Germany’s far-right, anti-migrant AfD demands that Covid-19 restrictions be lifted

Germany’s far-right AfD party promised to fight to end coronavirus restrictions, a tougher migration line and a withdrawal from the EU when it ended its election manifesto on Sunday.

On the second day of a congress to determine its strategy for Germany’s election on September 26, anti-Islam, the anti-immigration party, voted to demand a complete ban on the company of refugees accompanied by family members.

Party members agreed to oppose “all family reunification for refugees”, by revising previous wording that demanded that such reunions be allowed only in exceptional circumstances.

The AfD had on Saturday voted to include a call for Germany to leave the European Union in its manifesto, and promised to demand an end to coronavirus measures and complained about a “fear policy”.

The AfD has often tried to take advantage of anger over Germany’s coronavirus measures ahead of the September election – the first in 16 years that does not have Chancellor Angela Merkel bowing to politics.

Some AfD members have encouraged controversy by joining anti-waxers and “Querdenker” (Lateral Thinkers) in various demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions.

AfD co-leader Joerg Meuthen promised on Saturday to dispel “these orgies of bans, these prisons, this mania to lock down”.

With Merkel and heads of state expected to step up infection control measures further this week, the far right revealed its election role as “Germany. But normally ”- at least in part focused on coronavirus restrictions.

Started as an anti-euro outfit in 2013, the AfD capitalized on the public’s anger over Merkel’s 2015 decision to allow a wave of asylum seekers from conflict-affected countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The party caused a sensation in Germany’s latest election in 2017 when it secured almost 13 percent of the vote and entered parliament for the first time as the largest opposition party.

But it has lost support as Germany recedes from the coronavirus pandemic and has recently been plagued by internal divisions and allegations of ties to neo-Nazi fringe groups.

The latest polls show that the party’s vote is between 10 and 12 percent, with Merkel’s CDU / CSU at around 27 percent and the growing Greens not far behind.

(AFP)