German Right-Populist Party Elected to 3 State Parliaments

BERLIN (JTA) — Riding a wave of anti-refugee sentiment, Germany’s leading right-populist party was elected to three state parliaments in regional elections throughout Germany.

The upstart party, Alternative for Germany, or AfD, is now in a position to put up candidates for the national parliament in 2017.

Exit polls on Sunday showed that the AfD won 21.5 percent of the vote in the former East German state of Saxony Anhalt, according to the German news agency dpa. It won 12.5 percent in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and 10 percent in Rhineland-Palatinate.

While the governing party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Christian Democratic Union, retained the top spot in Saxony Anhalt, it lost to the Green Party in Baden-Wuerttemberg.

The results appeared to unsettle local mainstream politicians. According to news reports, the Christian Democratic governor of Saxony Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, who won reelection Sunday, said: “We did not want a strong AfD, we certainly did not want to have them in [the state] parliament. But we are having a nationwide political debate. We need solutions now that we can present to people who are feeling insecure.”

The AfD’s right-populist platform has opposed Merkel’s open-arm policy toward refugees from Arab countries such as Syria and Iraq, picking up on anxieties among the general population about the nearly 1 million who have sought asylum in Germany over the past year. Questions abound, from the cost and challenges of integrating the newcomers to whether their numbers include hidden terrorists.

Some Jewish leaders have expressed concern about possible anti-Semitism among refugees from Arab countries. It is not yet known how Jews voted in Sunday’s regional elections.

This story "German Right-Populist Party Elected to 3 State Parliaments" was written by JTA.


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

German Right-Populist Party Elected to 3 State Parliaments

Thank you!

This article has been sent!