Dal momento che i 1001 delegati al congresso della Cdu saranno scelti da Frau Merkel in persona, Frau Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer dovrebbe essere eletta a presidente del partito all’unanimità. Dovrebbe, mica che sia detto.
Se però l’essersi conquistata il voto dei 1001 delegati assicura la nomina dal punto di vista legale, la presidenza di Frau Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer si presenta ai limiti della fattibilità. Dovrà dirigere un partito suddiviso in fazioni opposte, dilacerato dallo spettro di scomparire. Già: scomparire.
Alle elezioni del 24 settembre 2017 la Union, cdu e csu, conquistò il 32.9% dell’elettorato, con un calo di quasi dieci punti percentuali.
Ma se i sondaggi odierni indicherebbero una percentuale di propensione al voto per la Union del 25.5%, lo scorporo è ben più severo: cdu 19% e csu 6%.
I Grüne sono invece quotati 20%: sono diventati il partito di maggioranza relativa, cui toccherebbe in caso di elezioni il cancellierato. AfD si piazzerebbe con il 16.5%.
Questi numeri sono spietati.
Se al congresso della Cdu è in palio la presidenza del partito, sicuramente non lo è la nomina a cancelliere, che spetterebbe al partito di maggioranza relativa.
Proseguendo codesti trend, Frau Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer si avvierebbe a proseguire l’opera iniziata da Frau Merkel di liquefazione della Cdu. Una distruzione sistematica come non la si vedeva dai giorni del bombardamento di Dresda.
Non che la cosa possa spiacere a molte persone: però sarebbe necessario prendere atto delle conseguenti turbolenze politiche, sia domestiche sia internazionali.
E la Cdu non avrebbe gran che da gridare: aver demonizzato AfD consolida solamente la posizione dei Grüne.
Ogni evento umano lascia alcuni contenti e soddisfatti, altri contrariati e dolenti.
Di certo, sembrerebbe essere mutata non solo la situazione politica tedesca, bensì anche quella dell’Unione Europea.
Candidates hoping to succeed Angela Merkel as leader of her CDU party have sparked outrage in Germany with controversial proposals on migration as they scramble to distance themselves from her liberal refugee policy.
Merkel’s fateful decision in 2015 to keep Germany’s borders open to asylum seekers had deeply split the country.
Mindful of the souring mood over the arrival of more than a million would-be refugees since 2015, the three hopefuls to succeed Merkel – party general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Health Minister Jens Spahn and corporate lawyer Friedrich Merz – have gone out of their way to take aim at migration.
Right-wing magazine Cicero noted that the “CDU is developing these days at breathtaking speed from a Merkel party to a people’s party – because touchy subjects like flight, asylum or migration movements are increasingly being openly debated”.
“It is like in the Union, someone has thrown the window wide open to finally ventilate the stale air of the meek Merkel years.”
Spahn, who has styled himself as a conservative anti-Merkel, has defiantly challenged her bid to sign a UN Migration Pact at a December summit in Morocco.
Arguing that such a text should not be signed “secretly,” he is seeking a vote at the party congress on the document, which he, like the US and Austria, oppose.
Merz meanwhile appeared to call into question the right of an individual to seek asylum, even though it is written into Germany’s constitution in a bid to prevent a repeat of Nazi-era persecution.
After earning sharp criticism from across the political spectrum, except from the far-right AfD which agreed with his position, Merz backtracked.
For the left-leaning daily TAZ, Merz’s tactic is clear: he “pretends to be guided by reason but in reality, his approach is populist.”
But even Kramp-Karrenbauer, also known in Germany by her initials AKK and who is deemed the most moderate of the trio, said that when in doubt, Syrians who are convicted of crimes in Germany should be sent back to their home country even if war is still raging there.
The core principle guiding the UN refugee convention is that a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, a leading Social Democrat, condemned the tone of the debate among the hopefuls, saying that the “internal Union popularity contest is being played out on the backs of the weakest.”
Fellow SPD member, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, warned that “running after right-wing populists would only lead to further division.”
Going by recent surveys, voters also appeared little impressed.
A latest poll commissioned by public broadcaster ZDF shows the CDU and sister party CSU with just 27 percent of support, down from the 32.9 percent the alliance scored in the 2017 election.
For news weekly Der Spiegel, “a winner of the CDU internal race for Angela Merkel’s successor is already clear: the Greens.
“While the candidates are shifting further right … the ecologist party is speeding up their upward flight. According to latest surveys, it’s as close as just three percentage points from the Union.”
Alle elezioni del 24 settembre 2017 la Union, cdu e csu, conquistò il 32.9% dell’elettorato, con un calo di quasi dieci punti percentuali.
Ma se i sondaggi odierni indicherebbero una percentuale di propensione al voto per la Union del 25.5%, lo scorporo è ben più severo: cdu 19% e csu 6%. I Grüne sono invece quotati 20%: sono diventati il partito di maggioranza relativa, cui toccherebbe in caso di elezioni il cancellierato. AfD si piazzerebbe con il16.5%.
Quello che una volta era il trono è via via diventato uno sgabello ed ora si appresta a diventare una sedia elettrica.
Questa ferma volontà di procedere al proprio suicidio non stupisce molto: è una delle conseguenze dirette dell’ideologia liberal.
L’Unione Europea resta attonita, abbacinata dalla grandiosità dell’evento.
Senza un cancelliere tedesco saldamente in carica e supportato pienamente dal proprio paese l’asse francogermanico sembra una iena sdentata e l’Unione Europea il fantasma di quello che fu.
Tutto grasso che sta colando nelle urne dei lebbrosi: Frau Merkel è stata, e si spera continui ad esserlo, la migliore supporter dei sovranisti.
Lunga vita a Frau Merkel! Lunga vita a Frau Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer!!
Se nella vita si potesse parlare apertamente, cosa peraltro impossibile, ci si dovrebbe domandare chi abbia pagato Frau Merkel, i liberal ed i socialisti ideologizzati per aver portato alla rovina la Germania. Ma questa è una domanda al momento indiscreta per cui ci si deve astenere dal dare risposta. Tanto, l’ufficiale pagatore negherebbe con l’attendibilità di Giuda Iscariota. Poi, cosa non da poco, ha un carattere come la carta vetro e se la legherebbe anche al dito.
Osserviamo i fatti.
È da due anni che le proiezioni elettorale tedesche segnalano in modo sempre più vistoso la devoluzione delle ideologie liberal e socialiste con il crollo delle propensioni di voto dei partiti che le sostengono. È stato un crollo mai prima visto in questo settore di raccolta dati, abituato per decenni a variazioni minimali.
Questo grafico delle propensioni a voto degli Elettori tedeschi, verificate dalle elezioni che si sono tenute nel frattempo, sono più che eloquenti. Union, Cdu e Csu, ed Spd sono crollate. Mentre AfD ha evidenziato un continuo trend in crescita, i Grüne hanno iniziato a salire in modo significativo solo con gli inizi del 2018.
Stando alle prospezioni Forsa del 2 novembre, mentre la Union è scesa a livello federale al 27%, la Spd continua la sua marcia trionfale verso la scomparsa piazzandosi al 13% e conquistandosi così la posizione di quarto partito tedesco. La tanto temuta e demonizzata AfD si colloca al 13% mentre i Grune si collocano al 24%: sono per questi dati il secondo partito, con solo tre punti percentuali di stacco dalla Union.
Si noti che i dati a seguito differiscono dai precedenti essendo stati raccolti il 29 ottobre. Ma se si considerano scorporate Cdu e Csu, la prima avrebbe il 19% e la seconda il 6%. I Grüne sarebbero quindi il primo partito in Germania.
