The anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has overtaken the ruling Social Democrats (SPD) in new polling in the German region of Brandenburg.
The new figures by polling institute Forsa show the AfD support at one-in-five voters. SPD, who presently enjoy power in the state were knocked down to second place with 19 percent. The poll results could forecast future gains in the upcoming September 24th federal election, Die Welt reports.
The AfD are now second only to the Christian Democratic Union, the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who scored 30 percent in the poll. The libertarian Free Democratic Party (FDP) scored 5 percent of the vote, the hard-left Die Linke were at 16 percent and the Green party at 6 percent.
The results indicate a change for the Brandenburg parliament which currently has a coalition of the SPD and the left-wing Die Linke in power and the polls suggest that they would not be able to form another coalition even if they included the Greens, as was the case in the recent Berlin elections.
Secretary General of the CDU in Brandenburg Steeven Bretz was shocked with the polling results saying it was “remarkable” that the ruling coalition didn’t have the support to form another government.
Anja Mayer, the press officer of Die Linke said the polling was ” not satisfactory” for her party. She said that the results show that the voters are uncertain about the current course of the region and that her party should take the matter seriously.
The leader of the AfD in Brandenburg is party vice-chairman Alexander Gauland who recently attended a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Berlin terror attack in which Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri killed 12 and injured nearly 50 others after he hijacked a truck and drove it through the packed Berlin Christmas market last month.
Gauland was joined by Thuringia chairman Björn Höcke who was recently slammed by politicians and media in Germany over comments he made regarding the Holocaust monument in Berlin. He called the monument a “monument to shame” and declared that Germans should not focus solely on the Nazi period to define who they are, but look at the many writers, philosophers, and musicians that had come before the Nazi era.
As a result of Mr. Höcke’s comments, some left-wing politicians have called for hate speech criminal charges to be laid and other have called for the domestic intelligence service to start actively spying on the AfD. Gauland defended Höcke saying that the comments were in no way anti-Semitic and couldn’t understand the excitement over the speech.
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at email@example.com