The far right is taking on the movie industry in a picturesque German border town.
Locals in Görlitz, an elegant place of 57,000 on the Polish border used as a Hollywood movie location, head to the ballot box Sunday to decide whether to give the Alternative for Germany party its first-ever town mayor in a run-off against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.
The AfD won the first round of the vote in late May by 6 percentage points and a win on Sunday would give the party momentum ahead of bigger regional elections this fall affecting 9 million people in three of the six former East German states. That includes about 4 million people in Saxony, home to big cities such as Leipzig and Dresden as well as Görlitz.
A national election is not scheduled until 2021, but the collapse in support for the Social Democrats means the federal coalition government is teetering. The AfD is currently the third largest party in the Bundestag and would hope to gain ground in any nationwide poll, despite a surge in support for the Greens.
Görlitz is meant to symbolize the new, modern eastern Germany, and has seen huge investment in the three decades since unification. Suburban housing blocks are freshly painted and the parks are well maintained.