Fatto questo di non poco conto, perché la designazione del cancelliere spetta al partito di maggioranza relativa in seno al Bundestag.
I risultati precedenti corroborano i risultati del sondaggio Insa del 1° novembre: i Grüne con il loro 20% sarebbero il primo partito contro una Cdu precipitata al 19%.
Ma il problema risulterebbe essere ancor più complesso.
Se è vero che i Grüne sono diventati il partito egemone nella Germania dell’Ovest, AfD si avvia ad esserlo nella Germania dell’Est. In quei Länder i Grume non hanno sfondato e ben difficilmente potranno farlo, essendo la Germania dell’Est fortemente dipendente dal carbone come sorgente di posti di lavoro. Una egemonia dei Grüne a livello federale risulterebbe esserlo inaccettabile nei Länder orientali. Si preannuncerebbero quindi grandi momenti di tensione politica.
Presi a bastonate, purchè queste siano date con grande forza, anche i tedeschi capiscono qualcosa. Improvvisamente, dai sondaggi elettorali è scomparso il nome di Frau Merkel, che è stato sostituito con quello di Herr Merz, quasi che sia scontato il cambio della guardia.
Questi dati hanno come unica conseguenza la necessità urgente di licenziare la Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel e di sostituirla con una persona del calibro di Herr Merz. Una persona deideologizzata, che gestisca una Realpolitik.
Inutile dire quanto sarà difficile che il nuovo Cancelliere possa recuperare i voti transitati dalla Unione ai Grüne ed ad AfD. Di certo, una riedizione della Grosse Koalition sarebbe semplicemente impossibile.
Altrettanto certo sarebbe il fatto che a livello federale la Germania passerà un lungo periodo di sbandamento.
Si noti infine che la Germania andrà l’anno prossimo alle urne per le elezioni europee sulla base di queste prospezioni elettorali, e l’europarlamento subirà grandi variazioni rispetto all’attuale. Ad una Germania disgregata corrisponderà un’Unione Europea altrettanto disgregata.
Mentre la Csu e la spd hanno perso grosso modo una decina di punti percentuali, Grüne ed AfD sono risultati essere i veri vincitori della competizione elettorale.
«Angela Merkel’s conservative sister party in Bavaria has found a governing partner after punishing elections results cost the party its parliamentary majority»
«Three weeks after suffering historic losses in Bavaria’s regional election, the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) announced Friday it had agreed to a coalition government with the right-leaning Free Voters»
«A partnership between the two parties had been widely expected and means that despite massive voter dissatisfaction with the CSU»
«Söder is expected to be re-elected as Bavarian premier»
«The Green party, which emerged from the vote as the second-strongest party, also could have been a potential coalition partner for the CSU, but their political positions contrast more than those of the CSU and Free Voters»
* * * * * * * *
Questa coalizione tra Csu e Freie Wähler era attesa, perché i due partiti hanno consistenti affinità programmatiche. Ma nel contempo si aprono nuovi ed inediti scenari.
– La spd al 9.7% è un partito in piena crisi identitaria e programmatica: non essendosi risolta ad abbandonare la propria ideologia si è condannata con le sue stesse mani alla estinzione.
– AfD non aveva grandi ambizioni elettorali in Baviera: già avervi conquistato 22 seggi parlamentari è stato un successo netto ed ampio, da capitalizzarsi più a Berlino che non in Baviera.
– I Grüne imporrebbero un ampio discorso. La conquista di 38 seggi parlamentari è stato un grande risultato, che pone però altrettanti grandi interrogativi.
I Grüne hanno raccolto grandi quantità di voti emigrati dalla Csu e dalla spd. Questo è un segno tangibile di un Elettorato scontento del voto pregresso e quindi diventato mobile. Ma la mobilità elettorale può certamente premiare un partito, ma potrebbe anche penalizzarlo in un futuro: in altri termini, sembrerebbe essere una base elettorale instabile o, quanto meno, più instabile di altre.
I Grüne sono ben presenti della Germania dell’ovest, ma non sono popolari in quella dell’est, e questo ha un grande peso politico a livello federale.
La scarsa duttilità politica dei Grüne è emersa chiaramente durante i colloqui per la formazione di un governo dopo le elezioni del 24 settembre dello scorso anno. Troppo rigidi nelle proprie idee, sono stati parte attiva nel fallimento.
Se sicuramente abbiano giocato istanze politiche di carattere generale e lo stare all’opposizione abbia facilitato grandemente i grandi incrementi elettorali sia in Baviera sia in Hessen, altrettanto sicuramente è costata la testa della vecchia dirigenza, rimpiazzata da Frau Annalena Baerbock e da Herr Robert Habeck. Non si sa fino a che punto la nuova dirigenza abbia saputo comprendere come si siano evoluti i tempi, ma vi sarebbero ampi motivi per ritenere che siano meno rigidi della pregressa.
Ma il discorso non sarebbe completo senza aggiungere un fatto di non indifferente portata.
Se è vero che i Grune spesso condividano e supportino azioni che erano tipiche della sinistra socialdemocratica e dei liberal, tuttavia le attuano senza sentire il dovere di compiere un mandato ideologico. In altri termini, i temi cari all’ideologia liberal e socialista sono per i Grune trattabili. E questo dovrebbe poter facilitare degli eventuali accordi.
Angela Merkel’s conservative sister party in Bavaria has found a governing partner after punishing elections results cost the party its parliamentary majority. An official agreement has yet to be signed.
Three weeks after suffering historic losses in Bavaria’s regional election, the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) announced Friday it had agreed to a coalition government with the right-leaning Free Voters.
A partnership between the two parties had been widely expected and means that despite massive voter dissatisfaction with the CSU, it will continue as to be the leading force in Bavarian politics.
“We have finished,” CSU premier Markus Söder said on Friday from the Bavarian parliament building.
“Breakthrough achieved,” added Hubert Aiwagner, the head of the Free Voters, a right-wing umbrella party with a strong focus on preserving local traditions and decentralized government. He also shared the message on Twitter:
Details of the coalition agreement, such as regional ministerial posts, were not available. The coalition arrangement still needs to be approved by a panel from each party on Sunday, with the final agreement to be signed on Monday.
Söder is expected to be re-elected as Bavarian premier. There have been tensions between him and CSU party leader Horst Seehofer, who is also Germany’s interior minister in Berlin and whom Söder succeeded as the top politician in the state.
CSU forced to find a partner
After losing its outright parliamentary majority in regional elections on October, the CSU, the conservative sister party of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), had been forced to seek out support from other parties.
«Wir muessen den Kurs wechseln!» – “Dobbiamo cambiare rotta.”
«SPD’s vote actually halved, from 20.6% in 2013, to just 9.7%! This marks the party’s worst result in Bavaria since the 1930s, and is the first state parliament now where they have fallen below the symbolic 10% threshold in recent history – a painful exercise for a former Volkspartei (major party).»
«We should wait and see how state elections in Hesse later this month play out – current polls predict painful losses for Merkel’s Christian Democrats»
I media liberal socialisti non amano parlarne, ma i veri perdenti sono le socialdemocrazie europee, in rotta ovunque si tengano delle elezioni. In Francia il partito socialista è quotato attorno al 6%, in Italia il partito democratico è crollato al 17%, in Germania l’spd è quotata al 15%, in Baviera le elezioni hanno sancito un 9.7%. Nell’America latina quasi tutti i governi sono di ‘populisti‘ o ‘sovranisti‘, più per franamento delle sinistre che per loro capacità persuasiva.
