Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is calling for an EU exit and an end to the ‘lockdown madness’ in its election manifesto for the coming September election.
Around 600 members of the party, which entered the national parliament for first time after the 2017 election, met in Dresden – despite coronavirus restrictions – to agree an election manifesto.
Dogged by internal divisions over how radical the party should be, it has dipped to around 11 per cent in polls from nearly 13 per cent in the 2017 election when it was the third biggest party and became the official parliamentary opposition.
Around 600 members of Alternative for Germany (AfD) met in Dresden despite coronavirus restrictions to agree an election manifesto. Pictured: Party co-chairman Joerg Meuthen
During the pandemic the AfD has been linked with coronavirus deniers and opposed compulsory vaccinations – which the government has never proposed.
Some AfD members have joined anti-lockdown demonstrations.
Co-leader Joerg Meuthen told the conference: ‘The AfD wants to show these orgies of prohibition, this imprisonment, this lockdown madness, that there is no need for this.’
Delegates backed a coronavirus resolution with the slogan ‘Germany. But normal’, which includes rejecting wearing masks in day-care centres and schools and ending ‘disproportionate’ lockdown measures.
Germany is struggling to contain a third wave of the pandemic and polls show a majority backs restrictions.
Angela Merkel’s government is drawing up a law to impose nationwide measures to avoid a confusing patchwork of rules which are not consistently implemented.
The AfD has been linked with Covid deniers and has opposed compulsory vaccinations which the government has never proposed. Pictured: Delegates during the two-day AfD conference
AfD delegates also backed a call for Germany to leave the EU and set up a new European community of economies and interests.
Set up in 2013 as an anti-euro party during the euro zone debt crisis, the party has shifted to the right and capitalised on voter anger over Merkel’s 2015 open-door migrant policy.
It has called for border controls and a ban on minarets.
Its tough line on migration led some conservatives to shift to the right but since entering parliament, the AfD has had little impact on policy.
All mainstream parties refuse to cooperate with it.