Germany's far-right AfD gains support after attacks

REUTERS
BERLIN
Published 01.08.2016 01:19

The anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany (AfD) gained support as Germany was hit by a spate of attacks this month, including by extremist, but support for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives held steady, a poll showed. Germany remains deeply unsettled after 15 people were killed and dozens wounded in five separate attacks between July 18-July 26. An Emnid poll for weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag showed support for the AfD rising by 2 percentage points from the prior week to 12 percent. The poll was conducted between July 21 and July 27. The death toll of 15 includes four assailants. France also suffered two attacks claimed by DAESH in July, including one in which a gunman drove a heavy truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing at least 84 people. The AfD enjoyed 15 percent support earlier this year and voters turned in droves to the party in three regional elections in March, giving a thumbs down to Merkel's refugee policy. But earlier this month, the AfD, which was founded in 2013 on a eurosceptic platform and then shifted focus to an anti-immigration stance, lapsed into party infighting over what some regional lawmakers called the anti-Semitic views of a colleague. However, the Emnid poll showed support for Merkel's conservatives and their coalition partners, the left-leaning Social Democrats, was unchanged at 35 percent and 23 percent respectively. The AfD's gains came at the expense of the Greens, support for whom dipped by 1 point to 11 percent, and the far-left Linke, who also suffered a 1 point fall, to 9 percent. Germany is set to hold a federal election in autumn next year.

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