The populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) has overtaken the Social Democrats (SPD) in a national opinion poll for the first time.

The news comes as the SPD begins a crucial vote on a coalition with Angela Merkel.

A poll published on behalf of German tabloid Bild has found that 16 percent of voters would choose the right-wing, anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), half-a-percent more than those who would vote for the Social Democrats (SPD).

The figures released by the INSA polling institute show the SPD in free fall. Germany’s oldest political party has seen its polling figures plummet even further since it garnered just 20.5 percent of the vote in September’s federal election, its worst result in the post-war era.

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