Austria's Kurz backs Merkel rejection of far right
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Friday said it was "right" for German leader Angela Merkel to rule out working with the far right, even after he did the opposite in his previous government.
"That's why I think the path chosen" by Chancellor Merkel's conservative CDU party "is right and sensible".
"I think it's justified that the party has clearly decided not to cooperate with the AfD."
Merkel's conservatives have been plunged into crisis after regional CDU lawmakers in Thuringia state went rogue last week and voted in the same camp as the AfD to oust a far-left state premier.
The vote broke a political taboo in Germany and exposed the struggles of mainstream parties to maintain their firewall against the anti-Islam, anti-immigrant AfD, now one of the country's biggest parties.
The outrage that followed the Thuringia debacle prompted Merkel's preferred successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, to step down as CDU leader and drop her bid to become the party's chancellor candidate when Merkel bows out in 2021.
Looking ahead to Germany's next general election, Kurz predicted that the centre-right CDU could well end up in a coalition with the surging Greens, similar to his own new conservative-Green government.
The latest surveys put Merkel's conservatives in first place with around 27 percent support, followed by the Greens at around 22 percent.