Germany AfD: Bid to lift German nationalist Petry's immunity

Frauke Petry after regional elections in North Rhine Westphalia in July Image copyright EPA
Image caption Frauke Petry is a co-leader of the right-wing Alternative for Germany

German prosecutors have asked for the lifting of right-wing politician Frauke Petry's parliamentary immunity.

The co-leader of Alternative for Germany (AfD), a populist, anti-Islam party, is a member of the state parliament in Saxony.

It s thought that she could face charges of perjury over election funding in the state in 2014.

Ms Petry denies she and colleagues gave differing accounts of campaign finances to an official committee.

The party's support grew in recent years, winning it seats in regional elections, but has fallen in recent months.

Opinion polls suggest it could win 8% and enter the federal parliament (Bundestag) for the first time at elections in September, but it has been beset by infighting.

Earlier this year, the party as a whole rejected Ms Petry's plans to seek a coalition with other parties.

'She has our backing'

In May 2016, prosecutors began a preliminary investigation into the financing of the campaign in Saxony.

Ms Petry is on maternity leave after having her fifth child and has not yet commented.

But party colleague Alexander Gauland said: "The request for Frauke Petry's immunity to be lifted has no impact on how we see the party's position.

"She has our backing. There is a presumption of innocence."

Saxony's state parliament will hold hearings to decide on whether to comply with the request to lift Ms Petry's immunity, and she will be invited to speak at the hearing.

A decision is not expected before August.

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