The former co-head of the far-right AfD has kicked off her "Blue party" and its corresponding civil forum the "Blue Change." Although Petry's promises an alternative to the AfD, their platforms sing a very similar tune.
"Free and conservative" and blue all over — former co-leader of the Alternative for Germany
Frauke Petry publically announced the founding of her new "Blue party" in a newspaper interview and is set to officially kick it off on Friday.
The former co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) left the party she helped build up just days after it garnered 12.6 percent Germany's general election in late September.
Read more: Frauke Petry, former AfD leader, eyes separate political group
In an interview with newspaper group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) published late on Thursday night, Petry said the new conservative party would appeal to a large number of people in Germany.
"Blue stands for conservative, but also liberal policies in Germany and in Europe," Petry told RND.
The "Blue party" is hoping to snatch voters across the political spectrum, from those who voted for Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the far-right AfD.
"Nearly every third German would like to opt for a reasonable, conservative political offering," Petry said. "Many of them voted out of desperation for the FDP, AfD or even once more for Merkel."
The 42-year-old chemist also noted that the color blue helped build the popularity of Bavaria's Merkel-allied Christian Social Union (CSU) — a party whose political successes she hopes to replicate.
Read more: AfD accuses ex-chief Frauke Petry of stealing party member data
Party founded before election
In the RND interview, Petry said that after the AfD's party congress in Cologne in April, she realized that she wanted to leave the party after September's election. During the party congress, AfD members refused to accept Petry's slightly more moderate proposals.
German media reported on Thursday that the "Blue party" was registered ahead of federal elections on September 17 by one of Petry's advisors.
Petry dismissed her oft-critiqued decision to keep her parliament seat even though she won it on the AfD ticket.
"The mandate doesn't belong to the party, even if it was won with party funds," she said, adding that she would remain loyal to her voters.
Read more: German prosecutors press charges against ex-AfD head Frauke Petry for perjury
AfD influence strong in Blue platform
When Petry quit the AfD, she criticized other leading party figures for their extreme views, particularly when it comes to their position on Muslims in Germany, but has voiced her own anti-immigrant views for years.
Despite her efforts to distance herself from her former party, the "Blue party's" fledgling manifesto appears to have borrowed heavily from the AfD playbook.
Like the AfD, Petry's Blue party wants to install controls on all of Germany's borders and wantsto deport foreigners who commit crimes or are flagged as potentially dangerous to be deported "without exception."
The party also wants to restrict the right to asylum and rejects dual passports as an "integration hurdle."
Regarding the Muslim faith, the party manifesto states that "political Islam" opposes German values, rather than the AfD's more blanket statement that "Islam does not belong to Germany."
The head of the AfD in Leipzig was the center of controversy in 2016 when newspapers reported that a car in his motor pool had the license plate: "AH 1818." "AH" are the initials of Adolf Hitler. 1 and 8, the first and eighth letters of the alphabet, are considered a code for Adolf Hitler among neo-Nazi groups.
As the AfD's lead candidate in Rhineland-Palatinate, the 28-year-old Münzenmaier cruised to a seat in the Bundestag. Münzenmaier made headlines in October when he was convicted of being an accessory to assault in a case of football hooliganism. But because that's considered a minor offense, he is able to exercise his mandate.
The 75-year-old former CDU man is the AfD's choice for Bundestag vice-president, but members of the other parties say they won't approve his candidacy. Glaser once opined that Muslims shouldn't enjoy freedom of religion because Islam is a political ideology. Critics reject that view as unconstitutional.
Frohnmaier is the chair of the party's youth organization, Junge Alternative. The 28-year-old wrote in August 2016 on Facebook that "our generation will suffer the most" from Merkel's decision to "flood this country with the shoddy proletariat from Africa and the Orient."
The former soldier from Lower Saxony once told a journalist that he had no problem with "Germany for the Germans," a phrase that is often used by neo-Nazi groups. He has also collectively described the Green Party and The Left party as "constitutional enemy No. 1."
Wilhelm von Gottberg
The 77-year-old from Brandenburg was vice president of the Federation of Expellees (BdV) until 2012. He wrote in the newspaper "Ostpreussenblatt" in 2001 that he agreed with the statement that the Holocaust was a "myth" and an "effective instrument to criminalize the Germans and their history."
In January, the Dresden judge railed against the "creation of mixed nationalities" that are "destroying national identity." He has also called for an end to Germany's "culture of guilt" surrounding the country's actions in the Second World War.
Beatrix von Storch
The AfD's vice-chair is an MP in the European parliament and is known for her hardline conservative views. In 2016, she replied affirmatively to a Facebook user who had asked her whether armed force should be used to stop women with children from illegally entering Germany. She later apologized for the comment.
One of the AfD's top candidates, Gauland was widely criticized after suggesting that the German government's commissioner for integration, Aydan Özoguz, should be "disposed of" in Turkey because she had said that there was no specifically German culture beyond the German language.
The 38-year-old economist was the AfD's other top candidate. Despite living in Switzerland, Weidel ran for the Baden-Württemberg constituency of Bodensee. She drew criticism for describing Germany's integration commissioner Aydan Özoguz, who has Turkish roots, as a "stain" and a "disgrace." In a contested email attributed to Weidel, she called Angela Merkel's government "pigs" and "puppets."
For a long time Frauke Petry was the face of the AfD, and she's one of the more recognizable figures in the Bundestag. But she's no longer a member of the right-wing populist party. Petry quit shortly after the election after falling out with other leaders. Because she won her voting district outright, she still gets a Bundestag mandate, where she sits as an independent.