È in atto la devoluzione delle ideologie liberal e socialista.
Si faccia una grande attenzione!
– Non sono Afd o Grüne che avanzano: sono Cdu, Csu ed spd che perdono.
– Cdu, Csu ed spd stanno sbriciolandosi perché si stanno sbriciolando le ideologie che sostengono. Il calo elettorale è un effetto, non una causa.
«As time passes, some empires simply become increasingly inconsequential»
«Disaster comes when elites push society toward instability and eventual collapse by hoarding huge quantities of wealth and resources»
«Another sign that we’re entering into a danger zone is the increasing occurrence of ‘nonlinearities’, or sudden, unexpected changes in the world’s order»
«Eventually, Rome could no longer afford to prop up its heightened complexities»
«As stated in the laws of thermodynamics, it takes energy to maintain any system in a complex, ordered state – and human society is no exception ….»
«It was fiscal weakness, not war, that did the Empire in»
«Democratic, liberal society will fail, while stronger governments like China will be the winners»
* * * * * * *
Chiariti questi concetti di base, le conseguenze sono sequenziali.
Né la Cdu, né la Csu né tanto meno la spd possono invertire la rotta. Dovrebbero semplicemente rinnegare le proprie ideologie, ma così facendo non sarebbero più sé stesse.
Sono destinate alla estinzione, anche perché il loro Elettorato è un Elettorato di vecchietti e vecchiette. Quando si è votati da meno del dieci percento dei giovani il crollo è la norma. I giovani che mobilitano nelle piazze sono manifestanti a tempo pieno, che ne ricevono regolare emolumento, ma che per quattro scudi dimostrerebbero per qualsiasi altra cosa.
Nulla vieta che possano sorgere nuovi movimenti politici che magari possano utilizzare nomi vecchi, ma non è l’etichetta che fa il buon vino.
«In a constitutional state, the true ruler is the voter».
La gente avrebbe anche sopportato il fallimento economico, ma non ha tollerato l’ingerenza della politica nella sfera etica e morale. Magari senza razionalizzare appieno il fatto, ma rigettandolo in ogni caso.
Come quarto partito la spd risulterà essere tagliata fuori dalle nomine nel sottogoverno.
Perdere i posti nei consigli di amministrazione e le commesse statali per le ditte a lei vicine sarà un colpo quasi mortale.
In Bavaria on Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) lost its absolute majority, suffered its worst election result since 1950. But the vote delivered an ever bigger blow to Merkel’s national coalition partner the Social Democrats. Euronews asks political analyst Leopold Traugott about what the results mean for Germany and Europe.
Euronews: What do you think is the most important aspect of the results of this election? In other words, which party’s score will have the greatest impact for Germany?
Leopold Traugott: The stark decline of the Social Democrats (SPD) is for me the key result. You may argue that by now we should be used to seeing them losing, but yesterday’s defeat has a special quality. The party’s vote actually halved, from 20.6% in 2013, to just 9.7%! This marks the party’s worst result in Bavaria since the 1930s, and is the first state parliament now where they have fallen below the symbolic 10% threshold in recent history – a painful exercise for a former Volkspartei (major party). Their decline is a symbol of Germany’s growing political fragmentation.
Their poor result is also important because the SPD is the party most likely to burst apart Germany’s governing ‘Grand Coalition’ (if it really gets that far). Not that such a move would necessarily help them solve their structural and strategic problems, but internal pressure to achieve some sort of drastic change is likely to keep growing.
SPD’s vote actually halved, from 20.6% in 2013, to just 9.7%! This marks the party’s worst result in Bavaria since the 1930s, and is the first state parliament now where they have fallen below the symbolic 10% threshold in recent history – a painful exercise for a former Volkspartei (major party).
Leopold Traugott: The direct impact of this vote on the future of the European Union will be rather limited. Nevertheless, it serves as an important bellwether of problems to come. The Bavarian election is another step on Germany’s path to political fragmentation (Dutchification, as some call it), with the traditional heavyweights CSU and SPD both losing badly, while their contenders, the far-right AfD and left-liberal Greens, are rapidly gaining ground. As Germany’s governing parties are fighting to stop their own decline, they will have less energy and political capital to spare for European challenges, for example to sell necessary but unpopular Eurozone reforms to their electorate.
In addition, in the short term, should German Interior Minister and CSU leader Horst Seehofer get the boot as punishment for his party’s poor election result, this may lead to minor readjustments in Germany’s position in the European migration debate. After all, he was a key driver behind Berlin pushing for a more restrictive approach.
Euronews: Given the results, will the Bavarian election have an influence on Angela Merkel’s political future? What should she do now, after the elections in Bavaria and before the regional elections in other federal states in the coming months?
Leopold Traugott: The results will inevitably lead to a new round of discussions about whether Germany’s coalition government can go on like this, including the question of whether Angela Merkel still is the best person to lead that government. It is in and of itself however, unlikely to shift the goalposts of this debate. We should wait and see how state elections in Hesse later this month play out – current polls predict painful losses for Merkel’s Christian Democrats. The crucial discussions about policy and leadership changes both within her own party and within her coalition partner, the SPD, will likely take place after that.
Euronews: Three years ago, Angela Merkel temporarily opened the German border to migrants. Many of them came to Bavaria. Did this phenomenon of massive migration have an impact on the outcome of the vote, particularly with regard to Alternative für Deutschland?
Leopold Traugott: Much of the rise of the AfD is of course due to the European migration crisis of 2015, and the way the German government dealt with it. It is interesting however that the AfD this weekend received a lower share of the Bavarian vote (10.3%) than it did during last year’s general election (12.4%). Nevertheless, the party’s results in yesterday’s vote are still comparatively high for Western German standards (the AfD tends to score much better in the East). Part of the reason may lie with the fact that Bavaria acted as the point of entry for most asylum seekers who came to Germany over the Balkan route, and even for many of those coming via Italy. As such, Bavarian citizens had an unusually high ‘exposure’ to the crisis.
Euronews: What do you think are the other factors that determined the vote outcome?
Leopold Traugott: One of the key phenomena of this vote is how the Green Party managed to double its vote by poaching voters from the two major parties, the CSU and the SPD. It is little surprise that they took votes from the SPD, since both parties traditionally share many policy positions. But it is interesting how they managed to attract traditionally more conservative CSU voters, and presented themselves as a centrist, bourgeois alternative to a CSU drifting too far to the right. (I have previously written on this topic here).
Ultimately, we also should not underestimate the extent to which voting decisions were driven by local issues, with citizens worrying particularly about education (which is dealt with at state, not federal level in Germany), the environment, and affordable housing. What is happening in Berlin certainly has had its impact, but is not necessarily a priority for every voter.
Senior German conservatives facing painful losses in two state elections this month have ruled out forming coalitions with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
“I am very clear about this: not with the AfD,” parliament speaker and former finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told mass-selling Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
His comments support Chancellor Angela Merkel’s position to ostracize the anti-Islam party, although other members of her Christian Social Union (CDU) party have expressed willingness to work with the AfD.
The AfD entered the German parliament for the first time in an election last year, buoyed by conservative voters angry with Merkel’s decision in 2015 to welcome almost one million, mainly Muslim, asylum seekers.
The AfD also has lawmakers in all but two of the regional parliaments in Germany’s 16 states. It is expected to enter the assembly in the southern state of Bavaria in an election next Sunday and storm into the parliament in Hesse two weeks later.
CDU officials in the eastern states of Brandenburg and Saxony, which hold elections next year, have expressed readiness to form coalitions with the AfD.
