German far-right party to campaign for end to COVID restrictions

Germany's AfD party has a history of controversial statements, particularly surrounding the Holocaust.

Ben Ariel ,

Members of the AfD party
Members of the AfD party
Reuters

Germany’s far-right AfD party vowed on Sunday to campaign for an end to coronavirus restrictions, a tougher line on migration and an exit from the EU, AFP reports.

On the second day of a congress to firm up its strategy ahead of Germany’s election on September 26, the anti-Islam, anti-immigration party voted to call for a complete ban on refugees being joined by family members.

Party members agreed to come out against “any family reunification for refugees”, revising previous wording that had called for such reunions to be allowed only under exceptional circumstances.

The AfD had on Saturday voted to include a call for Germany to leave the European Union in its manifesto, as well as vowing to demand an end to coronavirus measures due to what it described as “politics of fear”.

AfD has a history of controversial statements, particularly surrounding the Holocaust. Party member Bjoern Hoecke caused a firestorm in February of 2017 when he suggested that Germany should end its decades-long tradition of acknowledging and atoning for its Nazi past.

AfD chairman Alexander Gauland in 2018 described the Nazi period as a mere "speck of bird poo in over 1,000 years of successful German history".

He had previously asserted, however, that Jews should not fear the strong election showing by AfD and indicated that he was ready to meet with German Jewish leaders “at any time.”

The AfD, which is the third largest party in the Bundestag, made large gains in two state elections in September of 2019.

It has often sought to capitalize on anger over Germany’s coronavirus measures ahead of September’s election which will the first in 16 years not to feature Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is bowing out of politics.

Some AfD members have courted controversy by joining anti-vaxxers and “Querdenker” (Lateral Thinkers) at various demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions.



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