The reality of the AfD in Germany

Published 02.09.2019 21:20
Updated 03.09.2019 00:02

Last Sunday in the two eastern provinces of Germany, provincial assembly elections were held. One of these provinces was the Brandenburg province where the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Left Party were strong for many years, the other was the province of Sachsen where the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) was very strong.

Both provinces were provinces that the Socialist Unity Party (SED), the communist party of Eastern Germany, had the strongest base. After the two Germany's merged, Brandenburg followed this tradition by supporting the Left Party and parties like the SPD. In Sachsen, however, the CDU was always strong. After the Alternative for Germany (AfD) came into existence, Sachsen, where the PEGİDA movement was the most popular in parallel with this party, became a center for Germany's most militant far-right movements.

Despite this, the CDU became the first party by taking 39.4% of the votes in the elections held in 2014 and formed a coalition government with SPD. Now, it is no longer possible for the CDU to have a coalition with the SPD since it is down to 32.1% votes, a 7.3% vote loss. In Brandenburg, the SPD had a coalition government with the Left Party. Following the elections on Sunday, there is no longer any chances for this coalition too.

In both provinces, the AfD won. The AfD, which only had 9.7% votes in 2014 in Sachsen, today became the second party with 27.6% of votes. The AfD, which had 12.2% votes in Brandenburg in 2014, also became the second party in this province with 23.5% of votes.

The losers of the elections were primarily the two center parties, the SPD and the CDU. The Liberals (FDP) as expected were unable to enter parliament in either province where their votes were below 5%.

Elections held this Sunday also showed that the period of high results in eastern Germany has come to an end for the Left Party. Brandenburg was the fortress of the Left Party. They had a vote ratio of 18.6 in 2014. Today with a loss of 7.9% they were only able to get 10.7%. And in Sachsen, while they had 18.9% votes in 2014, today they are only able to get 10.4%. The Greens, despite being unsuccessful in the elections in eastern Germany, increased their votes in general in these elections.

They had a vote ratio of 6.2 in Brandenburg in 2014. Today with a vote ratio of 10.8 they have increased their vote ratio by a percentage of 4.6. In Sachsen, while they had a 5.7 vote ratio in 2014, now they have reached a ratio of 8.6.

SPD's fall continued. Even though the SPD administration makes declarations saying, "that they have received more votes than expected," and are able to remain the number one party in Brandenburg, by losing 5.7% of their votes they were only able to reach a vote ratio of 26.2% (in 2014 this was 31.9$). In Sachsen, they suffered a total defeat. By going under the 10% vote range they only had to get a 7.7 vote ratio (in 2014 this was 12.4). The

SPD can only form a government by forming a three-party coalition in Brandenburg where it became the number one party. Similarly, the CDU in Sachsen can only form a government by forming a three-party coalition either including Greens or the SPD. In both provinces, Greens are on their way to be a government party. Not only in the west of Germany, now in the east too, the Greens are in the position of being a government partner.

These two provincial elections show yet again that the SPD at the federal level in Germany cannot remain in government for long. In public opinion polls regarding the Thüringen Provincial Assembly elections to be held Oct. 27, the SPD is shown to be receiving only 8% of the votes. As a result, the CDU with every passing day seems to be forced into a coalition model with the Greens and is almost running out of alternatives.

As a result of these elections, now we have to accept the AfD as a reality in Germany. It has already become clear that at the Thüringen provincial assembly elections, they will be very successful to be either the first or second party.

On the other hand, while the CDU as of now keeps identifying the AfD as a far-right populist party and denies coalition partnership as a result, with every passing day doing so gets harder. If the AfD continues to increase its votes in the provinces, it will get the chance to become a government partner at the provincial level as is the case in Italy and Austria. In certain provinces, forming the government with the AfD could become the only option.

Expulsion of the AfD makes it stronger. Maybe if it shoulders the responsibility of government, the AfD might lose its charm.

As it is the case in France, Italy and Austria, the AfD, which became what it is today with the support of Russia, is a new wave in the politics of Europe. Americanist parties are more than enough in Europe. Maybe parties supporting Russia means a new "balance of superpowers" in politics.

As a result, we are no longer surprised to see the AfD as the party that is showing the strongest opposition to U.S. or European Union demands for an embargo of Russia.

Thus, it would be beneficial to analyze the AfD reality in multiple aspects. It would no longer be enough to leave it aside by identifying it as a far-right populist party.

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