Germany’s Central Council of Muslims said on Thursday that the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) was on a path to becoming a more radical, anti-Islamic party without co-chief Frauke Petry leading it into September’s national election.
Petry had become the face of the anti-immigration party, which hurt Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives during the migrant crisis but has leaked support this year. After a months-long power struggle, she announced on Wednesday she would not lead the party’s national election campaign.
The shock move was widely seen as an admission of defeat, even though she stays on as the party’s joint leader. In a test of how much influence she still wields, Petry will this weekend try and push through a motion at a party congress aimed at making the AfD able to join coalitions in the future.
Her rivals, she has said, want the AfD to be a “fundamental opposition” party.
“While Petry was always ready to have a critical dialogue with the Central Council of Muslims, other forces in the party leadership completely refused,” said Aiman Mazyek, head of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims.