Excerpt:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, saying it stirs up prejudice and polarizes society.

Her comments, made in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, reflect growing unease among Germany's mainstream parties amid rising popular support for the right-wing AfD and its fierce opposition against Merkel's refugee policy.

Merkel faces one of her toughest electoral tests in three regional elections on March 13. The AfD is set to win almost 20 percent in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt and match the ruling Social Democrats in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, according to the most recent polls.


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