Far-right Pegida movement announces plans to establish political party in Germany

The next German federal elections are scheduled to take place next year

Far-right Pegida movement announces plans to establish political party in Germany

Lutz Bachmann. Image: Jens Meyer / AP/Press Association Images

The head of Germany's controversial anti-immigrant Pegida movement has announced plans to establish a political party linked to the group.

The FDDV party - translated by AFP as the Popular Party for Freedom and Direct Democracy - was unveiled by Lutz Bachmann, the Pegida founder and its current chairman.

The group - which was founded in 2014 - has become internationally known for its far-right and anti-Islam demonstrations, as well as the counterdemonstrations against Pegida itself.

A number of international Pegida offshoots have also been founded in recent years.

The announcement of the 'parliamentary arm' of the group comes ahead of the next German federal election, which is due to take place next year.

The new party will only put candidates up for election in a small number of areas, and Pegida will continue to support the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Mr Bachmann - who was recently convicted of inciting racial hatred - says he will not lead the party himself, the Sud Deutsche newspaper reports.

The next German election will take place in the wake of the refugee crisis in Europe, as well as the turmoil within the EU itself.

Opinion polls have shown far-right parties making small gains ahead of the next vote, with most surveys putting support for the parties at between 10% and 15%.

While support for Angela Merkel's CDU has fallen from the 41% of the vote they won in the 2013 election, polls show that they remain the most popular party - with polls consistently putting them at over 30% support.