A nationalist, anti-immigration party looks set to perform strongly today (September 4) in a state election in the eastern German region where Chancellor Angela Merkel has her political base.
The vote in the state where Merkel has her parliamentary constituency comes a year after a decision by the German leader to open the country’s borders to an influx of migrants.
Polls ahead of the election in Mecklenburg-Vorpommer show support for the three-year-old Alternative for Germany (AfD) party running at more than 20 percent.
🆘😂Merkel says before the election in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: “repatriation, repatriation, repatriation of refugees”. pic.twitter.com/BUnHrXJHcY— Onlinemagazin (@OnlineMagazin) September 2, 2016
That could put it in a position to overtake Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Party for second place, and AfD candidate Leif-Erik Holm said it could even become the strongest party in the state legislature.
Mecklenburg is home to relatively few foreigners, but Holm said people wanted to address what they perceived to be a lack of integration of refugees in other parts of Germany “before it becomes a problem” in their home state.
The election is the first of five regional votes ahead of a national election expected next year, and comes at a time when surveys have shown a decline in the chancellor’s popularity.