Tags: germany extremism election afd sonneberg county right

German Government Calls for Tolerance after Far-right Party Wins First County Executive

German Government Calls for Tolerance after Far-right Party Wins First County Executive

Monday, 26 June 2023 10:02 AM EDT

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's government said Monday that the country is shaped by values such as tolerance and respect, calling for them to be upheld a day after a far-right party won control of a county administration for the first time.

Alternative for Germany, which has come under scrutiny from security services over its ties to extremists, won a runoff election Sunday in Sonneberg county, about 180 kilometers (112 miles) east of Frankfurt.

A spokesman for Chancellor Olaf Scholz declined to comment directly on the outcome of the local election, but said that it was important to take people's concerns seriously and engage in “civilized discussions.”

“Our country is shaped by values such as fairness, tolerance, decency and respect,” Steffen Hebestreit told reporters in Berlin. “This must be cultivated and practiced again and again.”

The victory of Alternative for Germany's candidate, Robert Sesselmann, against a center-right rival was sharply criticized by anti-racism campaigners and others.

Charlotte Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor and president of the Jewish Community of Munich, said that voters in Sonneberg had made “a dangerous decision,” but added that officials at the federal and state level also bore responsibility for the outcome.

Alternative for Germany, or AfD, was founded a decade ago and first entered parliament in 2017 following an anti-migrant campaign in response to the influx of refugees to Europe during the preceding years.

The party's recent surge in national polls, to between 18% and 20%, has unnerved mainstream parties in a country where the rise of fascism during the 1920s and 1930s is still a core subject in schools. It's polling even higher in three eastern states — including Thuringia, where Sonneberg is located — before regional elections there next year.

Ricarda Lang, a co-leader of the Green party that's part of Scholz's governing coalition, said that “it will now be the job of all democratic parties to prevent a normalization of AfD, because it's clear that it remains a threat to democracy.”

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


GlobalTalk
Germany's government said Monday that the country is shaped by values such as tolerance and respect, calling for them to be upheld a day after a farright party won control of a county administration for the first time.Alternative for Germany, which has come under scrutiny...
germany extremism election afd sonneberg county right
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2023-02-26
Monday, 26 June 2023 10:02 AM
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