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POLITICS

German stars call on voters to shun far-right AfD in ‘Görliwood’

Film stars and authors are leading a call for a small town dubbed "Görliwood" to shun the far-right in mayoral elections next week.

German stars call on voters to shun far-right AfD in 'Görliwood'
Daniel Brühl is one of the stars calling for Görlitz to shun the far-right. Photo: DPA

On the border with Poland, the quaint little town of Görlitz has become the backdrop of many Hollywood blockbusters including “Inglorious Bastards” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel”.

It holds a second round run-off vote for a new mayor later this month, after a first vote was topped by the candidate from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Alarmed that the town could become the first in Germany with an AfD mayor, actors including Daniel Brühl and Volker Bruch, plus writers like Daniel Kehlmann and Bernhard Schlink have signed a petition urging voters in Görlitz: “Don't give in to hate and hostility, conflict and exclusion.”

READ ALSO: Eastern German town of Görlitz named the best filming location in Europe

Volker Bruch who starred in Babylon Berlin was also part of the call. Photo: DPA

“Please vote wisely… Don't betray your convictions the moment someone claims to be able to solve problems for you,” according to the appeal that is to be officially published on Monday.

SEE ALSO: Meet the East German Greens candidate offering another alternative

As The Local reported, in mayoral elections held on May 26th, the AfD candidate Sebastian Wippel, 36, took 36.4 percent of the vote. He was followed by Christian Democratic (CDU) candidate Octavian Ursu, 51, who won 30.3 percent of the vote.

Green Party candidate Franziska Schubert, 37, came in third place with 27.9 percent of the vote.

The picturesque town has been featured in several movies. Photo: DPA

However, because none of the candidates won an absolute majority, there will be another round of elections on June 16th. On May 26th, 58.6 percent of the city's 56,000 residents voted.

Political rift

The results show a political rift in the population. The far-right populists in Görlitz won 32.9 percent of the votes in the Bundestag (parliamentary) elections in 2017 and were 6 percentage points ahead of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Görlitz, Germany's most eastern town, has seen a mass exodus – like many others in the former communist East – as people sought higher wages in western regions.

Spared damage by Allied bombing during World War II, the Old Town's eye-catching medieval architecture draws a steady stream of visitors, some hoping to catch a glimpse of Hollywood stars in action.

But like in other towns in the state of Saxony, the anti-migrant AfD party has gained a strong footing in Görlitz, manging to woo over voters.

Alice Weidel, leader of the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag takes a selfie during the election campaign in Görlitz. Photo: DPA

Railing against Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to let in more than a million asylum seekers, the AfD took nearly 13 percent of the vote overall in the federal elections, becoming Germany's biggest opposition party.

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POLITICS

‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.

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