Germany’s far-Right AfD party has won its first ever mayoral election shortly after securing a landmark victory in a district election last month.
In the town of Raguhn-Jeßnitz, Alternative for Germany (AfD) candidate Hannes Loth won 51 per cent of the vote on Sunday to become local mayor.
It is the first time that the party, set up a decade ago to protest the euro but which has since focused on migration, has won a mayoral election in any community large enough to have a full-time mayor.
Mr Loth beat an independent candidate after coming out on top in the first round of voting against a candidate from the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) who won less than six per cent of the vote.
“I am totally surprised and amazed and I want to thank all the voters,” said Mr Loth on Sunday.
Raguhn-Jeßnitz has a population of 9,000 and is situated in the rural eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt.
A week earlier, the AfD caused an electoral earthquake when they defeated a CDU candidate to win their first ever local election in the district of Sonnberg.
Previously, in a country where far-Right politics is still highly taboo, the other parties have successfully kept the AfD out of any level of government office by encouraging people to vote tactically.
But with the AfD reaching a record 20 per cent in polling, the strategy of building a “firewall” to keep them out appears to be crumbling.
Almost every poll for the past fortnight has put AfD ahead of Olaf Scholz’ Social Democrats with between 19 and 20 per cent, in second place only to the CDU.
The AfD has doubled its polling figures over the past year, with analysts attributing its soaring popularity to discontent with an overpowerful Green party within Mr Scholz’ coalition and a rise in illegal migration.
AfD leadership announced plans last month to put its own candidate into the race to become Germany’s next chancellor at the national election in 2025.
The party has also called for Germany to keep out of the Ukraine war and end sanctions on Moscow, a stance that has won favour in the east of Germany, where large swathes of the population are pro-Russia.