Entry of far right in Bundestag: Assertion of retrograde German nationalism, anti-immigration and anti-Islam

By Sadhan Mukjerjee*
The election results in Germany show a dangerous portent. Though Angela Markel has become the 4th time Chancellor of Germany but her party CDU-CSU has got the lowest vote since 1949. It has lost substantial voter support. The CDU-CSU has won only a 33% vote, aer CDU-CSUH loss of 8.5%.
Similarly, Social Democrats have lost heavily losing 5.2% votes and winning only 20.5%. It leader Martin Schultz has declared that the party will not join the Markel’s government, thus ending the Grand Coalition that ruled Germany. Many in that party felt that the party has not got its due in the coalition and hence it is better to operate as an independent entity.
What is however a dangerous trend is Alternative for Germany (AfD)’s surge, winning 12.6% votes, a gain of 7.9%. This means it will not only enter the Bundestag (Parliament) for the first time but also become the third largest party in parliament.
The German election has been described as an election of joy and despair, joy because Angela Markel wins the forth term as Chancellor and despair because the extreme rightwing has made an entry into parliament. A commentator has pithily put that Markel like Obama is more popular abroad than at home.
But it is not just merely despair; the victory of AfD has shown a dangerous growth trend in Germany as this party openly opposes entry of refugees and foreigners into Germany; its main theme is Hate for fellow human beings, assertion of retrograde German nationalism, anti-immigration and anti-Islam. More and more Germans seem to opt for such negative German policies.
It stands to reason that Angela Markel will now form a coalition with the Left, Greens and Free Democratic Party (FDP). THE SPD has refused to team up with Markel. The Left has marginally increased its vote by 0.6% with 9.2% vote, FDP with 12.6% votes (a gain of 5.9%) and the Greens with 8.9%, an increase of 0.5% votes. So Germany will have a coalition of CDU-CSU with Jamaica parties (Red, Green and Yellow, that is the colours of Jamaican flag), meaning the Left, the Green and the FDP in Germany.
This will however not be an easy coalition. For example, FDP is a pro-Business party while the Greens have their own agenda of changing Germany. Angela Markel will have an uphill task not only to cobble up the coalition but also to carry on the government’s current policies. Will Markel be comfortable with Left? That is a question that is yet to be seen.
There is another lurking danger. The AfD has won in the areas that was formerly German Democratic Republic (GDR) and was ruled by National Front which was run by the communist party (the Socialist Unity Party of Germany). After the collapse of GDR, the parties which controlled West Germany never really helped former GDR areas to grow as West German areas did. It was again a feeling of Divided Germany.
Probably Angela Markel has understood this. After the election results were out, she said the success of the far right was a test for Germans. It was important to listen to the concerns of their voters and win them back, she said. But this is easier said than done as the time in hand is not a long period, barely four years to the next election.
The refugee problem and security of Germany is the immediate big headache for the government. Germany has had several terrorist attacks and now it is said that 700 potential terrorists have been identified in Germany.
Other issues include Euro zone and austerity, international issues in which Germany is actively involved, relations with Britain, Russia etc.
German economy is still fine but there is lack of investment in infrastructure. It has renounced nuclear energy but the alternative sources have not grown to the extent required. Also there is competition from other countries. Germany’s nomenclature as power house of Europe still holds good but its preeminent position is slowly eroding.
Germany’s relations with developing countries, most likely, will not change. Here again time will tell.
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*Veteran journalist

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