To mark the end of the year, we’ve asked our contributors to preview some of the potential stories of 2017. In this contribution, Kai Arzheimer looks ahead to the German federal election, which is due to be held in the autumn.
In September 2017, Germans will go to the polls to elect the members of their national parliament, the Bundestag. In all likelihood, 90 or more of the new MPs will belong to the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, the German member of the European radical-right party family that is projected to win about 15 per cent of the vote. This would make the AfD the first new party to enter the Bundestag since 1990, and the first radical-right party to gain representation in the Bundestag since the 1949 founding election.
Since its inception in 2013, the AfD has been successful in every one of the ten regional (Land) elections in which it took part. In Germany’s federal (and sometimes almost feudal) system, the AfD parliamentary parties have provided an important political infrastructure, and all the relevant players at the national level are also leaders of regional party chapters.
Having a large parliamentary delegation at the national level will change the AfD. On the one hand, parliamentary parties in the Bundestag are very well staffed and equipped with ample financial resources. The AfD will not just win a voice in the nation’s foremost political forum but also the means to use this voice to the fullest extent. On the other hand, the parliamentary party and its mostly inexperienced members will become a new power centre that will overshadow the national executive and the regional party chapters. The AfD’s leadership is rife with conflict, which will come to the fore during the campaign or shortly after the election. The party’s recent decision to deny its co-leader and most prominent face, Frauke Petry, the role of a Spitzenkandidat (front-runner candidate) is a case in point.
Obviously, a strong parliamentary presence for the AfD will also change the Bundestag, and German politics more broadly. Chancellor Merkel’s presidential style and centrist policies, her commitment to the euro and the EU, and her refusal to close Germany’s borders to refugees are the AfD’s raison d’etre. In the new Bundestag, Merkel and the AfD will be pitted against each other, because Merkel will again be chancellor: Although the Christian Democrats will suffer considerable losses, they will still emerge as the strongest party. Somewhat ironically, a far-right success may very well mean that Merkel cannot form a centre-right government. Instead, she may have to rely on another Grand Coalition, or on some multi-party format that the AfD and their voters will hate even more.
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Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics. Featured image credit: Mike Mantin (CC-BY-SA-2.0)
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Kai Arzheimer – University of Mainz
Kai Arzheimer is Professor of Political Science at the University of Mainz.
“Since its inception in 2013, the AfD has been successful in every one of the ten regional (Land) elections in which it took part.”
Small correction: It did fail to enter the Hessian parliament in 2013.
It is very likely that Merkel will be removed in popular unrest, what will emerge from it will resemble a quasi failed state. The growing pockets of Middle Eastern communniities within Germany will be vulnerable to extremists, and the anarchists cells laying dormant in Germany will behave much like Ukraine’s Right sector (just different motivations behiand the same behaviors). Pitty the anarchists once they realize that the Middle Eastern refugee extemists see them as nothing more than behaeding practice opportunities. Lets hope I am wrong.
I don’t know which part of the dark web you get you wild world views from, Brian Ghillioti, but you sure found the premise of some interesting z-movie script.
too bad it’s nowhere near reality enough to qualify as an insightful comment
Really? And when people said the same potential things could have happened in Ukraine back in 2010, there would have been a very similar reaction like yours. Merkel will use the exact same rigging methods, lies, and fraud the we saw in the US election. Unlike American Bernie Sanders supporters, I think Germans love their freedom and democratic system too much to walk away like whimpering kids when Merkel uses rigging methods like Hillary did in the US primaries. And I do not think the German people will be too pre-occupied with McWorld (unlike the United States) to loudly call “bull****!” when they start hearing more Russian hacking lies like they tried to pull off on the electoral college. The Germans love their freedom too much, they will not accept lifetime chancellor. As for the Muslims immigrants, most are just hard working people who are tired of the US sponsored wars in the ME region, but there are plenty of them who would have no limits trying to make their local communities into mini Allepos, holding hostage the Middle Easterners who wanted to just get way from that in the first place. Look at the all the no go zones throughout Europe where police are afraid to enter in predominantly Middle Eastern neighborhoods, and the spate of car arsons throughout entire communities in cities throughout Europe. Given the right circumstances, these Allepo agitators would have no problems making things worse, for Middle Easterners and native Europeans. There is nothing related to the dark web about this; but I am sure some of these Allepo agitators have been using the dark web, unfortunately, as well as other European reactionary extremists.
there is no point trying to counter-argue so many mistaken assumptions and prejudices that forms your xenophobic and conspiratorial world view.
please just follow that simple advice : ease off on the meds and the tabloids/internet, spend more time outside taking long walk to the park
believe me, you’ll feel better and have a more balanced/realistic approach to events around you
You do a lot of name calling and mockery, yet present little facts to support your counter opinions. There is plenty of evidence showing the trends I am referring to. Review this article, for example:
If I walk in the park, best to mind situational awareness and safety.
Hopefully the secularizing way of life in Europe will help mellow potential extremists, and diminish the influence of any “Aleppo agitator”.
BTW, I NEVER suggested that ALL people from North Africa, the Middle East, or Southeast Asia as “extremist” in any of in my previous postings in this thread.
I may end up being corrected on some of the things I discussed earlier in this conversation. It looks like what I said about the German election process applies more to France. However, this does not rule out the potential of future German public unrest related to immigration developing in the same way it did in France. Nor does it rule out future surge in so called “non establishment” political parties in Germany and the subsequent back lash against them, to include efforts toward sabotaging the election process. Look what happened with the recent police shooting in Paris just before elections. If this happens in Germany, it may reach a point where the German electorate has had enough.
Lies and allegations of Russians hacking global elections were killed after Trump ordered the cruise missile strike on Syria. Merkel can’t use that story anymore.