From the left, the leader of the Federal Parliament faction Alice Weidel, left, and Alexander Gauland, center, and party president Joerg Meuthen, right, attended a convention of the Alternative party for Germany, AfD, in Hanover , Germany, on Saturday, December 2, 2017. (Michael Sohn / Associated Press)
By Associated Press By Associated Press December 2 at 2:33 PM  BERLIN – Members of a growing nationalist party in Germany chose their leadership on Saturday at a convention in the city of Hannover that was overshadowed by protests.
Joerg Meuthen was re-elected as president at the first full party congress since the Alternative for Germany, known as AfD, won seats in the national parliament for the first time.
Alexander Gauland, one of the parliamentary leaders of the party and a power within AfD, was elected as co-president.
The position that Gauland badumes had been vacant since the day after the September Election. Former party leader Frauke Petry said AfD was flirting with extreme right-wing extremism and resigned, saying he would not represent him in the Bundestag.
Both Meuthen and Gauland belong to the most conservative wing of the nationalist party.
The alternative for Germany received almost 13 percent of the votes in the federal elections on September 24, making it the third strongest party in the Bundestag. The party promoted a message against the concession and campaigned aggressively against Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The vote for Gauland followed a tumultuous tie-break vote between Georg Pazderski, leader of the AfD branch in Berlin, and Doris von Sayn-Wittgenstein, a state parliament member of Schleswig-Holstein.
After the second round did not produce a clear majority for either candidate, both withdrew and Gauland then ran alone for the position of co-president.
The convention had a difficult start on Saturday morning when clashes between police and protesters briefly delayed its opening. Police used water cannons to disperse hundreds of protesters who tried to block access to the convention center.
Ten demonstrators were temporarily detained; Several policemen and one protester were injured.
Later, some 6,500 protesters marched through Hanover singing slogans against the party, the German news agency dpa reported.
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