German election: AfD leader Frauke Petry faces perjury fight

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In July the AfD released this campaign poster featuring Frauke Petry and her new-born babyImage source, AFD
Image caption,
Ms Petry stepped back from the party leadership in April to have her fifth baby

A parliamentary committee in eastern Germany has called for Frauke Petry, one of the leaders of Germany's right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), to lose her immunity from prosecution over allegations of perjury.

The decision comes little over a month before Germans head to the polls.

The AfD hopes to enter the parliament in Berlin for the first time.

Prosecutors asked the Saxony state parliament to lift Ms Petry's immunity after a campaign financing inquiry.

She is suspected of making false statements under oath before a parliamentary committee in November 2015.

Ms Petry is a co-leader of the the nationalist AfD and its lead candidate in Saxony for the 24 September federal election.

Prosecutors will be able to press ahead with the case if, as expected, no objections are raised by other members of the state parliament. She has said in the past that she is relaxed about the case.

AfD is currently polling at around 8% in German opinion polls and already has delegates in 13 of Germany's 16 state parliaments. Among its policies are a call to declare Islam incompatible with German culture and a plan to strip immigrants convicted of serious crimes of their German passports.

The party's fortunes have declined in the past year, partly because of internal wrangling but also because immigration has become less of an issue in German politics. Parties need to reach a 5% threshold of the vote to enter the Bundestag.

Ms Petry was instrumental in moving the AfD to the right after it was founded as an anti-euro movement. In 2016, amid the influx of migrants and refugees into Germany, she suggested that police should, "if necessary", shoot at migrants seeking to enter the country illegally.

In April she stepped back from the party leadership to have her fifth baby after losing an internal fight to steer the AfD towards a more moderate course. Controversially, she was then pictured with her baby in July in an AfD campaign poster.