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Monday, September 5, 2016
Rising nationalism boosts Germany’s populist AfD to polls victory
BERLIN (AFP) — Populist party “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) began life at the height of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis in 2013 on an anti-euro platform, but it has now firmly repositioned itself as a xenophobic group.
After fears over a potential euro collapse waned, the party turned its anger against a million asylum-seekers who arrived in Germany last year.
It has steadily gained popularity even though leading AfD members regularly sparked outrage over racist remarks — including one suggesting that a German team with fewer non-white players could have beaten France in the Euro 2016 semi-final.
Exit polls in Sunday’s regional elections in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania show support reaching around 21 percent for the party, unseating Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union from second place.
Merkel had urged voters to shun AfD, which she described as a party that offers no solutions to problems, and which is simply a protest platform espousing hate.READ MORE