German Far-Right Meets to Pick New Leaders

German Far-Right Meets to Pick New LeadersGerman Far-Right Meets to Pick New Leaders

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) gathered Saturday to vote for a new leadership after its triumphant turnout in September’s general election, as hundreds staged street protests against the anti-migrant, anti-Islam party.

The AfD captured nearly 13% of the vote and almost 100 seats in parliament —a watershed moment in post-war German politics that left Chancellor Angela Merkel as the winner but still searching for a ruling coalition, AFP reported.

However a festering row between radical nationalists and more moderate forces has roiled the AfD’s top brass, with co-leader Frauke Petry abruptly quitting just days after the election to form her own breakaway party.

Some 600 delegates at the two-day congress in the northern city of Hanover will vote on a replacement for her as well as a new board, determining the ideological direction of the party.

Hundreds of demonstrators staged sit-ins to block roadways to the venue in the city centre, delaying the start of the congress by about 50 minutes. After reporting minor scuffles with protesters, police deployed water cannon to remove some of the blockades.

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