Alternative for Germany party picks conservative as new leader to replace euroskeptic founder

The upstart Alternative for Germany party has replaced its euroskeptic leader with a conservative from the east who wants to place greater emphasis on immigration.

A majority of AfD members backed Frauke Petry in the leadership vote Saturday against Bernd Lucke, who led the party during its successful bids in the past two years to enter the European Parliament and five German state assemblies.

Petry, a 40-year-old businesswoman who previously led the party in the state of Saxony, has accused Lucke of focusing too much on opposing the euro currency.

Her conservative wing has sought to broaden the party's appeal to those who oppose immigration, particularly from Islamic countries.

The party narrowly failed to pass the 5 percent threshold to enter the national Parliament in 2013.