Germany’s AfD: How To Understand The Rise Of The Right-Wing Populists
Daniel Hough, 26 Sep 17

AfD supporters celebrate as exit polls are announced. EPA/Thorsten Wagner

The Alternative for Germany (AfD), the right wing upstart of German politics, will enter the national parliament for the first time after taking 12.6% of the vote in the 2017 election.

The party is barely five years old and was but a newborn when the last election took place (in 2013). It polled 4.7% then, narrowly missing the 5% vote share needed to gain representation in the federal parliament.

In the four years since, the AfD has transformed itself. It was once led predominantly by professors who were deeply worried about the future of the euro but is now a broad church of right-wing naysayers. Indeed, the party’s name stems from Angela Merkel’s now famous observation that there was no alternative to the policies her government put in place in a bid to save the euro at the height of the financial crisis.

The AfD argued that there were alternatives and the party was born to try and illustrate just what those alternatives where.

The party’s transformation away from its euro-focused roots has been a radical one. As the eurocrisis dropped in salience, the AfD’s popularity fell and it was in all probability destined to drift into insignificance. Then came the refugee influx of 2015 and 2016. The party’s response to Merkel’s open door policy has rendered it almost unrecognisable from the one that Bernd Lucke and his fellow euroscpetics founded in April 2013.

Fishing on the right

For one thing, a number of AfD politicians use firebrand rhetoric the type of which modern Germany has not heard before. Frauke Petry, arguably the party’s most well-known figure, claimed in January 2016 that there were situations where German border officials could legitimately shoot refugees trying to get over the border.

There are also those such as Bjoern Hoecke who look to relativise Germany’s past, just as there are many who are strongly anti-Muslim. Opposition to Merkel’s policies towards refugees nonetheless remains the galvanising force that keeps the party together. In that sense, the AfD has echoes of the National Front in France and other hard right actors across Europe.

Sign in to view full article

The Economics Behind Uber’s New Pricing Model
Uber is changing the way it calculates fares, moving to a system that charges what customers are “willing to pay”, ...
Jordi McKenzie
Thu, 1 Jun 17
What If Several of the World’s Biggest Food Crops Failed at the Same Time?
Less than one-quarter of Earth’s total cropland produces nearly three-quarters of the staple crops that feed the world’s population – ...
Anthony Janetos
Thu, 8 Jun 17
Why Women Make The Best Stock Traders
Female traders can be far more selective, as they spend more time evaluating before making a trade and have a ...
Peter Swan
Thu, 9 Mar 17
How Robots Can Help Us Embrace a More Human View of Disability
When dealing with the otherness of disability, the Victorians in their shame built huge out-of-sight asylums, and their legacy of ...
Thusha Rajendran
Tue, 9 May 17
‘It’s All About Me, Me, Me!’ Why Children Are Spending Less Time Doing Household Chores
In August, Treasurer Scott Morrison warned that “Australia has a generation growing up expecting government handouts”.
Shi Li
Thu, 12 Jan 17
AcuSLIM - Acupuncture Weight Loss Programme
An Epoch Times Survey
Join us today!
Sports Elements
Read about Forced Organ Harvesting