Germany’s anti-European movement got a boost on Sunday when the euro-skeptic Alternative for Germany party won an unexpected victory at a state election.
The political party created in 2013 won almost 10 percent of the vote in Saxony, the most populous eastern German state, and will now have representation for the first time in a state parliament.
The arrival of a new right-wing party could cause difficulties for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, which risks losing some of its voter base.
The new party was created by a group of high profile economists who want Germany to leave the euro currency unless the bloc’s governnance is overhauled. The party failed to win seats at the general elections last September, but won 7 percent of the national vote in May’s European Parliament election.
In Saxony, the euro was barely mentioned during the campaign. The party instead sought to broaden its appeal with a campaign that focused on pro-family policies. It also called for more police to deal with increased criminality along the state’s border with Eastern Europe.
The pitch paid off, with the party winning 9.7 percent of the vote.
The party was triumphant after its unexpectedly strong showing. Its leader, an economics professor named Bernd Lucke, told reporters that the new party had “finally arrived in the German party political landscape.”