German anti-immigrant party surges to shock election victory

By REUTERS
March 14, 2016 14:22

 
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Supporters of Germany's new anti-immigration party erupted into raucous celebrations in the eastern city of Magdeburg on Sunday (March 13) after the Alternative for Germany (AfD) surged into three state assemblies with scores that would have been unthinkable only a year ago.

Formed three years ago in opposition to euro zone bailouts, the AfD has morphed into an anti-immigration party over the past year, kicking out its founder and seizing on a record influx of migrants to lure new voters and steal disaffected members of Merkel's conservatives.

On Sunday they had their best day ever, winning a shocking 24 percent of the vote in Saxony-Anhalt, to become the second-biggest party in the state parliament.

"We were hoping to get above 20 percent but this result is beyond our expectations," one supporter, Hagen Kohl, told Reuters at a party gathering.

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