"We were never a right-wing party"

By Pascal SteinwachsLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Next month, the Alternativ Demokratisch Reformpartei (adr) celebrates its 35th birthday. Gast Gibéryen has been the face of the adr for decades and was already there when it was not even a political party yet. It is clear that such a man of the first hour has many stories to tell.

When Jean-Claude Juncker became Prime Minister in January 1995, he threatened the then Action Committee for Democracy and Pension Justice to make it disappear from the political scene, indeed to show it once and for all "wou de Bock d'Lach huet", as Juncker did not exactly express himself statesmanlike at the time. Well, Juncker is now politically retired, but the adr is still there.

Reason enough to talk to the probably best known and most likely still most popular adr politician, Gast Gibéryen. Unlike the current party leadership, he was respected by his political opponents during the time he was active. After 31 years of uninterrupted membership in the Chamber of Deputies, Gibéryen retired from parliament in October 2020, where he was succeeded by the controversial co-founder of the Wee2050/Nee2015 referendum movement Fred Keup, who recently also took over the party chairmanship.

Castle lord Gast Gibéryen

Along with Honorary President Robert Mehlen and North MP Jeff Engelen, Gast Gibéryen is one of the last Mohicans of the Action Committee or the old adr, which has changed a lot over the years and is now run by completely different people. Instead of craftsmen like Gibéryen and Engelen, academics are now in charge. A protest movement for more pension justice has become a party that has moved more and more to the right.

A fortnight ago, we visited a deeply relaxed Gast Gibéryen on an almost summery day at his home in Frisingen, which he shares with his wife, two dogs and a whole row of chickens. He gives the eggs to friends and neighbours. He built the house himself when he was young, and after more than 40 years in politics ─ first as a local politician, then in the Chamber of Deputies ─ he spends his newfound free time mainly travelling. The 71-year-old does not miss working in parliament at all; he does not even watch Chamber TV, and he has not yet read the Chamberbliedchen.

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