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SPD leader, Andrea Nahles, now has a hard job improving the popularity of her party among voters / Photo: Andrea Nahles/Facebook

Germany: Far-right AfD overtakes SPD in opinion poll for first time

Alternative for Germany (German: Alternative für Deutschland, AfD), a right-wing to far-right political party in Germany, has overtaken the Social Democratic Party (SPD), according to an opinion poll conducted by INSA.

The survey of potential voters published by the mass circulating tabloid Bild on Monday gave the centre-left Social Democrats 17 per cent of the vote, with the AfD taking 17.5 per cent.

The survey shows the AfD is benefitting from recent turbulence inside Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government of CDU/CSU and SPD, according to analysts.

The AfD’s strong showing in the polls indicates that the recent hardline posture of the Bavarian Christian Social Union, the sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) has been counterproductive to the ruling coalition. Horst Seehofer, the CSU leader and interior minister, led his party into a bitter and protracted clash with Merkel over asylum policy that was only resolved after a last-minute compromise last week.

CSU leaders had argued that Merkel’s conservative bloc must endorse a tougher approach towards asylum seekers to weaken the appeal of the far-right AfD ahead of Bavarian state elections in October. But the latest survey and most other polls show that the disagreements inside the CDU/CSU in recent weeks has been damaging to the two ruling parties, while the AfD has gained more support.

Founded in April 2013, the AfD narrowly missed the 5% electoral threshold to sit in the Bundestag during the 2013 federal election. After securing representation in 14 of the 16 German state parliaments by October 2017, the AfD became the third-largest party in Germany after the 2017 federal election, claiming 94 seats in the Bundestag, a major breakthrough for the party as it was the first time the AfD had won any seats in the Bundestag.

Felix Dappah with agency report

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