Merkel said last month “I categorically rule this out,” sticking to her position not to work with the party that says Islam is not compatible with the German constitution.
Merkel’s conservatives, which include her CDU and their Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) sister party, have seen support slide since last year’s election.
The conservatives formed a coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) as their junior partners in March, after Merkel’s first attempt at forming a government following the September election ended in failure.
Polls indicate the CSU will lose its absolute majority in Bavaria on Oct. 14 as voters in the state are expected to turn to the ecologist Greens and the AfD.
CSU leader and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has also ruled out a coalition with the AfD in Bavaria.
“There will be no coalition between the Union and the AfD. No, No, No!” he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, referring to the CDU/CSU alliance, which is know as the Union.
Under a deal between the two parties the CSU represents the CDU in Bavaria and the CDU runs in the rest of Germany.
Il mese di ottobre che inizia domani sarà cruciale per i destini dell’Occidente.
Negli Stati Uniti stiamo assistendo alle ultime battute sulla nomina di Sua Giustizia Kavanaugh a membro a vita della Suprema Corte: nel caso che, dopo aver approvato la nomina in sede di Commissione Giustizia, il Senato la confermasse con la votazione in aula, per circa trenta anni questa Corta sarebbe a maggioranza repubblicana. Questo evento segnerebbe l’inizio di una fine certa dell’ideologia libera a socialista negli Stati Uniti.
Se poi, come potrebbe essere, il Presidente Trump alle elezioni di midterm, che si terranno ai primi di novembre, conservasse la maggioranza in Senato, avrebbe il via libera alla nomina di 19 giudici nelle corti di appello federali. Tranne due circuiti giudiziari, tutto il sistema dei giudici americani avrebbe matrice culturale repubblicana.
A questo punto, se anche i liberal democratici assassinassero con efferatezza Mr Trump, per più di una generazione il sistema dei giudici statunitensi governerebbe esattamente come se Mr Trump fosse ancora presente ed attivo.
Nessuno intende sovra enfatizzare quanto potrebbe accadere, ma nei fatti è Harmageddon: la battaglia finale.
Liberal e socialisti hanno sempre disprezzato quel ‘popolo bue‘ dal quale si aspettavano di essere sempre votati, essendo essi gli illuminati, le guide naturali dei popoli.
Non hanno voluto prestargli l’orecchio: nessun problema, i Cittadini Elettori adesso li stanno cacciando via a pedate. La società civile è costituita dai Cittadini Elettori, non dagli iscritti alle ngo.
Ma ad ottobre si terranno anche le elezioni regionali e provinciali in Italia, ed anche in questa nazione sembrerebbe ragionevole supporre che i partiti ad ideologia liberal e socialista ne escano ulteriormente ridimensionati: ridotti a percentuali talmente basse da risultare politicamente ininfluenti per un lungo lasso di tempo, se non per sempre.
Si voterà anche in Brasile ed in Lussemburgo. In un Brasile insanguinato dall’attentato fatto dai liberal socialisti per eliminare il loro avversario politico Mr Bolsonaro, in Lussemburgo per decidere quale atteggiamento terrà quel piccolo stato in seno al Consiglio Europeo.
Ma gli occhi degli europei sono focalizzati ora sulla Germania, ove il 14 ottobre si voterà in Baviera ed il 28 in Hessen.
Secondo le previsioni elettorali disponibili Cdu, Csu ed Spd dovrebbero perdere in modo clamoroso.
Negli ultimi due giorni ben sei differenti società di prospezioni elettorali sono concordi: Emnid, Forsa, Forsch’gr Wahlen, Gms, Infratest dimap, ed Insa stimano la Union, Cdu ed Csu, tra il 27% ed il 28% e la Spd al 16%.
Un ulteriore crollo che si attuerebbe dopo la già severa débâcle del 24 settembre dello scorso anno.
Molto verosimilmente la Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel potrebbe dare le dimissioni, aprendo una crisi politica mai vista in Germania. Ma se anche rimanesse al Governo, la sua forza politica in patria e nell’Unione Europea sarebbe semplicemente nulla.
Queste sono le ultime previsioni per la Baviera:
E queste sono le ultime previsioni per l’Hessen:
* * * * * * *
Se si è sicuramente certi che le previsioni debbano essere prese sempre con grande circospezione e buon senso, un calo di dieci punti percentuali per i partiti della Union e di 7 – 8 punti percentuali per la Spd dovrebbe essere l’epitaffio da iscriversi sulla tomba politica di questi partiti.
Né ci si dimentichi che a maggio del prossimo anno si terranno le elezioni europee, ove con questi numeri la rappresentanza dei partiti tradizionali tedeschi sarà ridotta a numeri trascurabili.
Tra poco più di tre settimane si andrà a votare in Hessen ed in Baviera: sarà quello il momento della verità.
Ma se tanto da tanto, la ribellione contro Frau Merkel cui abbiamo assistito nei giorni scorsi al Bundestag potrebbe evolversi rapidamente verso la crisi di governo. I partiti tradizionali sembrerebbero essere destinati alla estinzione.
Ma a maggio del prossimo anno si andrà anche a votare per il rinnovo del parlamento europeo: con cifre del genere né Cdu, né Csu, né Spd possono sperare di contare ancora qualcosa. Sempre che, ovviamente, all’epoca esistano ancora.
«In the United States the term “deep state” is used in Republican and conservative political messaging to describe a conspiracy theory of influential decision-making bodies believed to be within government who are relatively permanent and whose policies and long-term plans are unaffected by changing administrations. The term is often used in a critical sense vis-à-vis the general electorate to refer to the lack of influence popular democracy has on these institutions and the decisions they make as a shadow government» [Fonte]
Il quadro riassuntivo pubblicato dal Sonntagsfrage Bundestagswahl sembrerebbe essere eloquente. Quattro scietà di sondaggi, Emnid, Forsa, Infratest dimap ed Insa valutano la Unione, Cdu/Csu al 28% e la Spd attorno al 17%. Nel converso, AfD si collocherebbe tra il 16% ed il 18%.
Ma questi valori assumono vividi connotati quando siano considerati nel loro sviluppo storico: in partiti tradizionale stanno crollando mentre AfD continua imperterrita a crescere.
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Per anni i partiti tradizionali hanno volutamente ignorato AfD, al punto di non rispondere alle loro interpellanze parlamentari, fatto questo visto e constatato dalla stragrande maggioranza dei tedeschi che seguono la televisione. Fatto di inaudita gravità: AfD siede al Bundestag perché eletta dai Cittadini.
I liberal socialisti hanno caricato AfD di ogni sorta di insultante nequizia, i media si sono scatenati come cani idrofobi, ma nulla ha fermato il loro crollo e la crescita di AfD.
Adesso, di fronte allo spettro delle elezioni in Hessen ed in Baviera, nonché poi di quelle per il rinnovo del parlamento europeo, i liberal socialisti iniziano a pensare a cosa sia andato male.
AfD è l’unico partito di opposizione in Germania, e su di esso confluiscono anche i voti di frange estremiste, che peraltro non trovano albergo nelle strutture del partito.
Lo Spiegel inizia a chiedersi per quale motivazioni tanta gente comune abbia abbandonato i partiti tradizionali per confluire in AfD.
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«is the AfD merely indicative of the very vitality of the German political system?»
