The AfD (Alternative for Germany) not only enters the Bundestag but is now also the third biggest party, with 13.3% of the vote and 96 seats. It now has MPs in 13 of Germany’s 16 state parliaments. The party has its stronghold in the east of Germany, which is also in line with the regional state elections.
According to a report in today’s Guardian which hits the nail on the head:
“In many ways this is an anti-Merkel vote, reflecting opposition to her controversial Willkommenspolitik towards refugees, which not only pushed some voters of mainstream parties to switch but also mobilised previous non-voters. The same poll also shows, for example, that 89% of AfD voters thought that Merkel’s immigration policies ignored the “concerns of the people” (i.e. German citizens); 85% want stronger national borders; and 82% think that 12 years of Merkel is enough. In other words, AfD has clearly profited from the fact that immigration was the number one issue in these elections.”
A BBC report today also describes how the rise of the AfD is a direct result of Angela Merkel’s disastrous decision to let 900.000 ‘refugees’ into Germany:
“AfD – Alternative für Deutschland in German – has capitalised on a nationalist backlash against Chancellor Merkel’s welcome for almost 900,000 migrants and refugees in 2015.
When the numbers of migrants arriving in Germany surged in 2014-2015, AfD made that the focus of its party platform. There were contacts with the anti-immigration Pegida movement, which staged weekly marches against what it called ‘the Islamisation of the West’. The report goes onto say, “AfD calls for stricter asylum rules to curb abuse of the system, including vetting of claims in countries of origin that are deemed “safe”. The welfare system can no longer cope with asylum seekers bringing family members over to join them in Germany, the party argues. It says a system designed to help individual refugees is being exploited by unskilled migrants, many of whom struggle to integrate with Germans.”
As a part of its May 2016 election manifesto, the BBC report states that the “AfD would ban foreign funding of mosques in Germany, ban the burka (full-body veil) and the Muslim call to prayer, and put all imams through a state vetting procedure.”