Far-right party likened to Nazis to shake up German parliament

A protestor of 'Alternative for Germany' party (AfD) holds two placards reading 'Merkel must go' and 'Burkas? We fancy Bikinis' outside an election campaign event of the Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Binz, north Germany, 16 September 2017. [Felipe Trueba/EPA/EFE]

The first far-right party set to enter Germany’s parliament for more than a half a century says it will press for Chancellor Angela Merkel to be “severely punished” for opening the door to refugees and migrants.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has also called for Germany’s immigration minister to be “disposed of” in Turkey where her parents come from, could become the third largest party with up to 12% of the vote on 24 September, polls show.

That is far less than similar movements in other European countries – in France far-right leader Marine Le Pen won 34% of the vote in May and in the Netherlands far-rightist Geert Wilders scored 13% in a March election.

But the prospect of a party that the foreign minister has compared with the Nazis entering the heart of German democracy is unnerving the other parties. They all refuse to work with the AfD and no one wants to sit next to them in parliament.

Leading AfD candidate Alexander Gauland denies they are Nazis, saying others only use the term because of the party’s popularity. It has won support with calls for Germany to shut its borders immediately, introduce a minimum quota for deportations and stop refugees bringing their families here.

“We’re gradually becoming foreigners in our own country,” Gauland told an election rally in the Polish border city of Frankfurt an der Oder.

A song with the lyrics “we’ll bring happiness back to your homeland” blared out of a blue campaign bus and the 76-year-old lawyer said Germany belonged to the Germans, Islam had no place here and the migrant influx would make everyone worse off.

Gauland provoked outrage for saying at another event that Germans should no longer be reproached with the Nazi past and they should take pride in what their soldiers achieved during World War One and Two.

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