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New German Political Party Emulates Austrian Extremists

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A new extremist political party has surfaced in Germany — and its founder says he plans to use Europe’s most popular extremist party as his model.

About 300 people gathered recently in the central German town of Kirchheim for the inauguration of the party, which is called Offensive for Germany — the Liberals. The party’s platform includes demands for stricter controls on immigration and a halt to Europe’s proposed single-currency plan.

Party members say they hope the party can unite existing right-wing political groups.

The party was founded by Heiner Kappel, a long-time member of Germany’s centrist Free Democratic Party who has ties to ultra-right organizations.

Several other members of the Free Democrats known for their right-wing views are expected to join him.

Kappel says he is modeling his group on Austria’s Freedom Party. Under the leadership of the charismatic Jorg Haider, who has made favorable comments about the Nazi regime, that party regularly captures about 20 percent of the national vote in Austria.

The Freedom Party has explicitly called for a ban on immigrants and opposes Austria’s presence in the European Union.

About 100 protestors demonstrated against the new party in the eastern German town of Eisenach where the inaugural event was originally scheduled.

Two right-wing parties, the National Democratic Party and the Republicans, currently have representatives in several German city councils. Neither party has ever managed to earn the 5 percent of the national vote necessary for representation in the national Parliament.

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