Thuringia vote worries German faith leaders

01 November 2019

Reuters

Demonstrators display placards during an AfD election-campaign rally

Demonstrators display placards during an AfD election-campaign rally

BISHOPS and representatives of the Muslim and Jewish communities in the eastern German federal state of Thuringia have expressed concern after nearly one quarter (24 per cent) of voters last Sunday voted for the extreme right-wing party AfD (Alternative for Germany) in regional elections.

The chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, wrote on Twitter: “We concerned citizens are very worried about our democracy. . . This is much more than an ‘alarm signal.”

The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, said that in Thuringia, especially, there is no doubt about the nationalist right-wing orientation of the party. “Everyone who voted for the AfD on Sunday bears a share of the responsibility for gradually undermining the foundations of our democracy.”

In a statement on Monday, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Erfurt, the Rt Revd Ulrich Neymeyr, said that the result of the regional elections was a great challenge as it showed a clear polarisation in Thuringian society. He called on the Thuringians to defend “our values” against populists at informal get-togethers, among friends, and in the workplace.

Bishop Neymeyr said: “Acting democratically means more than going to the polls.”

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