Not since the 1950s has a right-wing nationalist party sat in the German Bundestag. The utter devastation wreaked by World War II, as well as stringent laws against Holocaust denial and expressions of support for the defeated Nazi regime, placed a taboo on extreme right-wing politics in Germany. Six decades of political immunity to the far right came to an end yesterday, when the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) won over 13 percent in Germany’s federal election, making it the third largest party in the Bundestag. German politics just went from being reassuringly boring to ominously contentious.
Consider: For the past four years, Germany was governed by the country’s two largest parties, Angela Merkel’s center right Christian Democrats and the center left Social Democrats, in a “grand coalition.” On Sunday, both parties suffered their worst performances since the creation of the Federal Republic in 1949 (as did the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union). The decline of the two “people’s parties” (Volksparteien) has coincided with a movement towards the extremes, with voters flocking to the AfD and post-communist Left Party.
What was once a stable and predictable political dispensation has now been overturned. The Social Democrats, rightly indignant that four years as Merkel’s second fiddle weakened their appeal, have ruled out another grand coalition and will enter opposition. This leaves Merkel with only one possible option to form a government: A coalition composed of her CDU/CSU alliance, the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens, known as “Jamaica” due to the parties’ colors (black, yellow, and, obviously, green). This will not be an easy partnership to assemble, what with the FDP and Greens sharing serious doctrinal and personal differences (both appeal to the same white collar, upper middle class, bourgeois constituency and share the sort of resentment that is natural between smaller parties). On top of this, the CSU will want to move further right in an effort to win back voters it lost to the AfD, a development that cannot portend well for a coalition with the Greens.
Source: for MORE