Donald Trump's lies about mail-in voting have surfaced in Germany's unusually wide open general election to replace longtime chancellor Angela Merkel.
Three candidates -- Armin Laschet, from Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union, Olaf Scholz from the center-left Social Democrats and Annalena Baerbock of the Greens -- are locked in a tight race just days ahead of Sunday's election, but a prominent state-level leader of the ultra-right Alternative für Deutschland is repacking Trump's election lies to cast doubt on Germany's vote, reported The Daily Beast.
"Anyone who has an interest in fair elections and secret elections should go to their polling place," said Björn Höcke at a recent campaign event.
The Greens and SDP both advocate for postal voting, but Höcke claimed they're sanctioning voter fraud and passed along a dubious story about a Green supporter casting a vote on behalf of their grandmother -- and agreed that's how Trump lost his election.
"Stay alert, my friends," Höcke said. "This is about our democracy."
The party's influence on German politics remains minimal -- it's currently polling at about 11 percent, slightly lower than the 12.6 percent it drew in 2017 -- but extremism observers believe AfD is seizing on Trump-style election lies to appeal to voters distrustful of the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The underlying core of this narrative is that it's trying to destabilize the democratic process within Germany," said Nora Mathelemuse, an analyst at the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue. "Because if the election doesn't properly work, then what is our democracy?"