Jun 26, 2023 at 06:23 Update: 4 minutes ago
The right-wing populist party AfD has won a regional election in Germany for the first time. The AfD candidate will become a district administrator in the state of Thuringia. It is a small area, but the election is causing quite a stir.
Many parties do not want to cooperate with AfD. The internal security service assesses the party, which was founded ten years ago, as right-wing extremist.
In Sonneberg, a district with a population of about 57,000, AfD candidate Robert Stuhlmann defeated the incumbent district administrator of the centre-right CDU with almost 53 percent of the vote. The other parties had aligned themselves with the CDU candidate after the first round of elections.
Although it is one of the smallest districts in Germany, the result is seen as a breakthrough for AfD. German intelligence considers the AfD branch in Thuringia and its controversial leader Björn Höcke as potentially dangerous extremists.
AfD is also doing well nationally
AfD may also be on the verge of a breakthrough nationally. On Friday it was announced that the party is at more than 19 percent, according to a recent poll. The right-wing populists are therefore still behind the CDU, but ahead of the party of Chancellor Olaf Scholz. His social democratic SPD would receive only 17 percent of the vote.
AfD owes its rise, according to analysts, to the way in which the party responds to negative sentiment among voters about, among other things, immigration and the transition to a green economy. The party even plans to nominate a chancellor candidate for the 2025 federal election. AfD is especially popular in eastern Germany.