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>> With around seven months to go to the federal election, support for the Alternative for Germany party, that's an anti-immigrant party here in Germany, is slipping in some polls. I'm Reuters correspondent, Michelle Martin, in Berlin. The latest polls are showing the AFD on around 8.5 to 11%. That's still well above the 5% threshold that they need to reach in order to enter federal parliament for the first time.
But it's well below the highs of around 15% support that the party had at the turn of the year. The refugee crisis boosted support for the Alternative for Germany, but nobody's really talking about refugees as much as they once were. And the government also seems to be taking more decisive actions such as by deporting groups of Afghan asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected.
The Social Democrats have chosen Martin Schulz as their candidate for chancellor. And he's trying to make fighting inequality a key campaign issue. Some of the experts that I've spoken to said some of the AFD supporters went over to the AFD because they felt that they were disadvantaged in social or economic terms.
But now they feel that Martin Schulz is taking up this issue. The SPD is a party that could represent them too. And that's detracting from support for the AFD. The party is suffering from a serious bout of infighting. It all started back in January when Bjorn Hocke, a senior member of the AFD in Eastern Germany, called Berlin's Holocaust Memorial, a monument of shame.
That caused quite a lot of upset in the party and also in German society. The party members eventually voted to expel him from the party and an arbitration body now has to decide on that. But not everyone in the party is happy about that. And some members have written a letter In which they've said that the decision was excessive and could cause the party to split.
The next challenge for the AFD is a regional election in the small state of Saarland which is on the border with France and Luxembourg. That election will be happening at the end of March and the latest polls are showing that the AFD is expected to get around 9 or 10% there.