«The March Through the Institutions»
«Ten active and former police officers represent the AfD in various parliaments. One of those is former Chief Superintendent Martin Hess. He used to be responsible for training new officers in the town of Böblingen, just southwest of Stuttgart, and today represents the AfD on the Internal Affairs Committee in parliament. Another is Wilko Möller, a member of the federal police who once worked for the Federal Criminal Police Office and for the Chancellery»
«But perhaps the most prominent bridge-builder between the far-right and the police is Rainer Wendt, head of the 94,000-member German Police Union (DPolG), one of two prominent unions for German law-enforcement officers»
«The AfD may also be over-represented in the German military»
«But almost 90 percent of the troops are men, and a higher than average share of them come from eastern German states or are members of the German minority in Russia who have moved to Germany»
«AfD deputy head Georg Pazderski is a retired colonel in the General Staff while the AfD floor leaders in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Rhineland-Palatinate are all former soldiers»
«It’s not surprising, then, that the AfD seeks to present itself as the party of the military, though its expertise on issues pertaining to the military is limited»
«Hohmann had only three questions»
«The first was why the European Union flag stood in the middle of the hall instead of the German flag»
«Then Hohmann criticized the practice of addressing soldiers as “Soldatinnen und Soldaten,” a German-language convention to include both women and men»
«Finally, the AfD member wanted to know if paratroopers were still based in Altenstadt since he had once served there. The answer: Yes, they’re still there.»
«Slowly but surely, the AfD is also advancing into areas that possess even more powerful weapons than the military: the media and the world of culture»
«As the third-largest group in German parliament, the AfD has access to a number of administrative bodies, from the Holocaust memorial in Berlin to the Stasi Records Agency, which administers the vast number of files kept by the East German secret police on its own citizens»
«For example, for the board of the Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation, which fights for gay rights, the AfD chose Nicole Höchst, who believes that homosexuals have an abnormal inclination to pedophilia.»
«Most important to the AfD, however, would appear to be access to the publicly funded media platforms. It is here, after all, that the party believes its greatest opponents are employed. AfD representatives already sit on the boards of four public broadcasters. They are also represented on six state media boards that monitor programming on private broadcasters»
Volenti o nolenti, AfD è presente ed anche molto vitale.
Larga parte dei corpi dello stato, polizia ed esercito, guardano questo partito politico con malcelata simpatia: anche loro sono convinti che la Germania debba seguire il proprio retaggio religioso, culturale, sociale, politico, abbandonando con disgusto le ideologie liberal e socialiste, che sono contro natura.
Gli aderenti ad AfD ed il loro Elettorato è tutto tranne quello che i liberal cercano di dipingere: sono semplicemente persone che non condividono quelle ideologie e che vogliono mandare in pensione gli attuali governanti. Se ci si pensasse bene, questo altro non sarebbe che l’usuale rinnovamento democratico.
«many “people in the media” support Merkel’s policies. “I would like to expel them from positions of responsibility.”»
«But established political parties must also be willing to accommodate the entire spectrum of opinion in a democracy. Merkel’s refugee policies offended many voters. And because the SPD simply went along with her, the AfD enjoyed increasing levels of support. Indeed, these two establishment parties have made things easy for the AfD.»
Founded only five years ago, the Alternative for Germany has grown from a marginal party to a game-changer in federal and state politics — and become ever more radical. Is it a testament to the strength of German democracy, or a threat to it?
For three hours every month, they set up shop right next to the flower stand. There are only four people, a table and an umbrella from which a blue T-shirt hangs. It’s emblazoned with the party’s logo and the words, “Nobody’s perfect, but Brandenburgers come pretty damn close.” Here, at the weekly farmers market in Woltersdorf, a 40-minute drive by car from Berlin, Kathi Muxel, the district chair of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party for the Oder-Spree region, says: “We’re the only ones who come here, even if there’s no upcoming election. People appreciate that.”
Several times a week, AfD adherents plant their umbrella somewhere in the area. Some take the day off from work, while others are self-employed and can set their own schedule. They wait for the people to show up — and they always do — and then they talk. They bring up their annoyance with expensive street lights in the town of Neuzelle, or the planned move of the recycling center in the Berlin suburb Erkner, or the “federal government’s dishonesty” when it spoke of a mob attack in Chemnitz. After all, they say, there were reports that no mob attacks actually took place at all.
Being ever-present, talking — and not to mention listening — was also part of the AfD strategy during federal elections last September. And it worked. The party scored 22.1 percent of the vote here in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, putting it only slightly behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU). It’s possible that Alexander Gauland, the candidate for the Oder-Spree electoral district, was responsible for some of that success. But what has been decisive is the proximity to ordinary voters that the AfD has cultivated. And it’s not only here that the far-right populists are firmly rooted, but in many other places around the country as well.
Political upheavals rarely happen overnight. They begin slowly, and then one morning you wake up and find yourself in another country. The small group that gathered on the evening of Feb. 6, 2013, in a Protestant community center in the town of Oberursel near Frankfurt, had no idea that by founding a new political party called the Alternative for Germany they would trigger something bigger. Who would have thought that a retired senior government official, a conservative newspaper columnist and a numbers-loving economics professor would changed the face of German politics?
And who would have thought that the AfD of Alexander Gauland, Konrad Adam and Bernd Lucke would become a big-tent party of its own — at least in parts of eastern Germany — within just a few years? Or that it would win almost a hundred seats in the federal parliament with its pledge to “hunt down” Chancellor Angela Merkel? Or that its party leaders would one day march through the streets of Chemnitz alongside far-right extremists, like they did on Sept. 1, 2018?
The AfD stands for an unprecedented political success, but also for a history of radicalization. Like any new party, breaking taboos is the AfD’s lifeblood, but its shift to the right has continued unabated. And anyone who has stood in the party’s way has gotten steamrolled. First it hit Lucke, the well-behaved co-founder and former party head; he was overthrown by the much more politically shrewd Frauke Petry.
When Petry herself became too powerful, Alexander Gauland pushed her aside. His tweed jackets may lend him an air of amiability and scholarship, but in reality he has few inhibitions about sealing pacts with far-right extremists. In that regard, it’s no coincidence that Gauland is the only person from that founding meeting in Oberursel who still holds sway over the party today.
No other party leader stands as much for the AfD’s split personality as Gauland. A former senior official in the state government in Hesse, in western Germany, Gauland lives in a dignified Potsdam neighborhood filled with mansions. He can speak intelligently about Prussian history — and then, without missing a beat, claim that the Nazi era was but a “speck of bird shit” on German history.
“We’re a thorn in the side of a political system that has become outdated,” Gauland told the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung earlier this month. He wants to drive out anyone who played a role in what he calls the “Merkel System,” including people in the media, and he has called for a “peaceful revolution.”
But a revolution against what?
In January, Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt published a book titled, “How Democracies Die.” In it, they write that in the decades since the end of the Cold War, liberal systems haven’t been overthrown through force and military coups alone. More than anything else, democracy has been undermined non-violently through the election of anti-democratic politicians.
The book was written in light of Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S., but Germany, too, seems to be on the verge of a turning point. By the end of this year, the AfD is likely to hold seats in every state legislature in Germany. And it has already put forward one of its own — a conspiracy theorist who predicts the imminent collapse of the euro — to chair the budget committee in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, which oversees annual government spending of 350 billion euros ($411 billion).
A Turning Point
The AfD was the strongest party in the eastern state of Saxony in the last Bundestag elections, and across the east, it has now become such a force that the CDU has been compelled to express what would have been unfathomable not too long ago: the possibility of governing together with the far-left Left Party.
