Angela Merkel has won a fourth term as Chancellor of Germany. The emergence as the third largest party of the nationalist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), which has never before won any seats but won almost 13 per cent of the vote in this week’s election, is being presented as a setback for her. This is wrong. The rise of AfD is not a setback for Angela Merkel. She made it happen.
It was her decision in 2015 to invite into Germany more than a million mainly male Muslim migrants, and then refuse to acknowledge, take responsibility for or address the social problems they brought in their wake, which drove the German people into the arms of a party whose success has sent a shudder through a Europe which similarly has its head buried deep in the sand.
AfD, which had previously never won a Bundestag seat, gained 94 seats at the election with 12.6% of the vote. The BBC, in a notably balanced piece on its website, says:
“AfD started out as an anti-euro party and still has a relatively moderate wing, so almost a million of its new voters have come from the centre-right CDU, and half a million from the centre-left SPD. So they are best described as right-wing populist and nationalist with increasingly strong links to far-right attitudes. They are still some way from the extremism of Germany’s NPD, seen by many as a neo-Nazi group.”
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