For the first time since the German chancellor Angela Merkel threw open the gates of her country to welcome migrants and refugees, her policies had to stand a test of the Ballot Box in three regional elections. Mrs. Merkel’s party lost votes in all three states and the right wing Alternative for Germany which stood for election in the three states for the first time won between twelve and twenty-four percent of the popular vote.
The election here along with polls in two other states, the neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate and Sachsen-Anhalt which used to be part of East Germany are as you say being seen as a test of Angela Merkel open door policy towards migrants and refugees. The arrival of so many people, more than a million, has been a source of growing division and discontent among the German people.
And tonight, the anti-immigrant AFD or Alternative for Germany appears to have capitalized on that discontent, winning votes from those who want to put away the welcome mat for refugees.
Now, just bear in mind, AFD was only formed in 2013 and yet in Sachsen-Anhalt, the party may have gained 24 percent of the vote according to the initial exit polls. And that would make it the second biggest party in the state behind Angela Merkel’s CDU. Well tonight the leader of AFD said their success was due to the flawed policy of the CDU-led government.
It is the catastrophic policies of Chancellor Merkel which clearly opened people’s eyes. This is the only reason why we succeeded in entering into all state parliaments with double digit figures.
How significant is this? What does this mean for the AFD and indeed for German politics more generally?
When we look at Sachsen-Anhalt,we see that there has already been some kind of a right wing potential there.But the biggest right wing party was the DVU in 1998 was about twelve percent,now they have,the AFD has about twenty-four percent.So it’s not only the right wing potential,but it is also the protest potential which is,
which makes them such big there.
But you also see that the AFD is very strong in Rhineland-Palatinate.And we talked about this is a test for Angela Merkel.
What do you think tonight’s result means for her and her chancellorship?
I think Angela Merkel really looks at these results very closely.Of course you can see these results as some kind of referendum on her politics,on her refugee politics,but on the other hand,it’s not that easy to say that it’s really against her.