Contributed by Joe Montero
Germany’s 24 September election result was predictable and showed that here too, a growing proportion of the population is turning away from the traditional political parties.
The difference in Germany is that it has been a slower bleed than in many other countries undergoing a similar experience. The once dominant Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) is now only a shadow of its former self and the downward journey first forced it to join up with the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) to become the CDU-CSU. Finally, under Angela Merkel found itself coming together with its traditional rival, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in a succession of grand coalition governments.
For the SPD, the fall from grace has been even worse, as it morphed into what look to the German public, like a pale imitation of the CDU. It was well prepared to enter a grand national coalition. The experience damaged the SPD considerably.
The in your face bipartisanship of the two traditional political parties, together imposing the same economic and political agenda that has eroded security and created a new wave of poverty, especially in the former East Germany, set the scene for the next stage of political anger form the base.
Many Germans could no longer turn from one to to the other, of they now considered to be two sides of the same political coin and they are starting to look for political alternatives. The whole story of this election is that there has been a shift of support towards the smaller parties and it is the two party system that has suffered a blow. they have benefited form the 8.5 percent fall of the vote suffered by the CDU/CSU and 5.5 percent by the SPD.
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) rode the wave of unpopularity for the traditional parties, the rising disillusionment with the European union and the worsening economic and soccial conditions of many Germans, taking 12.6 percent of the vote, compared with 33 percent for the CDU/CSU and 21 percent for the SPD.
It should be remembered that the Greens and Left parties also increased their vote to a combined 18 percent.
Only 77 percent of Germans bothered to vote, showing a significant portion of the population is alienated from the political system. It is more telling than it looks, because the greater part of the abstention form the vote was concentrated in working class and poor areas. It is where the major parties suffered their biggest losses and where the AfD was able to increase its overall percentage.
and this is where both major parties suffered their biggest losses. The AfD took advantage of this and increase its overall percentage.
Germany has a long history of using migrant workers as a source of cheap labour to build up its manufacturing base and this has cost German jobs. The recent influx of a million refugees has heightened fears that this is going to happen again, at a time when jobs have became scarcer than at any time since the war. Alternative for Germany has been able to exploit this.
The party a coalition of conflicting political positions and there is considerable doubt that it will be able to hold together for very long. By pushing the anti-immigrant card, the now dominant faction among the leadership has widened the internal political rifts.
The AfD was founded in 2013 by a group of economists, business leaders and disgruntled members of the CDU, concerned about the party’s decline and the financial drain caused by Germany’s support of the Eurozone. At its core, it is a party of a section of the traditional political elite. It has also become a target for infiltration by pro-Nazi and xenophobic groups.Many of them used to be hidden within the folds of the CDU. Changing circumstances have provided them with an opportunity to partially capture a newly emerging party.
Although it is not public news at this point of time, it is highly likely that the party’s fortunes are heavily dependent on the support of sections of big business, concerned with the threat of greater political instability in the system that has prevailed since the end of the war. Time will tell whether this is an accurate assessment.
One thing that needs to be brought out into the open is that a major backer of the AfD is the American based Gatestone Institute, run by billionaire Sears Roebuck heiress Nina Rosenwald, who has close ties with the Israeli establishment and this has an interest in extending influence in Germany, and this in turn, is connected to a campaign against Islam, as a strategy to regain lost diplomatic prestige and global opinion. Another strand is the association with American strategic interests, particularly under the Trump administration, gain more influence in Europe. Germany under Merkel has been a barrier to this.
The Gatestone Institute assists by publishing a stream of inflammatory attacks on migrants Muslims, as a threat to Christian civilization, often using fabricated stories and its association with AfG is more than casual. It operates as the party’s media arm and it is highly likely that there are other forms of assistance, which is unlikely to be offered without something in return.
The effect of this election will be a period of more political instability. The Problems faced by Germans will still be there. While the rise of the AfD might be unsettling, it might well face more problems than it bargained for. The ground remains fertile for others to seize an opportunity.