The German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel made an analogy between the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the Nazis movement on Monday.
In an interview with t-online.de, Gabriel suggested that the AfD is trying to benefit from anxiety about security and migration, allowing the “real Nazis” to reenter the German Reichstag for the first time since WWII.
The AfD started out in 2013 as a Eurosceptic movement, joining the European Conservatives and Reformist group, along with the British Conservatives and the Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS). Initially, the party focused on opposing the Greek bailout and the Euro. In 2015, the party made a strategic shift to the right spearheading Germany’s anti-immigration movement.
The shift to the right has benefitted AfD electorally, with the party entering 13 of Germany’s 16 state parliaments. According to most polls, AfD is now fighting with the Greens for the third place in the national parliament. It is projected that AfD will comfortably pass the 5% threshold and enter the parliament. AfD now polls 8-to-11%.
Gabriel’s statement comes as AfD’s co-founder Alexander Gauland said that the minister for integration, Aydan Ozoguz, should be “dumped” to her parents’ home in Turkey. Gauland is leading the AfD campaign in the state of Brandenburg. His statement triggered the chief prosecutor of the town of Muehlhausen, Ulf Walther, to launch an investigation.