Far-right AfD Eyes Control Of German Town Favourite Of Hollywood

Far-right AfD eyes control of German town favourite of Hollywood

Grlitz, Germany, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 14th Jun, 2019 ) :Its cobblestone lanes and Baroque architecture are so quaint that Hollywood directors often come calling, but the German town of Goerlitz may soon have a new claim to notoriety.

A run-off election in the small city of around 55,000 people on the Polish border on Sunday could end in the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party winning its first mayoral seat.

Mainstream parties have thrown their support behind the centre-right contender from Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party, meaning AfD candidate Sebastian Wippel is seen as unlikely to triumph.

But Wippel won the first round in late May with 36 percent of the vote, sending shockwaves through the country already bracing for a strong AfD showing in Goerlitz's Saxony state in a September election.

His closest competitor, 51-year-old Octavian Ursu of the CDU, drew 30 percent and will face Wippel in the run-off.

The Romanian-born Ursu, who came to Germany as a musician in 1990, argues that only a "family-friendly Goerlitz that's open to the world" will manage to prosper.

Leading filmmakers and authors have led a call for Goerlitz voters to shun the anti-immigration, anti-Muslim party or risk isolation by the arts community and tourists.

British director Stephen Daldry, who filmed "The Reader" starring Kate Winslet partly in Goerlitz, actor Daniel Bruehl ("Goodbye Lenin") and writer Bernhard Schlink have all signed an anti-AfD petition: "Don't give in to hate and hostility, conflict and exclusion."The city, which was spared damage by Allied bombing during World War II, has also played backdrop to Hollywood blockbusters including "Inglourious Basterds" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel".

With hordes of visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of stars like George Clooney, Emma Thompson or Jeff Goldblum at work, the town nicknamed Goerliwood has since become a tourist magnet with its spruced up historic city centre nestled on the River Neisse.

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