Europe

German Eurosceptic leader Lucke sets up Alfa party

Bernd Lucke elected new Alfa leader (19 July) Image copyright EPA
Image caption A congress of 70 members chose Mr Lucke, 52, as the new party's leader

German anti-euro economist Bernd Lucke has founded a new party after being ousted by the Eurosceptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) that he set up.

He quit AfD in early July, arguing it was becoming increasingly xenophobic.

Mr Lucke, one of seven AfDs to be elected MEPs last year, said the new party would be called the "Alliance for Progress and Renewal" (Alfa).

Though AfD has climbed as high as 9% in German opinion polls, its support has fallen amid internal party wrangling.

Mr Lucke, seen as a moderate, was replaced as AfD leader earlier this month by right-winger Frauke Petry after a power struggle over the party's future direction.

He had tried and failed to stop AfD focusing on anti-immigration policies. Ms Petry made her name in the eastern state of Saxony where the anti-immigration and "anti-Islamisation" movement, Pegida, sprang up last year.

Mr Lucke was elected chairman of Alfa by 70 people at a founding conference in Kassel in central Germany. He tweeted that more than 5,000 people had shown an interest in the new party on related websites, under the hashtag "Weckruf2015" ("Wake-up call 2015").



Mr Lucke, 52, founded AfD in 2013 to oppose eurozone bailouts, but his former colleagues were unhappy that he wanted to focus exclusively on euro-related issues.

The AfD is currently part of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, of which the UK's ruling Conservatives are also a member.

German political pundits say the new party's chances of doing well in forthcoming elections are unlikely. Key regional elections are due next year in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.

Centre-left SPD politician Ralf Stegner said his party would have nothing to do with the new party, dismissing Alfa as right-wing populists.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Frauke Petry took over as AfD leader earlier this month

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