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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 17th March 2017 > SPRING TIME FOR PETRY

SPRING TIME FOR PETRY

As her right-wing party rises in the German opinion polls, is Frauke Petry the most dangerous nationalist in Europe?
RIGHT TO MARCH: At a protest against Berlin’s refugee policy in 2015, Petry holds a banner reading “Asylum Needs Limits.”
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

WHEN DONALD TRUMP BECAME THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, MOST GERMANS SEEMED TO BE IN MOURNING. THE COUNTRY’S VICE CHANCELLOR, SIGMAR GABRIEL, WARNED OF “A ROUGH RIDE” AHEAD; A WEEK LATER, CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL LECTURED TRUMP ON THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS, TELLING HIM THAT THE FIGHT AGAINST MILITANTS’ ATTACKS DOES NOT JUSTIFY BANNING REFUGEES FLEEING WAR AND PERSECUTION.

But in the dawn of the Trump era, one political party formerly on the fringes of German society has been glowing: the anti-immigrant, anti-EU Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

Four days after Trump’s inauguration in January, I met AfD’s party leader, Frauke Petry, who represents the district of Saxony, at her office in Leipzig, where she compared Trump’s victory to Britain’s vote to leave the EU. Both events, she said, inspire parties like hers, which are critical of the EU because they show that the increasing consolidation of power in Brussels is not inevitable. “It shows us at least that change is possible,” she said.

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KILLER INSTINCT: IS NORTH KOREA'S KIM JONG UN OUT OF CONTROL Kim Jong Nam was the half-brother of the current North Korean ruler, Kim Jong Un, but the two likely never met. Nam was thirteen years older, and "they were raised in separate households,’’ says a former South Korean intelligence analyst, “and [Kim Jong Nam] was shipped off to Switzerland for school as a boy. No way they ever met.” Which makes what happened on February 13 that much more confounding and disturbing. Shortly before 9 a.m., as Kim Jong Nam walked through an airport terminal, he was approached by two women; one walked in front of him, as if to distract him, while the other slipped behind him. Both quickly touched his face and then hurried off. Twenty minutes later he was dead. The assassination, unquestionably ordered by Kim Jong Un, was stunning in its brazenness: out in the open, easy for security cameras to capture and then display to the world. But is this killing just the beginning of a lethal spree?
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