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    Bjoern Hoecke, chairman of the Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) in the German state of Thuringia, leaves after a press statement in Erfurt, central Germany, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017

    Germany's Far-Right AfD Chooses Lead Candidates for Parliamentary Elections

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    Germany's far-right AfD party has chosen the leading candidates list for the parliamentary elections, local media reported Sunday.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — Germany's far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) has chosen Deputy Chair Alexander Gauland and AfD politician from the Baden-Wuertemberg federal state Alice Weidel as lead candidates in the party list for the parliamentary elections, local media reported Sunday.

    Earlier in the week, AfD leader Frauke Petry refused to become a lead candidate to run for chancellorship.

    According to the N24 broadcaster, Gauland and Weidel were elected during an AfD meeting, which took place in the German city of Cologne, where thousands of protesters took to the streets to rally against the party. A total of 67.7 percent of AfD delegates voted in favor of the duo. Gauland represents the nationalist conservative wing of the party, while Weidel represents a group of advocates of economic liberalism.

    The AfD, a Euroskeptic party, was founded in 2013. It has been gaining traction since 2015 amid the influx of migrants in Germany and growing terror threat in Europe. The party managed to enter regional parliaments in 11 out of 16 German states. The AfD supports hardline approach to migration and opposes construction of mosques in Germany.

    Germans are expected to vote on September 24 in a general election. This will be the second federal election the AfD will take part in. In 2013, the party gained only 4.7 percent of votes, failing to win seats in the Bundestag.


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