This month German Chancellor Olaf Scholz marshaled his ministers to discuss strategies on how best to tackle the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is polling in second place nationwide.

The AfD's success has become an urgent concern for all mainstream parties in Germany amid fears that it could sweep communal and European elections in June and three state elections in eastern Germany in September.

Once dismissed as a fringe movement, the 11-year-old anti-establishment party has about 20% support nationwide, behind only the main opposition conservatives, polls suggest. It places first in Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg in eastern Germany.