22:55 GMT +310 December 2018
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    Supporters of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party display an AfD banner during a demonstration by AfD supporters in Berlin (File)

    We're Not in America': AfD Leader Rejects Steve Bannon's New Populist Bloc

    © AFP 2018 / JOHN MACDOUGALL
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    In late July, Bannon, US President Donald Trump's former chief strategist, announced plans to create a non-profit political organization aimed to support right-wing populist movements across Europe.

    Alexander Gauland, one of two co-leaders of the anti-immigrant right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AfD), has expressed skepticism about plans by President Donald Trump's former political strategist Steve Bannon to undermine the EU by creating a new populist foundation.

    "We're not in America and the interests of the anti-establishment parties in Europe are quite divergent. Mr. Bannon will not succeed in forging an alliance of the like-minded for the European elections," Gauland emphasized.

    READ MORE: 'When are You Going to Resign?' Merkel Slammed by AfD in First Parliament Q&A

    He added that although AfD co-leader Alice Weidel had met once with Bannon, he saw no possibility of collaborating with him.

    White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon departs after a meeting about the American Health Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S. (File)
    © REUTERS / Aaron P. Bernstein
    White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon departs after a meeting about the American Health Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S. (File)

     

    Gauland was echoed by Christian Weiland, an AfD member in Bad Kreuznach, who told Sputnik that he sees "a super-European rights movement rather critically."

    "I am critical about naming a foreign player, I fear that it lacks the reference to the cultural characteristics of the European people. There is potential for friendship with other right-wing parties, even without Mr. Bannon's help," Weiland pointed out.

    READ MORE: German AfD Party Wants to Probe Government's Activities During Migration Crisis

    Gauland's remarks came a few weeks after Bannon stated that he is establishing the Movement, a new foundation to lead Europe-wide revolts starting with the European parliament elections scheduled next spring.

    The goal is to finally set up a right-wing "supergroup" within the European Parliament which would have the ability to seriously disrupt parliamentary proceedings, according to Bannon.

    READ MORE: EU Budget Will 'Cost Germany Dearly', Member States Are Being 'Overthrown' – AfD

    A former investment banker and film producer, Bannon became executive chairman of Breitbart News after its founder's death in 2012.

    In August 2016, he joined the Trump campaign as chief executive. After months of conflicts with members of the US administration whom he considered too liberal, he was relieved of office by new Chief of Staff John Kelly in August 2017.

    The populist Eurosceptic AfD party obtained about 13 percent of the vote during the 2017 German general elections, entering the Bundestag for the first time in its history. A fresh poll revealed on Friday that public support for the AfD has increased up to a record 16 percent.

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    friendship, elections, alliance, party, European Parliament, EU, Alternative for Germany (AfD), Donald Trump, Alexander Gauland, Steve Bannon, Germany
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