German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces the threat of fresh gains by the right-wing populist AfD party in Berlin state elections Sunday, as discontent rises over her welcome to refugees.

Although Germany's multicultural hipster capital looks bound to re-elect the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) as the top party, the AfD is polling at around 14 percent with support strongest in the poorer tower-block districts of the city's former communist east.

This would place the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany into its 10th of the country's 16 state assemblies, a year ahead of national elections, and continue a voter drift away from the mainstream parties.

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