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Anti-migrant German populist party surges in local polls

Alternative for Germany (AfD) leader Frauke Petry greets supporters at a 2015 rally in Hannover, central GermanyGermany’s right-wing populist AfD party, which has railed against a record migrant influx, made strong gains in local polls in the western state of Hesse, results showed Monday, ahead of key state elections this weekend. The eurosceptic party, which sparked a storm in January by suggesting police may have to shoot at migrants at the borders, was eroding support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and junior coalition partner the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Support for the CDU fell 5.5 percent to 28.2 percent, although it still came in as the strongest party, just ahead of the SPD which polled 28 percent, down 3.5 percent from the previous elections.

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