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Germany’s far-right leader says voters have become more skeptical of the EU


The co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) said her party’s strong expected performance in the European Parliament elections was driven by growing skepticism towards the European Union.

Exit polls published on Sunday evening put the AfD in second place with 16.1% against 16.4%.

Alice Weidel said her party had made significant gains compared to 2019 – when far-right populists won 11% of the vote – and had become the strongest force in eastern Germany.

The main reason for this was that voters “have become more critical of Europe in general”, she said.

Weidel also called the AfD a strong performance “after a bumpy start to the election campaign,” in which the party was dogged by negative headlines related to several scandals involving AfD candidates.

Weidel did not comment directly on Maximilian Krah, the AfD’s leading candidate in these elections, or on Petr Bystron, who had been voted into second place on the candidate list by deputies.

Both candidates have been in the news for weeks due to possible ties to pro-Russian networks. According to media reports, prosecutors in Germany are investigating possible monetary payments to both politicians. In addition, a former top aide to Krah was arrested on suspicion of spying for China

The co-leaders of the far-right party Alice Weidel (C) and Tino Chrupalla (Center R) of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party cheer after the first exit polls during the election night of the party headquarters after the European elections. Joerg Carstensen/dpa

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