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World Germany's divided far-right AfD to launch election bid

08:30  10 april  2021
08:30  10 april  2021 Source:   afp.com

How the far right got a stranglehold on the West

  How the far right got a stranglehold on the West In the past, the rise of far-right ideology has surged ahead in Europe and the US in unison.Figuring out who, or what, emboldened that mass of people to challenge the legitimacy of American democracy has been the subject of much debate ever since.

The Alternative for Germany is the country' s most successful far - right party since the war. But the latest state election results suggest its popularity may have hit a ceiling. This should be a good time for the Alternative for Germany ( AfD ), if only because Germany has to choose an alternative: Chancellor Angela Merkel is no longer a candidate in September' s federal election , leaving the country facing the kind of inevitable upheaval that an anti-mainstream party should be able to exploit.

The far - right Alternative for Germany ( AfD ) is dipping in the polls after dithering over the coronavirus lockdown. Now it has thrown out one of its most prominent extremists. Germany ' s most successful postwar far - right party is stricken — divided over its coronavirus strategy and riven with civil war — but that doesn't mean it's dead. The leadership of the Alternative for Germany ( AfD ) dropped a metaphorical hand grenade into the party last week by throwing out Andreas Kalbitz, party leader in the eastern state of Brandenburg and a leading member of Der Flügel, (The Wing) the hardcore faction of

The far-right AfD will firm up its election manifesto this weekend as Germany prepares for the post-Merkel era, with the party seeking to reverse a lag in support amid infighting and an ailing effort to capitalise on the pandemic.

a person holding a sign: The far-right AfD is set to firm up its election manifesto this weekend as Germany prepares for the post-Merkel era © JENS SCHLUETER The far-right AfD is set to firm up its election manifesto this weekend as Germany prepares for the post-Merkel era a woman talking on a cell phone: The AfD's slogan, © HANNIBAL HANSCHKE The AfD's slogan, "Merkel must go", will be in need of an overhaul when the veteran chancellor steps down

Members of the anti-Islam, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany will gather for a party congress in Dresden on Saturday and Sunday, despite coronavirus restrictions, to finalise their strategy ahead of the general election on September 26.

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Germany ' s domestic intelligence agency is investigating the far - right Alternative for Germany — the largest opposition party in parliament — according to national media. The move comes ahead of national elections . The BfV is apparently unable to announce the decision officially because of an ongoing legal dispute. A court in the city of Cologne last week rejected an urgent motion by the AfD to stop the BfV from placing it under formal investigation. The party said any announcement that it was being investigated would undermine its right to fight the election on an equal footing to other political

Alternative for Germany ( German : Alternative für Deutschland, AfD ) is a German nationalist and right -wing populist political party, known for its opposition to the European Union and immigration.

a group of people on a sidewalk: Germany's far-right AfD is set to launch an election bid as Angela Merkel prepares to step down after 16 years as chancellor © ARMANDO BABANI Germany's far-right AfD is set to launch an election bid as Angela Merkel prepares to step down after 16 years as chancellor

With Angela Merkel stepping down after 16 years as chancellor, the AfD's "Merkel must go" slogan will need an overhaul.

The AfD caused a sensation in Germany's last election in 2017 when it secured almost 13 percent of the vote, entering parliament for the first time as the largest opposition party.

But it has lost support as Germany reels from the coronavirus pandemic, and has lately been plagued by internal divisions, links to radical Covid-19 deniers and accusations of ties to neo-Nazi fringe groups.

Latest surveys have the party polling at between 10 and 12 percent, with Merkel's CDU/CSU on around 27 percent and the resurgent Greens not far behind.

