Germany's EU commissioner, known for his sharp "Kalashnikov"-like comments, has called AfD's Frauke Petry a disgrace to German politics. The anti-mass-migration AfD's popularity has soared in the last months.
EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Günther Oettinger was attending an event at software giant Microsoft's Berlin office on Monday when he said the words, "If Petry were my wife, I would shoot myself tonight." When journalists asked the commissioner to explain his statement, Oettinger said, "This woman is a disgrace to German politics."
Oettinger was referring to the Alternative für Deutschland's (AfD) head, Frauke Petry, who recently said that police should have the right to shoot refugees trying to enter Germany as a last resort. She has since clarified her comments.
Petry's colleague and head of the AfD's Thuringia wing, Bernd Höcke, described Oettinger's comments as "without class" and marking the nadir of political confrontation. In an apparent reference to the cultural integration of refugees, Höcke said the commissioner needed to pay attention to "occidental standards of behavior."
Frauke Petry turned to widely-read "Bild" to vent her frustration and get back at the EU official. "Mr. Oettinger, your imagination is unappetizing. What would your wife say to that?"
German media picked up on the scuff, with public broadcaster ZDF's political satire series "Heute Show" calling the incident "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang." The satirists tweeted that if Petry were to marry Oettinger, "she'd pull out her gun on the wedding night if he crossed his limits."
Shots from the Kalashnikov
Günther Oettinger, member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is known for his "Kalashnikov" like comments in Swabian, the dialect spoken in Germany's southwestern Baden-Württemberg state.
Oettinger became famous for his acerbic language and awkward behavior during his tenure as chief minister from 2005-2010. He was once photographed at a party, wearing a tea sieve over his eyes like a pair of glasses.
His jokes aside, the commissioner's comments represent growing concern among Germany's political circles that the euroskeptic, anti-mass-migration party may gain entrance into more regional parliaments. Three states, including Oettinger's home Baden Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt are holding elections next month.
The AfD, which has been cashing on its anti-migration agenda following the sexual attacks in Cologne, enjoys support from 12.5 percent of Germans, according to a "Bild" survey.
Political parties in Germany need 5 percent votes to gain entry into the Bundestag.
mg/kms (dpa, Reuters)