BERLIN (AP) — A party that wants Germany to stop using the euro currency is set to enter the European Parliament after receiving at least 6.7 percent of the vote in elections Sunday, projections by German broadcasters suggest.
The projections from German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF, based on partial counts released since polls closed at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT), put the year-old Alternative for Germany on course to take six or seven of the country's 96 seats in the European Parliament. The result will be a blow to Germany's established parties, which have championed the euro and sought to brand Alternative for Germany as an unelectable mix of academics and nationalists.
"We won't work with right-wing populists," the party's leader Bernd Lucke said after the vote, insisting that Alternative for Germany was generally in favor of the European Union despite its rejection of the common currency. Lucke said his party would seek talks with the European Conservatives and Reformists, a bloc that includes the British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc was predicted to take 35 seats and her center-left coalition partner the Social Democrats could take 26 seats. Germany's Green party looked set to receive 11 seats while the Left Party was on course for seven, according to ARD projections.
A recent ruling by Germany's top court means several fringe parties will also send deputies to the European Parliament, including one from the far-right National Democratic Party. Germany's 16 states have asked the Constitutional Court to consider banning the party because of its anti-Semitic and anti-democratic tendencies.
Turnout in Germany was slightly higher than during the previous European elections, at 48 percent compared with 43.3 percent in 2009.
Final results will be announced early Monday.