Germany's Far-Right Party Picks Leaders Ahead Of September Elections Germany's anti-immigrant party, the AfD, is in turmoil after its most prominent politician Frauke Petry dropped out of the upcoming German parliamentary elections.

Germany's Far-Right Party Picks Leaders Ahead Of September Elections

Germany's Far-Right Party Picks Leaders Ahead Of September Elections

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/525359263/525359264" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Germany's anti-immigrant party, the AfD, is in turmoil after its most prominent politician Frauke Petry dropped out of the upcoming German parliamentary elections.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

While running for president of France, far-right leader Marine Le Pen has kept an eye on Germany. That country holds its own big election this year. One contender was a woman labeled Germany's own Marine Le Pen. Even Marine Le Pen called her that. Now, she's dropped out. Here's NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: Frauke Petry’s right wing Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, has in recent years won legislative seats in every German state that held elections. Now, the party hopes to enter the German national Parliament.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

FRAUKE PETRY: (Speaking German).

NELSON: So it came as a shock when she announced in a video that she was dropping out of the German parliamentary race after trying and failing to get her party to moderate its anti-Muslim and euro-skeptic stance. Nevertheless, she and her main nemesis, party co-founder Alexander Gauland, made a show of unity at the AfD convention in Cologne this past weekend.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ALEXANDER GAULAND: (Speaking German).

NELSON: "We need Frauke Petry," Gauland said, before kissing her hand. AfD's new lead candidate is Alice Weidel...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ALICE WEIDEL: (Speaking German).

NELSON: ...An economist who looks and sounds a lot like Petry with the same pixie haircut, slender build and hot temper. But she isn't well known like Petry, even within their party. Gauland, who announced he would be spearheading the campaign alongside Weidel, is expected to keep the new candidate under his thumb.

Meanwhile, Petry remains their party's co-chair. That kind of triangle would not end well for any other German political party, says Justus Bender, author and journalist with the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.

JUSTUS BENDER: Nothing seems to hurt this party. I mean, they have done all sorts of things which would actually mean defeat for anyone else. And it's sort of a nice comparison you could make to Donald Trump, who said he could shoot somebody in the middle of Manhattan and he wouldn't be hurt by it. And it's the same with the AfD.

NELSON: Bender says if the party manages to keep it together, it could well become the first right wing faction to enter the German Parliament since the end of World War II. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Berlin.

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.