As Germany prepares to vote in the September 26 general election, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is returning with an anti-vax and anti-mask agenda. Jowharreports from Bautzen in eastern Germany, which had the highest Covid infection rate in the country and where the AfD performed best in the last election.
The AfD caused a sensation in Germany’s last election in 2017 when it garnered nearly 13 percent of the vote. But the anti-Islam and anti-mask party has lagged behind in the polls as Germany reels from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The party is now trying to reappear before Sunday’s elections by opposing measures such as vaccination and mandatory face masks.
Although this stance is a minority concern among the wider German electorate, many voters in the eastern German city of Bautzen are against masks, even though the city recorded the highest Covid infection rate. from Germany in December 2020.
“I don’t know of anyone who has died from Covid,” said one resident. “But I know a lot of people who were really sick or even died after getting vaccinated.”
Local MP Karsten Hilse of the AfD won 37 percent of the vote in this constituency in the last elections of 2017, the highest score for the far-right party in the country. He has a high chance of being re-elected to the party’s anti-mask and anti-vax platform.
“The incidence rate has been manipulated to scare the population,” Hilse said. “It is unbearable to see what they will do to make people panic.”
About 1,000 people in the area have died from Covid, making the AfD’s approach even more worrying, said Claus Gruhl, a local parish administrator and Green Party councilor: “A party that denies reality. of the pandemic and encouraging people to refuse vaccines is something that I consider really dangerous. ”
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( Jowhar with AFP)