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Höcke’s far - right stance is viewed critically within the party, with many AfD members accusing him of threatening its unity. But his ability to draw such an increase in support despite the criticism – even in a state that bears the scars of Germany ’ s Nazi past with Buchenwald concentration camp – is likely to The AfD was formed in 2014 as an anti-establishment force opposed to the euro. It quickly evolved to become an anti-immigrant party following the refugee crisis of 2015 when almost one million refugees arrived in Germany . More recently it has concentrated on highlighting the unjust treatment of eastern

Support for the far - right AfD dropped, briefly jeopardizing its seats in Hamburg' s state parliament. The center-left Social Democrats (SPD) have won the regional election in Hamburg, with partial results from Sunday' s election indicating that the party will maintain leadership in the northern German city-state. Provisional results from the electoral commission showed the SPD winning 39.0% of the vote.

- 'Corona dictatorship' -

In key regional elections in the southern states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate in March, the AfD saw its support plunge by around a third.

The drop in support has coincided with AfD members courting controversy by joining anti-vaxxers and "Querdenker" (Lateral Thinkers) at various demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions.

Parliamentary group co-leader Alexander Gauland has accused the government of "war propaganda" and seeking to establish a "corona dictatorship".


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During a violent mass protest in November, AfD members were accused of letting far-right activists into the Reichstag parliament building.

The party has also been hit by revelations that the government intends to place it under surveillance for posing a threat to democracy.

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Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned his election . Kemmerich, of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), was also backed by the local branch of Merkel’ s Christian Democrats (CDU) – triggering a political earthquake. As protesters took to the streets of Berlin and Erfurt, the capital of At the state election last October, the FDP only just cleared the 5% bar to enter the regional parliament. Early rounds of voting in the parliament led to expectations that the left-wing Die Linke party would stay in office as head of a “red-red-green” coalition. But in the third round, the AfD unexpectedly ditched its

The AfD launched in 2013. Its founders were mostly academics — economic liberals, not right -wingers — who opposed the eurozone bailout policies. But the type of conservative German who believes that the euro is all about Greeks having a laugh at Germany ’ s expense tends to be suspicious of So far , the AfD is no more extreme than other parties of its kind. And in the best case scenario, the populists’ rise in the political system would have a mitigating effect on the country’s angry 30 percent. In a recent interview with Der Spiegel, AfD leader Petry said that what Germany needs is “a healthy kind of

Media reports in March said the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) had classified the AfD as a "suspected case" of right-wing extremism, paving the way for intelligence agents to tap its communications and possibly use undercover informants.

The AfD is challenging the classification in emergency proceedings, accusing the BfV of not taking sufficient care to prevent the information from leaking to the press.

As well as finalising its manifesto at the Dresden conference, some of the party's more right-wing members also want the AfD to decide who will lead it into the election campaign.

But party co-leader Joerg Meuthen, who represents the AfD's more moderate wing, wants the decision to be made later by a vote among all party members.

The AfD has long been bitterly divided between those who support Meuthen and a more radical faction, known as The Wing, loyal to firebrand Bjoern Hoecke.

- Pariah party -

The AfD is likely to choose a two-person team to lead it into the election, with Meuthen's co-president Tino Chrupalla considered the likely contender.

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Many members would like to see him joined by economist and parliamentary group co-leader Alice Weidel, but Meuthen's supporters would prefer the more moderate Joana Cotar. 

Starting out as an anti-euro outfit in 2013, the AfD capitalised on public anger over Merkel's 2015 decision to allow in a wave of asylum seekers from conflict-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The hard-right party has often courted controversy by calling for Germany to stop atoning for its World War II crimes. Gauland once described the Nazi era as just "a speck of bird poo" on German history.

The AfD has "dramatically radicalised itself" in recent years, which has "divided the party in two", political scientist Hajo Funke of Berlin's Free University, who specialises in the far right, told AFP.

He noted a series of deadly right-wing extremist attacks against immigrants and Jews committed since 2019 had left the political far right "isolated" while the AfD had only managed to offer a "chaotic back-and-forth" in the face of the pandemic.

"For now it is not considered a party with which you could form a coalition," given the political mainstream's still united front in treating the AfD as a pariah.

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