Right-wing party wants end to mass immigration

(From left) Members of the hard-right party AfD (Alternative fur Deutschland) Joerg Meuthen, Alexander Gauland, Alice Weidel and Frauke Petry pose before attending a press conference on Sept 25, 2017 in Berlin.
(From left) Members of the hard-right party AfD (Alternative fur Deutschland) Joerg Meuthen, Alexander Gauland, Alice Weidel and Frauke Petry pose before attending a press conference on Sept 25, 2017 in Berlin. PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN • The right-wing Alternative for Germany, or AfD, emerged as the big winner in Germany's general election. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the party:

Q When was the AfD formed?

A The youngest party in Parliament, the AfD started in 2013 as an anti-euro movement and won 4.7 per cent in that year's national election, just short of the 5 per cent margin needed to win parliamentary seats.

Sunday's national result was not a complete surprise: The AfD has won seats in 13 of Germany's 16 state legislatures, including a 24.3 per cent share of the vote in the eastern region of Saxony Anhalt last year.

Q Who are its leaders?

A The party's most recognisable figure is the more "moderate" Ms Frauke Petry, who led a failed bid to isolate the AfD's extremist fringes. The party's two lead candidates in the election are opposites. Representing the "far-right" faction is 76-year-old lawyer and journalist Alexander Gauland. The "moderate" faction is personified by 38-year-old economist Alice Weidel.

Q What does the party want?

A The party's platform calls for immediate closure of Germany's borders to stop "unregulated mass immigration", including many "illiterates" who cannot be integrated into society.

It wants Germany's liberal political asylum rules reframed to serve the national interest, a referendum on leaving the euro and returning to the Deutsche mark and economic sanctions on Russia lifted.

The European Union should be organised more as a club of sovereign nation-states and German culture must be protected against "Islamisation", according to the AfD.

Q What does it mean for Germany's political system?

A The AfD's success, combined with the anti-capitalist Left party's score, means more than one in five voters supported the political fringe. Even so, all established parties say they will not partner with the AfD. Like other parties in Parliament, the AfD will be eligible for federal campaign funds.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2017, with the headline 'Right-wing party wants end to mass immigration'. Print Edition | Subscribe