by Anne WojcickiThe New York TimesNew York (CNN) A new wave of right-wing populism has taken root in Germany.
The rise of populist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in recent years has helped fuel that growth, and many voters now say they want to take a more radical line.
But as the AfD looks to win seats in national elections this fall, many German politicians are questioning whether the party is able to unite its disparate elements and win the backing of a wider swath of voters.
The AfD is led by Alexander Gauland, a former right-winger who has been the party’s main voice on the populist right for years.
He says the AfG is a response to the influx of immigrants, who are increasingly taking on German jobs and housing and driving up housing prices.
The party has been pushing for a ban on Muslim immigration, which has become a key plank in its electoral campaign.
Its anti-immigrant stance is also seen as a threat to Germany’s traditional Christian faith, which is under pressure in the wake of an influx of refugees and migrants.
The rise of the Afd and its supporters in recent weeks has made Germans wary of the party, with many expressing concern over its extremism.
“I am not afraid of AfD; it is not a party of Islam,” one German politician told CNN.
“But I am afraid of a right-Wing party with extreme anti-Muslim positions.
AfD has no place in the German political scene.
They are not part of the German mainstream.
They need to change.
We need a different type of party.”
The AfG’s rise is a challenge to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc.
But the party has shown it can appeal to voters from the right as well as left, especially those with low levels of education and less economic resources.
The Party for Freedom, a group of left-wing parties, is one of the few left-leaning groups to support the AfE.
The group is led and funded by former Goldman Sachs trader André Röhrig, who is now a leading AfD candidate for parliament.
The FDP, the populist opposition party, has also endorsed the AfeD.
The National Union for Freedom and Democracy, which represents many left-of-center parties in Germany, has joined the AffD in opposition.
The Alternative führer party, which aims to be more populist, has been campaigning with the AfF since it took power in 2016.
The führlegende — the German word for party — is a political party.
It was founded by former Communists and the National Democratic Party, the predecessor of the current AfD.
The AfD, in contrast, was formed in the early 1990s and is largely based in rural areas and small cities.
The two parties have been working to unify their ranks and win support from a wider base of voters, with AfD leaders saying they are working to broaden the base of the group and attract more people who would otherwise not support them.
“We are now in a position where we can do that, but it is going to be a gradual process,” AfD leader Frauke Petry said during a recent rally.
“The party is growing because we are able to appeal to a wider audience, and that is the big challenge for us.
It is a long process, but we will try.”