The co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, Alice Weidel, is under mounting pressure to resign following media reports that she received €130,000 in dubious campaign donations from Switzerland ahead of last year’s election.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Weidel’s district office near Lake Constance received a total of €130,000 in several tranches of mainly 9,000 Swiss franc amounts (€7,900) between July and September 2017. This was originally reported by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and broadcasters NDR and WDR. The donations were made by a Swiss pharmaceutical company.
Weidel, who was the party’s lead candidate in the elections, said that she first learned of the “unsolicited” donations in September last year and decided to return the money after having doubts about its legality.
But the repayment did not take place until April 2018, according to the report, and the amount returned was some €6,000 less than the amount originally received.
According to DW, the report sparked strong reactions from Germany’s centre-left parties. Green party politician Britta Hasselmann said the donation appeared to be dubious and demanded that all facts be put on the table.
Johannes Kahrs from the Social Democrats (SPD) told German business newspaper Handelsblatt that the Bundestag should closely examine the entire affair. “If the donation was illegal, Weidel must resign,” he said.