afd germany
A candidate of the far-right Alternative for Germany wins a mayoral run-off marking another victory for the far-right party in Germany.
Germany's far-right party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), achieved another victory as their candidate was elected a full-time mayor, further strengthening the party's position in the country.

The AfD has been experiencing a surge in popularity, reaching record highs in opinion polls. This recent success follows their first district election win just a week ago.

Hannes Loth, a 42-year-old farmer and member of the local parliament, won the mayoral election in Raguhn-Jessnitz, a small town in Saxony-Anhalt, in a run-off against independent candidate Nils Naumann.

According to the town's Facebook page, Loth secured 51.1 percent of the vote, while Naumann received 48.9 percent. This victory marks the first time the AfD has won a full-time mayoral position, as their members have previously held voluntary or part-time mayor roles in smaller locations. Loth expressed gratitude to his supporters for the "wonderful result" and pledged to be a mayor for all people in Raguhn-Jessnitz.

In a previous election last week, Robert Sesselmann, a lawyer and regional lawmaker, won a runoff for district administrator in Sonneberg, located in Thuringia near the Bavarian border.

Recent surveys indicate that support for the AfD stands at a record 18 to 20 percent, placing them neck-and-neck with Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats and second only to the conservative CDU/CSU bloc.

Originally established in 2013 as an anti-euro party, the AfD has transformed into an Islamophobic and anti-immigration party.

Comment: 'Islamophobic' may be applicable to some members of the party, but it's not clear that this attitude is held by all its members and representatives.

The party has capitalized on growing dissatisfaction with Scholz's three-party coalition, fueled by concerns about inflation, and the affordability of government climate plans, as the financial vulnerability of European citizens has easily been spun off by right politicians who attack immigration as the root cause of these problems.

The AfD surprised the political establishment by securing around 13 percent of the votes in the 2017 general elections, granting them representation in the German parliament. However, their support dipped to approximately 10 percent in the 2021 federal election.