Germany’s leading right-wing party was elected to three state parliaments in regional elections throughout Germany, reported JTA Sunday. Its strong showing is attributed to backlash after the recent influx of Muslim immigrants, and their tendency to violent and criminal behavior.
The party, Alternative for Germany, or AfD, is now eligible to field candidates for the national parliament in 2017.
Exit polls on Sunday showed that the AfD won 21.5 percent of the vote in the relatively poor state of Saxony Anhalt, in Germany's ex-communist eastern side, according to the German news agency dpa. It won 12.5 percent in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, an economic powerhouse, and 10 percent in neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate.
The Christian Democratic Union, the governing party headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, retained the top spot in Saxony Anhalt. However, it lost to the Green Party in Baden-Wuerttemberg.
The AfD's strong showing is reportedly causing some alarm among politicians. According to news reports, the Christian Democratic governor of Saxony Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, who won reelection Sunday, said: “We did not want a strong AfD, we certainly did not want to have them in [the state] parliament. But we are having a nationwide political debate. We need solutions now that we can present to people who are feeling insecure.”
The AfD has opposed Merkel’s policy of welcoming almost a million immigrants from Arab countries last year.
Some Jewish leaders have expressed concern about possible anti-Semitism among refugees from Arab countries.