The Far Right Isn’t the Only Rising Force in Germany

When Germany’s southern state of Bavaria holds its regional election on Sunday, its ruling Christian Social Union (CSU) is expected to lose its absolute majority—by a lot. The party’s projected losses appear to be part of a much broader trend of political fragmentation across Europe, in which bigger parties are shrinking while smaller parties—especially those on the far right—are growing.

Such has been the case in recent elections in: Fighting the far-fight and neo-Nazi resurgence in Germany]

Though the outcome of Sunday’s vote will have as much of an impact on Berlin as it will on Munich, it would be wrong to view the CSU’s performance as a referendum on Merkel’s government, despite that party’s close cooperation with hers. “The two people who would have to take the rap for a bad performance by the CSU would be Seehofer himself and the minister president of Bavaria, Markus Söder,” Quentin Peel, an associate fellow with the Europe Program at Chatham House and the former chief correspondent for the Financial Times in Berlin, told me. He noted that by criticizing Merkel on her immigration policies, the CSU leaders effectively made the vote a referendum on themselves. “If it’s bad for the CSU and they’re very critical of Merkel, it may not be so bad for Angela Merkel.”

The result may even be indicative of what’s to come in Germany. With the Social Democrats still mired in crisis, the Greens could see this as an opening to make gains themselves on the national stage. A recent poll shows the gap between the two parties has narrowed markedly: The Social Democrats, which trails the AfD by one point, would win just 17 percent if a general election were held today. The Greens would be just two points behind with 15 percent. Merkel might even like this result, Peel said. “She’s always been quite tempted to form a government if she could with the Greens,” he said. “She’s always felt quite comfortable with them.”

If the vote on Sunday goes as polls predict, the likely scenario is that the CSU will have to enter into coalition with the Greens—a move that would mirror the government in the neighboring state of Baden-Württemberg, where both parties have ruled in coalition since 2016 (there, the Greens are the largest party). It’s a responsibility Bogner said the Greens are ready to take on. “The only conversation …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Global

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