"I suspect — although we have no empirical evidence to prove it — that the effect [of the Austrian video scandal] was not very strong. But we can’t claim there was no impact at all. It must have swallowed a few votes", Joerg Meuten admitted at a press briefing in Berlin.
Meuten, who was AfD’s top candidate for the European election, praised the party’s performance, saying it had "firmly established itself" in the country’s political spectrum, before accusing the radical left and the media of a massive campaign to undermine AfD.
"We have been massively hindered by acts that can only be called leftist terrorism. Our election vehicles were torched… people posting our campaign posters were attacked… Media campaigns were against us. This prevented us from better reaching out to people", he said.
A week before the elections to the European Parliament, media published a video showing former Austrian Vice-Chancellor and leader of Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) Heinz-Christian Strache allegedly making an illegal deal in Ibiza with a woman posed as a niece of a Russian oligarch. Strache denied allegations of any illegal agreements. The video, however, forced the official to resign and led to major reshuffles in the Austrian cabinet.
AfD won 11 percent of the vote, coming in fourth place after the conservative Christian Democratic Union and the Greens with 28.9 percent and 20.5 percent respectively. The Socialists, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partners, were third with 15.8 percent.