World Bulletin / News Desk
Stanislaw Tillich, who led Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Saxony since 2008, resigned after the far-right AfD won 27 percent of the vote in Saxony, beating the CDU in a second-place win in a federal election last month.
“For a good future for Saxony, we also need new answers,” the 58-year old Tillich said in a press release.
“I know that this requires new and fresh strength,” he also stressed.
The experienced politician said he would not be a candidate at the CDU’s regional party convention on Dec. 9, and would also step down as the premier of Saxony.
Tillich suggested Michael Kretschmer, the CDU’s secretary general, as his successor.
The far-right AfD became the third-largest party in Germany’s federal parliament after winning 12.6 percent of the vote in federal elections late last month.
It performed best in the former communist eastern states of Saxony, Thuringia, and Brandenburg.
In its campaign, the AfD attacked Merkel’s open-door policy for refugees, arguing that the country faces the threat of “Islamization” especially after nearly one million refugees, mostly from Syria and Iraq, arrived since 2015.
The EU’s largest economy has witnessed growing Islamophobia and hatred of migrants in recent years triggered by propaganda from far-right and populist parties exploiting fears over the refugee crisis and terrorism.