Germany’s AfD urches further to the right amid protests

Left-wing protesters clash with police forces outside the Hannover Congress Centrum (HCC) prior to today's AfD federal congress on December 2, 2017 in Hanover, Germany. The AfD won 12.6% of the vote in German federal elections last September, creating the idea the first right-wing party to win Bundestag seats.

Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Left-wing protesters clash with police forces outside the Hannover Congress Centrum (HCC) prior to today’s AfD federal congress on December 2, 2017 in Hanover, Germany. The AfD won 12.6% of the vote in German federal elections last September, creating the idea the first right-wing party to win Bundestag seats.

Germany’s anti-euro, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party appeared to take a lurch further to the right at the weekend, with party members electing a hardline nationalist as co-leader of the party in addition to eschewing more moderate candidates.

During the AfD’s first party congress since German elections in September — which saw the party gain enough votes to enter parliament for once — delegates elected Alexander Gauland to co-lead the party along with Jorg Meuthen.

Gauland replaces Frauke Petry who shocked many by quitting the party after its election success to become an independent member of parliament. The move disappointed more moderate members who had hoped to elect Georg Pazderski, leader of the AfD’s Berlin branch.

The election of Alexander Gauland, who has courted controversy for various remarks relating to World War II, seems to cement the party’s move towards the right. However, speaking to CNBC on Monday, moderate candidate Pazderski denied This particular.

“I think we had a not bad result (at the congress). the idea’s not a move to the right in addition to at This particular point I’m number three inside the party in addition to before I was not inside the top leadership. in addition to the board of the party is actually at This particular point a very moderate party board because a lot of people have been elected to the idea of which share my view of how the party should be developed inside the future,” he said.

The AfD was founded in 2013, largely as a oppositional response to euro zone bailouts at the time, although the idea has gradually changed into more of an anti-immigration party particularly during Europe’s migration crisis which started off in 2015.

Over one million refugees in addition to migrants arrived inside the country in 2015 alone, largely thanks to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to open up the country amid the crisis.

While Germany was largely praised for its response to the crisis, many Germans have decried the decision, leading to a boost for the AfD. The party did well inside the September election winning 12.6 percent of the vote, creating the idea the third-largest party inside the German parliament.

At the party congress This particular weekend, AfD members were shown a video which portrayed Germany as a country overrun with Muslims, stone-throwers in addition to beggars, Reuters reported. Padzerski denied of which the party’s main message was one of protectionism in addition to anti-immigration.

“This particular is actually not the main messaging, What we say is actually of which we have a migration crisis. If you look at Germany, we took almost 2 million people within two years in Germany in addition to there’s something going on which is actually not truly healthy because we have a lot of problems in Germany, we have a lot of problems in Europe. We have a crisis inside the euro, inside the European Union, in addition to we have a lot of problems in Germany inside the education in addition to security systems,” he said.

“We say we have to change something. We have to stop the migration because we can’t solve the problem in Europe,” he added.

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