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Right-wing politician Bernd Lucke suffers setback ahead of AfD leadership vote

A leader of the euroskeptic Alternative for Germany party has been told he cannot continue with his 'Wake-Up Call' splinter group. Bernd Lucke is locked in a power struggle with fellow party leader Frauke Petry.

The public infighting amongst the leaders of the euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) took another turn on Tuesday as Frauke Petry and Bernd Lucke, two of the three co-chairs, engaged in yet another open spat over Lucke's party-within-the-party "Wake-Up Call 2015."

Bernd Lucke, a member of the European Parliament who is largely seen as the face of the party to the outside world, started his new "group" in May, hoping to steer the party back to what he saw as its financially conservative roots and away from its increasingly anti-immigration image.

Petry, a member of Saxony's state parliament for the AfD, had called for an official dissolution of "Wake-up call 2015," saying its existence violated party rules - and on Tuesday, an arbitration court sided with her.

Showdown set for July

The pair, along with their third co-chair Konrad Adam, are preparing to duke it out for the single-leader election due at the party's convention in Essen at the beginning of July. The convention had to be postponed from its originally planned mid-June date, apparently because of the conflict between Lucke and Petry.

Lucke, the economics professor turned right-wing politician, took exception to the decision about his group - calling it "an error of law" in an interview with the prestigious German daily "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung."

He explained to the paper, in a piece to be published Wednesday, that "Wake-Up Call 2015" was not a party splinter group hoping to replace the AfD, but was simply an association of like-minded party members, like a club. Because of this, the party's arbitration court had no right to disband it.

"That goes for 'Wake-Up Call 2015' the same way it would for the Bayern Munich soccer team or the German Red Cross," read Lucke's statement on the matter.

According to a statement from the arbitration court, however, their decision is "binding and not contestable."

es/bw (AFP, dpa)

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