German election: AfD vows to fight ‘invasion of foreigners’
25 September 2017
Germany’s right-wing, nationalist AfD party has vowed to fight “an invasion of foreigners” into the country, after winning its first parliamentary seats.
“We want a different policy,” co-leader Alexander Gauland said following the historic surge.
But splits have already emerged between AfD leaders on the party’s direction.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has been re-elected for a fourth term but her conservative CDU/CSU bloc received its worst result in almost 70 years.
Mrs Merkel is beginning negotiations to form a new coalition government.
Her bloc’s current coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), say they will go into opposition after historic losses. But Chancellor Merkel said she would still approach them for talks, in addition to the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens.
AfD’s campaign capitalised on a backlash over Mrs Merkel’s decision to open Germany’s borders to undocumented migrants and refugees in 2015, mainly from the Middle East.
Its success has shocked Germany’s political establishment, and protests against the anti-Islam party have been held in several cities following the election result.
“One million people, foreigners, being brought into this country are taking away a piece of this country and we as AfD don’t want that,” Mr Gauland told a news conference on Monday.
“We say I don’t want to lose Germany to an invasion of foreigners from a different culture. Very simple.”
He said AFD (Alternative for Germany) – which is expected to take 94 seats in the 709-seat federal parliament as the third-largest party – had been elected “to uncompromisingly address” immigration issues.
But discord is already evident in the party – with another leader, Frauke Petry, declaring at the same news conference she would not join AfD’s parliamentary group despite winning a seat, before abruptly leaving the room to the surprise of other leaders.
Ms Petry, who is the best-known AfD figure, said there was “disagreement over content” in the party.(Agencies)