its series of successes in local elections in East Germany. In June, Robert Sesselmann was elected Germany’s first AfD district administrator in the southern Thuringian district of Sonneberg, and a little later an AfD candidate won the mayoral election in Raguhn-Jeßnitz (Saxony-Anhalt).

Celebrate the result

The count was accompanied by applause in the Nordhausen council chamber, whenever Buchmann was ahead or his lead increased. Outside the building, dozens of people gathered and cheered shortly before the result was announced. Some had posters with them that were directed against the AfD. When the result was announced, long-lasting cheers broke out in the council chamber. Buchmann walked around and offered his hands to cheering supporters and hugged fellow supporters.

In Nordhausen, the AfD candidate Prophet, a 61-year-old entrepreneur, was considered the favorite after the first round of voting two weeks ago. On September 10th he received 42.1 percent of the vote, Buchmann only 23.7 percent. If he were successful in the runoff election, Prophet would have been the first mayor in Germany with an AfD party membership. The Thuringian AfD is classified and monitored by the state Office for the Protection of the Constitution as proven right-wing extremist, and the party is a suspected case nationwide.

Nazi history in Nordhausen

Nordhausen has around 42,000 inhabitants and is an industrial and university town. The Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial is located on the outskirts of the city. The National Socialists deported around 60,000 people to the camp, and at least 20,000 prisoners died.

Before the runoff election, several politicians, associations and organizations warned against electing the AfD candidate Prophet. The director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, Jens-Christian Wagner, had accused Prophet, among other things, of historical revisionism. In the Thuringian Constitutional Protection Report 2021, a text by Prophet was also cited as an example of the AfD’s “historical revisionist agenda”.

Buchmann also came under criticism before the election. Disciplinary proceedings are still ongoing against him. In the meantime, he had been suspended from work due to allegations of bullying, among other things, but a court later overturned this.