Excerpt:

A leader of the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) is pushing to overturn the party's ban on members joining rallies by the anti-Islam PEGIDA movement - another sign of the rightward shift of Germany's budding main opposition party.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) are struggling to stop voters switching to the AfD, which won almost 13 percent in a Sept. election and entered parliament. The latest INSA poll this week showed the AfD on 16 percent - overtaking the SPD for the first time.

Keen to ensure it does not alienate voters in the political centreground, the AfD has in the past been careful to avoid allying itself with the grassroots PEGIDA movement which holds regular events to protest against "Islamisation".


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