BERLIN (AP) — A once-prominent figure in the far-right Alternative for Germany has left the party after a falling-out and has reportedly founded a new group.

Andre Poggenburg, who as the party's regional leader in eastern Saxony-Anhalt state led it to its strongest state election performance yet in 2016, confirmed to news agency dpa Friday he has left.

The daily Die Welt quoted Poggenburg as saying that the party had taken a noticeable left turn lately for fear of being placed under observation by Germany's domestic intelligence agency.

Last year, Poggenburg resigned as regional party leader after labeling Turks as "camel drivers" and immigrants with dual nationality a "homeless mob we no longer want to have."

Die Welt reported he set up a new party named "Awakening of German Patriots — Central Germany."

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