Traumatised by its Nazi past, post-war Germany has carefully relegated right-wing populist movements to the fringes of politics, but the anti-migrant AfD may have muscled its way in from the cold.

With discontent growing in Germany over Chancellor Angela Merkel's liberal refugee policy, the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) on Sunday captured seats in the regional parliaments of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt.

It garnered as many as close to one in four votes in Saxony-Anhalt while in the other two states, support reached between 12.5 and 15 percent, projections based on partial results showed.

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