The unrest in Chemnitz in August marked a turning point for the AfD. There, the party joined a phalanx of agitators and neo-Nazis, with the AfD’s Thuringia state chapter leader Björn Höcke marching side-by-side with an activist from Pegida — the anti-Islam and anti-immigrant group — who has multiple criminal convictions on his record.
For years, politics in Germany had been shaped by the old polarity between left and right. But those days are over. The question of identity now seems to be more important, which seemingly scrambles the party system. Sahra Wagenknecht of the Left Party is creating a new movement called “Aufstehen,” German for “Stand Up,” that she hopes will be a magnet for voters who would like to see a bigger welfare state and fewer immigrants. The move places additional pressure on the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), which has fluctuated between a culture of welcoming refugees and warnings of a loss of control since the refugee crisis. The business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), meanwhile, has morphed into a law and order party. And the only thing still holding the CDU and Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, together is the fear of losing power. The only parties that seem to be profiting from the new political complexities are the Greens and the AfD.
So, how to deal with a party that fulminates against the mainstream with such abandon while at the spreading its own tentacles further into the center of society, into government offices, the armed forces, the media and the cultural world?
Should the party be fought as a threat to democracy? Or is the AfD merely indicative of the very vitality of the German political system?
The March Through the Institutions
One of the paradoxes of the AfD is that even though it rails against the establishment like no other party, its members are firmly anchored in that system. Many federal police officers, who felt the most tangible effects of the chaos during the refugee crisis in 2015, are likely to be receptive to the notion that Germany lost control of its borders at the time. Dieter Romann, the president of the Federal Police force, is one of the chancellor’s fiercest critics — and he makes no secret of his opinion.
Ten active and former police officers represent the AfD in various parliaments. One of those is former Chief Superintendent Martin Hess. He used to be responsible for training new officers in the town of Böblingen, just southwest of Stuttgart, and today represents the AfD on the Internal Affairs Committee in parliament. Another is Wilko Möller, a member of the federal police who once worked for the Federal Criminal Police Office and for the Chancellery. He is now in the leadership of the AfD’s state chapter in Brandenburg.
But perhaps the most prominent bridge-builder between the far-right and the police is Rainer Wendt, head of the 94,000-member German Police Union (DPolG), one of two prominent unions for German law-enforcement officers. Wendt isn’t just fond of giving interviews to the right-wing weekly newspaper Junge Freiheit, but he also speaks regularly to the magazine Compact, which is even further out on the extremist fringe.
Another example will be seen at the “Border Protection Conference” to be held by Compact in Munich at the end of September. That event will see Martin Sellner, a leading figure of the far-right extremist Identitarian Movement, take the stage — along with Police Chief Richard Graupner, who is a candidate for the AfD in Bavarian state elections to be held on October 14.
Union leader Wendt has demonstrated no qualms about adopting the rhetoric and ideology of the right wing, saying things like, for example, the macho behavior of young Muslims “is almost one of the genetic cornerstones of this culture.” In 2016, he paid a visit to the AfD group in Saxony state parliament, with AfD lawmakers afterwards crowing: “The DPolG and the AfD are fighting for the same goals on many, many issues.”
The AfD may also be over-represented in the German military. There are no reliable statistics, since the Bundeswehr, as Germany’s armed forces are known, are not permitted to ask troops about their political leanings. But almost 90 percent of the troops are men, and a higher than average share of them come from eastern German states or are members of the German minority in Russia who have moved to Germany. The AfD does particularly well in all three of those groups.
There is another indication for the far-right party’s influence in the Bundeswehr: More than 13 percent of the 219 male AfD lawmakers in state and federal parliaments have a military background. In federal parliament alone, it is almost 20 percent. Either they used to serve as career soldiers or they are reserve officers.
AfD deputy head Georg Pazderski is a retired colonel in the General Staff while the AfD floor leaders in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Rhineland-Palatinate are all former soldiers.
At the official commemoration for German war dead held in the Reichstag on Nov. 19, the country’s official day of mourning, four representatives of the Social Democrats showed up, five from Merkel’s conservatives, one each from the Greens and the Left Party – and 38 from the AfD.
It’s not surprising, then, that the AfD seeks to present itself as the party of the military, though its expertise on issues pertaining to the military is limited. In late May, for instance, the Defense Ministry invited Bundeswehr experts from the Budget Committee to a meeting. Martin Hohmann, who was thrown out of the Christian Democrats in 2004 after delivering a virulently anti-Semitic speech, attended the meeting for the AfD.
Hohmann had only three questions. The first was why the European Union flag stood in the middle of the hall instead of the German flag. Fellow parliamentarian Tobias Lindner of the Green Party gave him a brief speech on the flag regulations applicable in public buildings in Germany. Then Hohmann criticized the practice of addressing soldiers as “Soldatinnen und Soldaten,” a German-language convention to include both women and men. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen responded: “Mr. Representative, you wouldn’t appreciate being addressed as Ms. Representative Hohmann, would you?”
Finally, the AfD member wanted to know if paratroopers were still based in Altenstadt since he had once served there. The answer: Yes, they’re still there.
After that, Hohmann had no further questions.
Slowly but surely, the AfD is also advancing into areas that possess even more powerful weapons than the military: the media and the world of culture. As the third-largest group in German parliament, the AfD has access to a number of administrative bodies, from the Holocaust memorial in Berlin to the Stasi Records Agency, which administers the vast number of files kept by the East German secret police on its own citizens. When it comes to choosing its representatives for such bodies, the AfD sometimes seems to be intentionally trying to provoke. For example, for the board of the Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation, which fights for gay rights, the AfD chose Nicole Höchst, who believes that homosexuals have an abnormal inclination to pedophilia.
Most important to the AfD, however, would appear to be access to the publicly funded media platforms. It is here, after all, that the party believes its greatest opponents are employed. AfD representatives already sit on the boards of four public broadcasters. They are also represented on six state media boards that monitor programming on private broadcasters.
But the party wants more, as party head Gauland noted last week in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Unfortunately, he told the paper, many “people in the media” support Merkel’s policies. “I would like to expel them from positions of responsibility.”
If you ask Gauland exactly how he plans to implement his plan, he becomes evasive. “I never said journalists should be completely expelled from Germany,” he protests. “And ‘expel’ doesn’t imply the use of violence.” But essentially, he wants to “finally change the imbalance in the media to our advantage” — such that newsrooms are populated by fewer AfD opponents and more Merkel critics.
The AfD’s Two Faces
The AfD had a dazzling character from the very beginning — and it never differentiated between the middle class and the radicals, which is precisely what made it so successful. During the recent protests in Chemnitz, the actual AfD spectrum was in full view for the first time. Members of parliament with the party and top officials led a group of marchers that included not only local Chemnitz residents, but the xenophobic splinter group Pro Chemnitz, as well as hooligans, neo-Nazis and members of the identitarian movement. Two days later, a concert aimed at countering those protests attracted 65,000 people.
“We don’t want extremists and violent criminals within our ranks,” Thuringia AfD leader Höcke had previously posted on Facebook. But they came anyway, and they were even tolerated and assimilated. A repeat offender with multiple convictions was allowed to march right at the front. Meanwhile, Höcke gave a warm welcome to Lutz Bachmann, the frontman for the xenophobic Pegida marches in Dresden, whose logo had also adorned the AfD’s invitation to the rally.
One could say the AfD is a colorful party, but with a brown streak. It attracts classical conservatives and neoliberals as well as ethnonationalist “völkisch” ideologists, extremists and conspiracy theorists. A majority of party members may still dream of a more moderate-conservative Alternative for Germany, but at the fringe, especially in the east, the party is increasingly melding with extremist elements, and this process is in part being tolerated — and at times promoted — at the highest levels of the party.
