First plenary session at the German lower house of Parliament after general elections in Berlin
BERLIN (Reuters) - Alice Weidel, a leader of Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, said the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is her political role model, saying Thatcher got Britain back on its feet when it was facing economic ruin.
Weidel told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag newspaper that her party, which stormed into parliament for the first time after capturing nearly 13 percent of the vote, aimed to be ready to join a coalition government by 2021.
That could be a long shot since all mainstream parties have rejected working with the AfD.
Weidel said the party was content serving in opposition now, but its long-term goal was to shape policy, and Thatcher's experience in Britain was a helpful guide.
"Margaret Thatcher is my political role model," Weidel told the newspaper, lauding the U.K. leader's willingness to swim against the current when necessary.
"Thatcher took over Great Britain when the country was economically in the dumps and built it up again."
Weidel, a lesbian, said her partner and two adopted sons would move to Berlin from Switzerland when the partner's current film project was completed.
She said only 18 percent of the AfD's voters were women which was "way too few" and the party needed to attract more women voters. She said she favoured free child care and kindergartens because that would help families.
Weidel also urged former AfD leader Frauke Petry to give up her seat in parliament after quitting the party the day after the election and vowing to sit as an independent.
"I don't have any animosity," Weidel said. "I think it's a shame that she left the AfD. I consider it the wrong decision."
Petry this month kicked off a new "Blue Party", promising a "reasonable conservative" agenda and berating AfD leaders for holding views too far outside the mainstream.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by David Gregorio)