BERLIN – A founding member of Germany's upstart Alternative for Germany party, who left after losing the leadership to a bitter rival, announced the creation of a new party Sunday with a fiscally conservative euroskeptic message.
Bernd Lucke, the former leader of the Alternative for Germany or AfD, said a group of 70 supporters had backed the idea of founding the "Alliance for Progress and Renewal," which will be known by its German abbreviation ALFA.
The decision came at closed meeting of Lucke's "Wake Up Call 2015" organization in Kassel, the dpa news agency reported. Lucke said some 5,000 people had already shown interest in the new party and he would serve as chairman.
Under Lucke, AfD narrowly missed the 5 percent threshold needed to enter the national Parliament in 2013 and was widely seen as a threat to the right-wing of Chancellor Angela Merkel's own conservative bloc. It has since entered the European Parliament and won seats in regional legislatures, but became increasingly mired in infighting.
Lucke, an economics professor, left the AfD earlier this month after he lost a leadership vote to Frauke Petry, a businesswoman who accused Lucke of focusing too much on opposing the euro currency.
Lucke, who complained of ever-stronger anti-Islamic and anti-foreigner views in the AfD, said under Petry "the party has fallen irretrievably into the wrong hands."