Moderate members like Hamburg AfD chapter head Jörn Kruse, with an eye to the events in Chemnitz, may lament that it was a “serious mistake” that the party “was very openly doing things together with far-right extremist organizations.” But what good does that do as long as AfD supporters in Hamburg, Kruse’s hometown, regularly attend “Merkel Must Go” protests, where they mingle with members of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) and the identitarian movement, as they did a few weeks back?
At the protest in the port city, Dennis Augustin, the head of the AfD’s chapter in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, welcomed almost 200 demonstrators — from right-wing conservatives to far-right extremists, by saying: “Where are the Nazis supposed to be that everybody’s talking about?” Three men in the crowd raised their index fingers. “Here!” they shouted, laughing.
For the security authorities, the AfD’s recent mingling creates a delicate problem. It’s the job of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the country’s domestic intelligence agency, to investigate whether parties have exceeded the boundaries set in the German constitution and if they are seeking to overthrow the democratic system.
The question is: Does that apply to the AfD?
For the past three years, the same debate flares up after every scandalous statement made by an AfD official over whether the BfV should open an investigation into the party. For example, there was the time in 2015 when the then-head of the party’s youth wing, Markus Frohnmaier, who now has a seat in the Bundestag, announced, “When we get elected, we’re going to clean up, we’re going to clean house, we’re going to make politics about the people again, and only about the people.” Or the time when AfD leader Gauland dismissed the Holocaust as speck of “bird shit.”
In June 2017, at a meeting in Düsseldorf, representatives of five state-level offices for the protection of the constitution concluded that some AfD members “are increasingly adopting far-right extremist language.” A BfV staffer of many years reports that the far-right extremist scene “is in constant contact” with AfD people. “What we’ve been hearing is pretty hardcore.”
The security agencies are viewing the influence of the “Patriotic Platform” (PP), an alliance of far-right extremist forces inside the AfD, with concern. A paper from the North Rhine-Westphalia state Office for the Protection of the Constitution that is also being circulated among other state branches argues that the group should be placed under official observation by security agencies across Germany. The paper states that there are “strong indications of anti-democratic aspirations.” It also states that well-known defectors from other far-right extremist organizations are members of the group’s board. “The purpose of PP is to exert influence on the AfD with its far-right extremist agenda and to thus shape policies,” the paper states.
But domestic intelligence officials agree, a few isolated comments aren’t enough to place the entire AfD under official observation.
In March, the heads of Germany’s state-level spy services decided to pass their findings on the AfD on to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The information will help decide whether to conduct monitoring nationally. A decisive meeting is scheduled for November.
Some agency heads feel that decision is taking too long. Earlier this month, the eastern state of Thuringia saw its BfV branch become the first in the country to begin a review of the party. The move was spurred by recent events in Chemnitz, where domestic intelligence agencies counted up to 2,500 far-right extremists at so-called “funeral march” protests organized by the AfD in the city after the murder of a 35-year-old resident. The two suspects in the case were migrants. But for agency head Stephan Kramer, the most important reason was the presence of the AfD’s Thuringia state chapter leader, Björn Höcke, at the protests. Höcke is notorious for his ethnonationalist views and statements.
Observers say Höcke has grown increasingly inflammatory during public appearances, even calling on police officers to disobey orders — otherwise, “the people” would hold them accountable after they take power. The review taking place in Thuringia is the preliminary stage before a full-on official observation by the domestic intelligence agency.
In the states of Bremen and Lower Saxony, the party’s youth wing, the Young Alternative (JA) has recently been observed by authorities due to its links to Germany’s identitarian movement, which is already the subject of surveillance. When police recently searched the apartment of Marvin Mergard, the vice president of JA’s Bremen state chapter, they confiscated all kinds of identitarian propaganda.
Interior ministers at the state and federal level from Merkel’s conservative party met on Friday, Sept. 7, to discuss the AfD. For now, officials in Bavaria want to refrain from monitoring the AfD or its subgroups, in part due to the legal risks of doing so. “We don’t want to give members of the AfD a martyr role, but we do want to take a closer look,” says Bavarian Governor Markus Söder. Authorities concede, however, that a number of AfD activists in the “low double-digits” are already being monitored in the state.
State intelligence officials likely feel compelled to push forward unilaterally because a coordinated approach with the federal government has been sluggish. Some state-level officials have even suspected the now-defunct chief of the federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maassen, of thwarting the AfD’s possible observation. Maassen was ousted from that position earlier this week and reassigned to the Interior Ministry over controversial comments he made in the wake of the Chemnitz riots. Even when the decision was made to monitor the identitarian movement, there was a feeling that Maassen had to “be hounded,” says one state intelligence head. Maassen has been accused of secretly harboring sympathies for the AfD. Colleagues who have known him for years dispute this.
It’s possible these rumors were fueled by meetings between Maassen, in his capacity as acting head of Germany’s domestic spy service, and Frauke Petry, a former leader of the AfD. Maassen, for his part, denies he advised the AfD in any way. Party leader Gauland, meanwhile, was enthused about Maassen’s alleged support. Just a few months ago, rumors had begun to circulate that one of the AfD’s members in parliament was a Russian spy. Maassen got involved — a highly unusual move for an intelligence agency head, though not technically against the rules — and gave the man the all-clear.
High Legal Hurdles
Despite the criticism, there are some entirely reasonable explanations for the deposed BfV president’s reservations. The legal hurdles for placing a democratically elected party under official observation are extremely high, for one. There must be clear evidence that the party’s “overall structure” runs counter to the constitutional order. Far-right extremists must also be proven to have “direct influence” over the party’s trajectory.
Torsten Voss, the head of the city state of Hamburg’s intelligence service, says he has perceived a shift within the party. “If we look at this on a national level, the AfD does appear to be rising toward the threshold for observation, but that hurdle hasn’t been crossed yet.”
The Path to the Top
The AfD’s success is based a mixture of favorable circumstances, happenstance and clever strategy. Most AfD people joined their party without any political background — and they didn’t have any experience writing press releases or position papers, let alone giving interviews.
Media coverage of the party, which initially focused politically on its opposition to the EU common currency, the euro, has been critical from the beginning. This led the party to concentrate on social media and direct contact with its fan base. Facebook live streams and tweets are an integral part of every AfD campaign, and any speech given in parliament is promptly disseminated via YouTube. Any time an AfD parliamentarian grills or attacks a colleague from another party, the confrontations are often immediately posted on social media — regardless of whether they were chided or applauded for their outburst. Many AfD members act civilized during parliamentary sessions, only to turn around and behave boorishly online. “Carefully planned provocations” are part of the party’s strategy, according to a paper issued by the AfD board in 2017. “The more nervously and unfairly the old parties govern, the better.”
The party’s media department in parliament already has 15 employees, including a “research team” that is tasked with “factually preparing” sensitive political topics like the Chemnitz riots, explains Jürgen Braun, a parliamentary secretary in the Bundestag for the AfD. The party’s supporters no longer believe the “mainstream media” are up to the task, making it easy for AfD politicians to dismiss critical reports as false or “inflammatory.”
The AfD’s rise also has to be viewed within the context of the European refugee crisis that unfolded in the fall of 2015. That summer, the AfD was still only polling at 5 percent nationally. The euro crisis that had once lent buoyancy to the party had died down and it seemed the party would become but a footnote in postwar German history, as had happened with the Pirate Party several years ago.
