Candidate loses German election after film makers weigh in

BERLIN — A 51-year-old immigrant has been elected mayor of a town in eastern Germany after beating a candidate from the far-right Alternative for Germany party in a runoff that drew international attention.

The dpa news agency reported that Octavian Ursu, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party who came to Germany from Romania in 1990, received 55.1 per cent of the vote in Sunday's election in Goerlitz. Preliminary returns showed opponent Sebastian Wippel received 44.9 per cent.

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Actors, directors and others who made films on location in Goerlitz had called on residents to vote against the Alternative for Germany candidate. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Inglourious Basterds" are among the movies shot there.

They signed a letter saying: "Don't succumb to hate and enmity, discord and exclusion.

AfD condemned the letter as unwelcome outside advice.

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