AfD members
AfD membersReuters

Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) on Sunday notched up another first when its candidate was elected a full-time town mayor, AFP reports.

Hannes Loth was elected mayor of the small town of Raguhn-Jessnitz, in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, in a run-off against independent candidate Nils Naumann, according to results on the town's Facebook page.

Loth, reportedly a 42-year-old farmer who was already a member of the local parliament, won 51.1 percent of the vote against 48.9 percent for Naumann in the town of about 9,000 inhabitants.

It marks the first time the party has won an election race for a full-time mayor's position, German media reported.

The victory comes a week after AfD won a local election for the first time, when Robert Sesselmann, a lawyer and regional lawmaker, won the election for district administrator in Sonneberg in the central state of Thuringia.

Recent surveys have put support for the AfD at a record 18 to 20 percent, neck-and-neck with Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats and behind only the conservative CDU/CSU bloc.

AfD, which was formed in 2013, entered Germany’s national parliament with 12.6% of the vote in 2017, and is currently level in the polls with Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats as discontent with the government grows.

The party has a history of controversial statements, particularly surrounding the Holocaust. 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.”