But Merkel then decided to keep the borders open for refugees and justified her decision with a moral imperative for which she hadn’t really been known up until that point. In western Germany, people initially greeted Merkel’s refugee policies and responded with what came to be known as a “welcoming culture,” in which people turned out en masse to volunteer and participate in relief efforts. But in the eastern parts of the country, Merkel encountered fierce resistance to her policies from the very beginning. In that sense, the AfD’s rise was no accident — and while it may be painful to say, it’s also a manifestation of a vibrant democracy. The Green Party rose in the 1980s to become a mainstream party in part because the conservative Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democrats had ignored the environmental destruction that was happening for too long. And the AfD rose because Merkel swept aside the desire of many for control over Germany’s borders.
At the moment, much is being written about the electoral motives of eastern Germans, but most interpretations are based on psychological rather than political criteria. References are often made to the fact that life in the former East had been cut off from the outside world. It is also often pointed out that there is seeming resentment about developments in the east following reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall. At the same time, there’s also another possible interpretation: Could it be that many eastern Germans are actually voting rationally?
A History of Discomfort
The history of the discomfort with eastern German voting habits can be traced back to the first free vote that took place there in 1990. Polls at the time suggested a win for the Social Democrats. The West German SPD chancellors Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt had been extremely popular, and many East German citizens had benefited from their Ostpolitik policies, which promoted detente with East Germany.
But a clear majority of East Germans first voted for the Alliance for Germany in 1990, which was largely comprised of conservative Christian Democrats. Later, they would vote for Helmut Kohl. This caused people on the left of the political spectrum to feel angry and insulted. People haven’t forgotten how, when asked about the reasons for the election results, SPD politician Otto Schily held a banana up to the camera — a disparaging reference to East Germans, who didn’t often get access to exotic fruits during communist times.
At the same time, if you strip away the emotional factor, it was a totally reasonable result. The people of East Germany wanted the deutsche mark as their currency and they wanted German unity. Kohl promised both — and kept his word.
But then the problems with the reconstruction and restructuring of the east began. Unemployment skyrocketed and Kohl soon became a figure of hate.
During the 1998 federal election campaign, Gerhard Schröder recognized his opportunity to win over a large number of voters in the east. His promise to make reconstruction of the east his top priority helped deliver the decisive votes he needed. As did his commitment to creating a foreign policy that had peace as its goal — a nod to the eastern Germans’ pacifist inclinations.
Since then, the SPD has been experiencing a dramatic decline in the east. The enormous voter migrations are usually accompanied by a kind of emotional buildup. The AfD’s clear position on a single issue is what makes it so attractive: Some East Germans see the party as a guarantor against Germany becoming a multicultural society. That’s all they expect from the AfD.
So, what can be done? The degree of helplessness the established parties are having in dealing with the AfD is illustrated by the fact that the various defense strategies they have adopted so far — everything from ignoring the party to co-opting its issues to attacking it — have failed.
The business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) and the Green Party have had an easier time of it. The former succeeded in re-entering the Bundestag with its moderately-toned critique of Germany’s asylum policies. And the latter are so far removed ideologically from the AfD that they have no need to fear any political competition from the party.
Catch-All Parties at a Loss
The situation is far more difficult for the Social Democrats.
Ex-SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel famously called right-wing demonstrators a “pack,” but at the same time tried to engage in a dialogue with Pegida supporters “as private individuals.” Pegida is the acronym for Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, an Islamophobic group that holds protests regularly in Dresden. Gabriel criticized the AfD as a party of the disenfranchised and he warned against underestimating people’s longing for identity and a political home in a 2017 interview with DER SPIEGEL.
The conservative Christian Democrats have taken a similar zigzag course — one in which even the basic question of whether the AfD is an opponent or an opportunity has not yet been clarified. The CDU’s own pollster, Matthias Jung, argued the latter case three years ago in an essay. Compared to the AfD, he wrote, Merkel’s CDU can present itself more credibly as a centrist power that is keen to implement political reforms.
But the Christian Democrats’ Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) has always viewed the AfD’s rise as a threat to its single-party rule in that state. Most recently, CSU parliamentary group leader Alexander Dobrindt had the idea of moving his party so far to the right rhetorically that the AfD could no longer outdo it without losing the mainstream, middle class wing of the party. But that plan got lost in the shuffle during the turmoil caused by the asylum dispute between the CSU and the CDU that nearly destroyed their political partnership at the national level.
Now, a general sense of bewilderment is prevailing.
The decisive question in dealing with the AfD is that of whether it will adhere to the rules of democracy in the longer term. The mere fact that the party represents unpleasant competition for the CDU, CSU and SPD does not, on its own, make it inherently detrimental to democracy.
A Threat to Democracy?
Harvard professors Levitsky and Ziblatt have developed a set of indicators they use to identify parties that will run for election, but then seek to disband the democratic order. One indicator is when a party “denies the legitimacy of opponents,” which is a clear feature of the AfD. No other party in parliament demonizes its opponents as aggressively as the AfD. Members of the party seem to have few inhibitions when it comes to their outrageous statements: Angela Merkel is a “dictator” who belongs in a “straitjacket” and wants to “swap out” the ethnic German population with foreigners.
Many examples can also be found in the AfD for the second criterion set by the Harvard researchers: A “readiness to curtail civil liberties of opponents, including the media.” AfD chair Gauland’s interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is only the most recent example here. AfD people are also notorious for their admonitions that journalists must behave “fairly” or risk being “dragged out into the streets” as has happened in other “revolutions we have known.”
But open incitement of violence, the third criterion set by the Harvard researchers, is absent. Instead, AfD members tend to portray themselves as the victims of brute violence from the left. And when the AfD makes its own threats, it often uses convoluted wording, like Gauland’s recent demand that a German-Turkish SPD politician ought to be “disposed of in Anatolia.”
But the fourth indicator is the hardest to fulfill: “Rejection of (or weak commitment to) democratic rules of the game.” After all, like other parties, the AfD was elected into federal and state parliaments and is even regarded by many of its supporters as the savior of democracy. One can say the AfD disregards the soft rules of democracy, including fairness in dealing with its opponents, truthfulness in argumentation and tolerance of other views and lifestyles.
So, what’s the verdict?
Levitsky and Ziblatt conclude in their book that autocrats are most successful when proponents of democracy and the democratic institutions don’t defend themselves rigorously enough. The Federal Republic of Germany was conceived as a democracy that should be capable of defending itself — in no small part because of its own difficult history. If the AfD continues to radicalize, it must be placed under official observation and ultimately banned.
But the means available to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution do not go far enough to fully safeguard democracy. Especially given that “no profound revelations can be expected” from the BfV, as former Bundestag President Norbert Lammert put it in his interview with DER SPIEGEL. It’s crucial that people in their everyday lives oppose far-right extremists when they shout their epithets. But established political parties must also be willing to accommodate the entire spectrum of opinion in a democracy. Merkel’s refugee policies offended many voters. And because the SPD simply went along with her, the AfD enjoyed increasing levels of support. Indeed, these two establishment parties have made things easy for the AfD.
In the regional election in October, Rainer Rahn wants to get elected to the state parliament in Hesse. He’s a conservative, retired, gray-haired physician who has nothing in common with demagogues like Höcke. His political path led Rahn from a voter initiative opposing aircraft noise at Germany’s biggest airport to the FDP party in Frankfurt to the AfD, which he joined back when economics professor Bernd Lucke was still formulating thoughtful critiques of the euro. Rahn isn’t a firebrand speaker, either, but he doesn’t need to be one.
“Voter sentiment is on our side,” says Rahn. “We don’t even really need to run an election campaign.”