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Anti-euro party could win seats in German vote: poll

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(BERLIN) - Germany's upstart anti-euro party AfD could capture seats in parliament in Sunday's general election and scupper Chancellor Angela Merkel's chance of holding on to her centre-right coalition, a new poll indicated.

The new Alternative for Germany (AfD), founded by a professor who believes the single European currency is a disastrous money pit for Germany, scored five percent in the poll by independent institute Insa Thursday.

That figure is the bare minimum required for representation in the Bundestag lower house of parliament. Until now the AfD had been credited with around three to four percent.

Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats held steady at 38 percent, according to the poll, while their current coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democrats, gained two points to six percent.

Pollsters say that the entry of an AfD bloc in parliament would rob Merkel's coalition of a governing majority based on current estimates of its number of seats.

Such an outcome would most likely force her to form a left-right "grand coalition" with the Social Democrats (SPD), who scored 28 percent, up one point, in the latest poll.

Their preferred partners, the opposition Greens, tallied eight percent, making a centre-left alliance under SPD candidate Peer Steinbrueck look out of reach.

The far-left Die Linke reached nine percent but the Social Democrats have ruled it out as a potential partner.

The AfD has been labelled populist in German media and garnered negative headlines for accounting irregularities and some members' reported far-right leanings.

Its main message is that bailout packages for debt-mired southern European countries have made the euro untenable for Germany and called for a return to the deutschmark.

Talk of fresh aid to Greece during the campaign gave it a further boost.


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