German AfD Party Asks Supporters to Register as Observers On Federal Election

German AfD Party Asks Supporters to Register as Observers On Federal Election”

Founded in 2013 by an anti-euro group of academics, the AfD surged as an anti-immigrant group in the wake of Merkel's 2015 decision to leave German borders open to over a million migrants, a lot of them fleeing war in the Middle East.

The hill-top town of Bautzen, in Saxony near Germany's borders with the Czech Republic and Poland, has been a visible example of such disillusionment, with clashes breaking out in the streets a year ago between residents and asylum-seekers.

The shock move comes following election results that saw the AfD take 12.6 per cent of the vote, becoming the first far-right party to win seats in the Bundestag for half a century.

"I decided after careful reflection that I will not sit with the (AfD) parliamentary group", Petry told a Berlin press conference before abruptly exiting the room without taking any questions, leaving her colleagues visibly baffled, the Guardian reported.

AfD has been "very very successful in propagating nationalistic, authoritarian values and ideology, and that is not just going to go away anytime soon", says Elisabeth Wehling, a political language researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, who's been studying the German election.

Schuster added: "I expect all our democratic forces to unveil the real face of the AfD and to expose the party's empty, populist promises".

"It's simply fear of losing out, and concern that what they have today could be lost, be it through globalization, be it through sharing with refugees", she said.

Between 90 and 99 percent of AfD voters say the party understands the issues they care about better than the other parties. He said that the town has fewer than 2 per cent foreign residents, including recent migrants.

Merkel told reporters Monday that the AfD's support in the east was mirrored in some economically depressed areas of the west by voters with similar worries. "One has to talk to the people, approach them, and should by no means judge them for their fears".

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and the Netherlands' Geert Wilders both were quick to congratulate AfD on entering parliament.

She said her aim was to bring about a "conservative turning point" in Parliament in 2021, the next time Germany is due to hold a national election.

Major Jewish groups also expressed alarm and dismay about the nationalists' strong showing on Sunday. The Anti-Defamation League has called the AfD result a "disturbing milestone", saying "its leaders have made anti-Semitic statements and played down the evil of the Nazi regime". Key members challenged Germany's culture of atonement over World War II and the Holocaust.

Still, Gauland insisted that "there is nothing in our party, in our program, that could disturb the Jewish people who live here in Germany".

What does the AfD want? "And we will take back our country and our people". It performed most strongly in Germany's formerly communist and less prosperous east, capturing 22.5 percent of the vote there - 27 percent among male voters.

He added that Austria's right-wing Freedom Party is "the only party where there is a closer relationship".

The 52-year-old, who described himself as "a regular street cop", seemed a little overwhelmed that he was going to have a seat in the country's parliament.

The FDP's Christian Lindner has announced that he too is willing to work with Merkel, however, his party staunchly opposes any sort of wealth taxes and rules out banning internal combustion engines as well.

Hilse said he was eager to get to Berlin to get down to business.

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