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German far-right leader says voters have become more sceptical of EU

In World
June 09, 2024

The co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) said a strong expected showing by her party in European Parliament elections was driven by growing scepticism of the European Union.

Exit polls released on Sunday evening put the AfD in second place with 16.1% to 16.4%.

Alice Weidel said that her party had made significant gains compared to 2019 – when the far-right populists won 11% of the vote – and had become the strongest force in eastern Germany.

The main reason for this was that voters “have become more critical of Europe overall,” she said.

Weidel also credited the AfD with making a strong finish “after a bumpy start to the election campaign,” in which the party was dogged by negative headlines tied to several scandals involving AfD candidates.

Weidel did not comment directly about Maximilian Krah, the AfD’s lead candidate in this election, or Petr Bystron, who the delegates had voted into second place on the list of candidates.

Both candidates have been in the headlines for weeks due to possible links to pro-Russian networks. According to media reports, prosecutors in Germany are investigating possible money payments to both politicians. In addition, a former top aide to Krah was arrested on suspicion of spying for China

The co-leaders of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party Alice Weidel (C) and Tino Chrupalla (Center R), cheer after first exit polls during the Electoral evening of the party headquaters after the European Elections. Joerg Carstensen/dpa

The co-leaders of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party Alice Weidel (C) and Tino Chrupalla (Center R), cheer after first exit polls during the Electoral evening of the party headquaters after the European Elections. Joerg Carstensen/dpa

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