Germany's anti-euro, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party appeared to take a lurch further to the right at the weekend, with party members electing a hardline nationalist as co-leader of the party and eschewing more moderate candidates.
During the AfD's first party congress since German elections in September — which saw the party gain enough votes to enter parliament for the first time — delegates elected Alexander Gauland to co-lead the party along with Jorg Meuthen.
Gauland replaces Frauke Petry who shocked many by quitting the party after its election success to become an independent member of parliament. The move disappointed more moderate members who had hoped to elect Georg Pazderski, leader of the AfD's Berlin branch.
The election of Alexander Gauland, who has courted controversy for various remarks relating to World War II, seems to cement the party's move towards the right. However, speaking to CNBC on Monday, moderate candidate Pazderski denied this.
"I think we had a good result (at the congress). It's not a move to the right and now I'm number three in the party and before I was not in the top leadership. And the board of the party is now a very moderate party board because a lot of people have been elected to it that share my view of how the party should be developed in the future," he said.
The AfD was founded in 2013, largely as a oppositional response to euro zone bailouts at the time, but it has gradually changed into more of an anti-immigration party particularly during Europe's migration crisis which started in 2015.
Over one million refugees and migrants arrived in the country in 2015 alone, largely thanks to Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to open up the country amid the crisis.