BERLIN     -     The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party will try to build on its successes in two regional votes last month and beat Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in another eastern state election on Sunday. Among a swathe of nationalist movements making waves across Europe, the AfD is the third largest party in Germany’s legislature behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD). After surging into the national parliament for the first time in 2017, the AfD is trying to build momentum in the east this year and surged into second place in the eastern states of Saxony and Brandenburg in Sept. 1 elections. The AfD could fracture the vote in Sunday’s election in Thuringia, causing political gridlock, but its national growth appears to have stalled, with pan-German support only just above the 12.6% it won in the 2017 national election. “The AfD is strong in Thuringia,” said Forsa pollster Manfred Guellner. “However, on a federal level, they are not growing, they are not winning more votes now than they did in 2017 overall.” The AfD has harnessed voter anger over refugees and the planned closure of coal mines in the poorer and less cosmopolitan formerly Communist east of the country. Founded in 2013 on an anti-euro platform, the AfD swiftly morphed into a far-right, anti-immigration party.