German anti-euro party set to enter EU parliament

AP News
Posted: May 25, 2014 5:55 PM
German anti-euro party set to enter EU parliament

BERLIN (AP) — A party that wants Germany to stop using the euro currency is set to enter the European Parliament after receiving 7 percent of the vote in European elections, according to partial results released late Sunday.

Analysts described the result as a serious challenge to Germany's established parties, which have championed the euro and sought to brand the Alternative for Germany party as unelectable mavericks.

Official figures based on 393 of 402 voting districts put the year-old Alternative for Germany on course to take six or seven of the country's 96 seats in the European Parliament.

The party's leader said members were generally in favor of the European Union despite their rejection of the common currency.

"We won't work with right-wing populists," party leader Bernd Lucke said after the vote.

Lucke said his party would seek talks with the European Conservatives and Reformists, a group that includes the British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc received 36 percent of the vote, a slight decrease on 2009. Her center-left coalition partner the Social Democrats gained strongly to receive 27.4 percent of the vote, according to the preliminary results.

Germany's Green party received 10.5 percent while the Left Party got 6.9 percent.

A recent ruling by Germany's top court removed a requirement that the country's parties receive at least three percent of the vote to enter the European Parliament. This means several fringe parties will also send deputies to Brussels, including one from the far-right National Democratic Party. Germany's 16 states have asked the Constitutional Court to consider banning the party because of its anti-Semitic and anti-democratic tendencies.

Turnout in Germany was slightly higher than during the previous European elections, at 48.2 percent compared with 43.7 percent in 2009.

Final results will be announced early Monday.