A couple of weeks ago we saw Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party (CDU) take a beating in the regional, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania elections. This weekend that pattern repeated itself as Berlin held its own parliamentary contest. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party hadn’t held any seats there and until recently was seen as essentially a non-factor, but now they’ve actually pulled almost even with Merkel’s CDU and that has the old guard nervous. (Telegraph)
Angela Merkel suffered damaging losses at the hands of Germany’s resurgent far-Right in regional elections in Berlin on Sunday evening.
The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party won the highest share of the vote for the far-Right in Berlin since the Second World War, with around 14 percent, according to public broadcasters’ projections.
Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) suffered their worst ever results in the German capital, with just 17.5 per cent of the vote.
But the results will be viewed with some relief by the chancellor and her allies, after the AfD fell considerably short of expectations.
Forecast just days ago to win as much as 15 per cent and come third, the openly anti-Muslim party was beaten into fifth place by the Greens and the Left Party.
The national elections won’t take place until next year, but these regional parliamentary elections are generally viewed as setting the stage for what will happen then. This shouldn’t be interpreted as the AfD suddenly controlling a majority of the country because their specific slice of the electoral pie is still fairly small. But the unrest with the traditional power structure is obvious, since the CDU was previously the cornerstone of the ruling coalition along with the Social Democrats (SPD). Now the Left is more disorganized and Berlin’s mayor, Michael Mueller, sees his SPD party being more aligned with the Greens and a much more radical left group, the Die Linke party. (The Local, Germany)
As Mueller has said he does not want to stay in a coalition with the CDU, Merkel’s party may be cast out of the Berlin government altogether while the SPD instead teams up with the ecologist Greens and the far-left Die Linke party.
In a city famously dubbed “poor but sexy” by its previous mayor, the openly gay bon vivant Klaus Wowereit, the election campaign has been dominated not just by migrant policies but also widespread frustration over poor public services.
Merkel is already making some apologies for the fallout from her open borders immigration policy as unrest grows in the country. Unfortunately for her, that doesn’t seem to be swaying the public very much. If the refugee crisis and growing rates of crime and fears of terrorism continue to be the driving factors for voters, next year could spell the end for one of the most influential leaders Europe has seen in generations.