The rise of right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) is a "nightmare," a prominent member of the country's Jewish community said Monday, a day after the party won 20.8 per cent of the vote in the home state of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"The fact that a right-wing extremist party that agitates and mobilizes against minorities in a disgustingly blunt manner can rise in such an unbridled way is a nightmare come true," said Charlotte Knobloch, the former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
The AfD replaced Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) as the second-strongest party in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern election, in which "local issues were dispaced by the national debate about refugee policies," according to the centre-right party's general secretary Peter Tauber.
The CDU fell to 19 per cent of the vote in the north-eastern state, but is nonetheless likely to form another coalition with the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), which won 30.6-per-cent of the vote in Sunday's poll.
Knobloch - who heads the Israelite Cultural Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria - referred to the success of the AfD as a sad commentary on German democracy.
The AfD has capitalized on widespread discontent about the arrival of 1.1 million migrants in 2015, which it argues resulted from Merkel's promise of sanctuary to Syrian refugees.
Its eurosceptic, anti-migrant message has propelled in to third place in national opinion polls, and it is likely to enter the Bundestag parliament after a general election next year.