The results from the German elections are out and a party called the AfD are grabbing international headlines. But who is this radical right wing group and what do they stand for?
They are the first radical right wing party in Germany’s Bundestag since 1945, and there’s a ‘real danger’ their influence will grow, the Huffington Post has reported.
In just four years, the AfD has gone from a eurosceptic party, focussing on rolling back the Eurozone, to a fiercely anti-Islam one whose leader said, as hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived, that police should shoot migrants dead if they tried to cross the border.
It has campaigned in the German elections with posters declaring: “Islam does not belong to Germany.”
Bolstered by new voters who resent how Angela Merkel welcomed refugees, produced the biggest shock of Sunday’s elections, after a relatively staid, pedestrian campaign but one that guaranteed to return Merkel as chancellor.
The AfD is set to pick up its first seats in the Bundestag to become the first far right party to reach the national parliament since the defeat of the Nazis.
It looks set to be the third largest party, after Merkel’s CDU and the left-wing SDP, and win up to 90 of the 598 seats with 13 percent of the vote, the Huffington Post reported.
In the words of one expert, the AfD arriving in the Bundestag represents “a real danger”.
The new stars of the party include Alice Weidel, a 38-year-old former investment banker, who has dismissed gay marriage, despite herself being gay.
She has said those who come to Germany as refugees are not qualified enough to be allowed in. She said: “We don’t need illiterate people.”
Another star is Alex Gauland, 76, candidate for Chancellor, who recently said Germans should be “proud” of what their soldiers did in both world wars, and according to the UK’s Telegraph, has called for Germany to “reclaim its past” and take pride in the military achievements of the Nazis. He is also under police investigation on suspicion of inciting racial hatred in a campaign speech. The AfD is being monitored by German intelligence over concerns it could be a “threat to the constitution.”
Both Weidel and Gauland are candidates for the Bundestag.
Like the Front National in France, it has clashed with how its country remembers the Holocaust, the Huffington Post reported.
A regional party leader called Berlin’s memorial to Jews murdered in the Holocaust a “monument of shame” and called for Germany to stop atoning for its crimes so emphatically.
Click here for the full story at the Huffington Post.
Image source: JOHN MACDOUGALL VIA GETTY IMAGES
Photo caption: 'New Germans? Let’s make them ourselves,’ says an AfD poster, vandalised with the word ‘Nazis.’