Berlin's mayor fears right-wing party wins at city's district level

Germany's right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has the potential to take several districts of Berlin in upcoming elections, warned the city's mayor in an interview Sunday.

Eligible Berliners will head to the polls September 18 to pick not only representatives for Berlin's state parliament, but for their city district councils as well.

"The problem is not just 10 AfD members out of 140 representatives in the state parliament. A big problem would be when the AfD takes one or two seats at the district level," Mayor Michael Mueller, of the centre-left Social Democrats, told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag in an interview published Sunday.

"If that were the case, the AfD would have a kind of governmental responsibility in the capital. The district councils have influence over budgets worth millions and hundreds of administrative employees."

Georg Pazderski, the head of AfD in Berlin, said: "Mathematically speaking, the AfD has the potential to take three or four districts. We would obviously take on the responsibility if it was given to us."

Founded three years ago as a eurosceptic party, the AfD has since lurched to the right, emerging as a major critic of Islam in Germany and expressing opposition to Berlin's liberal stance on refugees.

Berlin, which is governed by a coalition of the Social Democrats and the centre-right Christian Democrats, is broken into 12 districts with their own local councils.

The smallest district, Spandau, with 230,000 residents, has alone about the same population size as two capital cities in Germany's eastern states.

Last update: Sun, 21/08/2016 - 15:30
Author: 

Related

More from Europe

Merkel's CDU gets tough on migration, taking aim at dual citizenship

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) want to sharpen up Germany's migrant rules with a...

Today's Europe is lacking forward-looking leaders, Pope Francis says

Europe today has no forward-looking leaders, according to Pope Francis, who hailed the postwar generation of...

British regulator fines Pfizer 84 million pounds for overcharging

A British government regulator fined global drugs giant Pfizer a record 84.2 million pounds (106.4 million dollars)...

EU fines bank trio 485 million euros for fixing rates

Credit Agricole, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase are being hit with a fine totalling 485 million euros (520 million dollars...

Parliament to debate Brexit strategy after government "climbdown"

British lawmakers will debate the government's Brexit strategy on Wednesday after Prime Minister Theresa May agreed...