Germany's anti-immigration party sweeps into three state parliaments

The anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party swept into three state parliaments on Sunday in elections seen as a major test of Chancellor Angela Merkel's handling of the refugee crisis.

Founded three years ago, the AfD secured an unprecedented 21.5 per cent of the vote in the economically backward state of Saxony-Anhalt, public TV exit polls showed on Sunday.

It is also set to enter state parliaments in the wealthy south-western states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, scoring 12.5 per cent and 10 per cent of the vote respectively.

The results mean that the right-wing party is now represented in half of Germany's 16 state parliaments, positioning it enter the Bundestag in a national election in 2017.

Dubbed Super Sunday, the election exit polls showed Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) remaining the strongest party in Saxony-Anhalt, but failing to regain power in both Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.

In Baden-Wuerttemberg, popular state premier Winfried Kretschmann and his environmentalist Greens emerged for the first time as the biggest party in a state parliament with 32.5 per cent of the vote.

Last update: Sun, 13/03/2016 - 18:29

More from Europe

Italy police arrest seven linked to online global paedophile network

Seven paedophiles linked to a global online network that counted tens of thousands of affiliates have been arrested...

Turkey now top 10 destination for German arms amid refugee crisis

Turkey has jumped into the top 10 in the rankings of destinations for German arms exports as Ankara responds to...

EU proposes corporate tax reforms to cut red tape, tackle abuse

The European Commission unveiled proposals Tuesday aimed at streamlining corporate tax rules across EU member states...

EU Parliament lifts Le Pen immunity over alleged racial slur

The European Parliament on Tuesday lifted the immunity of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France's far-right...

Sweden lowers projection for number of asylum seekers in 2016

Tighter border checks introduced by the European Union and individual European states were Tuesday cited as the main...