GERMANY_debate2In eleven state parliaments, the ‘Alternative for Germany’ (AfD) is now. In German state elections in 2016, the party joined three state legislatures, including Saxony-Anhalt as the second strongest force behind Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. Even in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, despite being a relative newcomer to the state, the AfD managed to reach second place with more than 20% of the vote. In some counties, such as in Bitterfeld in Saxony-Anhalt, the AfD achieved highs of more than 30%. And in the coming Bundestag elections on 24 September, some surveys are suggesting double-digit results.

But what makes the party so attractive? How is it able to motivate so many people who previously felt disenfranchised to get out and vote? Voter turnout in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was about 10% higher compared to the last election. The AfD alone managed to mobilise 56,000 people. People who don’t normally vote. No other party in Germany is able to do that.

We got a comment from Michael, who thinks that only the AfD will really bring about genuine change in Germany. To get a response, we spoke to Wolfgang Bosbach, who is a member of the Bundestag for the CDU. What would he say? Why does he think people vote for the AfD?

bosbach3There’s no doubt that if the AfD had the responsibility of governing in Germany then things would change, but there’s no guarantee that it would be for the better. The AfD has once again impressively demonstrated at its Cologne party congress that it is not ‘only’ a bourgeois-conservative protest movement, but that it also tolerates – if not outright encourages – stubborn, radical-right ideas within its ranks. And this political path has always plagued Germany with great misery.

People turn away from established parties because they are disappointed; from frustration they found new parties. Therefore, the established parties would be well-advised to solve the problems which encourage people to choose other parties.

To get another response, we also spoke to Werner Patzelt, Professor of Political Science at the Dresden University of Technology. He has been criticised in recent years, with some accusing him of being “friendly” with the anti-immigration street protest movement Pegida. What would he say to Michael?

patzelt2The reasons for choosing the AfD are now quite well known. The main reason is the great dissatisfaction with the established parties felt by a significant minority of the German population. The biggest criticisms are the lack of willingness to listen to the wishes of the population, especially when it comes to European policy, immigration policy, and cultural change – which is now called “Islamisation”.

Finally, we had a comment from Pierre. He feels that the established parties, including the centre-right CDU and the centre-left SPD, always break their campaign promises. This comment was echoed by Wolfgang, who says he refuses to vote for any of the old parties anymore. But what about the AfD? Would they, assuming they got into power, really be able to implement all of their promises? Or are they comfortable in opposition, making populist promises but never having to turn them into actual policy?

To get a response, we spoke to Florian Hartleb, a political scientist who has written extensively on left-wing and right-wing populism. What would he say?

hartlebWhat the experiences in Europe show, for example the FPÖ in Austria […] or in other countries, is that these populist parties- and this can be seen at the moment also with Marine Le Pen – actually have more of a problem with corruption. They say, on the one hand, that they will clean up politics, and on the other hand they themselves are also very corrupt, and the AfD itself has already had a lot of scandals; cronyism, radicalisation, mud-slinging, and so on and so on. They say they will be a pious alternative to the old parties. On the other hand, they don’t keep their promises […].

Why do people choose to vote for the AfD? Is the refugee crisis to blame? Or does Germany’s “grand coalition” drive the electorate to the fringes of the political spectrum? Is there a deep mistrust of politics? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Franz Ferdinand Photography

82 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • avatar
      Uli Czeranka

      Thats what the other 92% are doing when they vote against this party

    • avatar
      Gonçalo Aidos

      People are stupid, they’ll vote for the parties that will destroy the European people through mass immigration from the Third World. Eventually European people will dissolve through miscegenation, low birthrates, and mass migration.
      The only hope is a global economic collapse, which may indeed happen. If it doesn’t, on the long-term there will be no Europeans, and the biological roots that sustain Western Civilization will be gone, substituting it for something like Latin America or North Africa.

    • avatar
      Marko Martinović

      Then lets say that sane people vote for their protection

    • avatar

      I agree. I am a simple citizen but I feel that globalization is destroying the nations of Europe and my country in particular. The attacks on what I feel for the Media and opinion leaders, do not change what I think.All my friends and family think like me. It’s time to begin the liberation of Europe from this cultural oppression and occupation.

    • avatar
      Bert van Santen

      100 % agree. The mainstream populist politicians promise to keep the watertap fully open, promise lot`s of new excellent wipers and excellent tissues to clean.

      When will for example the subway be save for women to pass true without being attacked, simply because they are female?
      Or the X-mas market save to visit?

  1. avatar
    Zille Vuk

    Separatists. The EU doesnt work for working people. Coruption from former east countries are poizoning the west and destroying wel build struktures made for working people. Nothing good came from europe. Bigger taxes, malafiedes companies, criminals can trawel without problem and soo on. For my part EU should fall back on separate countries !!

    • avatar
      Bobi Dochev

      The eastern countries?! Really?! Did we bring the liberalism to Europe or Europe bring that shit to us?!

    • avatar
      David Tough

      Just like pre war Europe then a fragmented divided Europe will lead again to disaster!

    • avatar
      Zille Vuk

      David i dont know this but if more of welfare criminal imigrants from arab countries enter europe than the cruisade will start and history will repeat itself. Only thing i can say is that people dont wont them here in EU. And this is opinion of most of europeans.

  2. avatar
    Andrew Potts

    It would appear more people feel the liberal establishment, ie civil service, law, education, media and the EU represent a global social and economic clique. They are searching for somebody to represent them and their communities? It’s quite simple if you listen rather then lecture.

  3. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    Because an albeit a minority of Germans systemically, endemically, epidemically and pandemically dislike auslanders perhaps?

    • avatar
      Bert van Santen

      Perhaps an albeit a minority of migrants systemically, endemically, epidemically and pandemically is commiting one violent terrorist attack after the other?

    • avatar
      Παναγιώτης Καράμπελας

      It is exactly this kind of thinking and denunciation that feeds AfD and everybody who see the EU for what it is: An indirect way for the few of the elite to rule the majority of the common citizens all over the Continent…

    • avatar
      David Alan Roden

      You just don’t get it – name calling and condescending attitudes won’t help get what you want- it does the exact opposite – the proper response is to engage in debate and explain.

      Keep doing what you’re doing and it’ll all fall apart.

      Nobody can hear you screech in the voting booth

  4. avatar
    Bobi Dochev

    In a Dec, 1975 Ronald Raegan said:
    “How do we call a liberal? You know, someone very profoundly once said many years ago that if fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism”.
    “And what is fascism?” Reagan said. “Fascism is private ownership, private enterprise, but total government control and regulation. Well, isn’t this the liberal philosophy?”

    Well… people vote for nationalist parties all over the EU, because they don’t like the Brussels fascism! How simple is that?!

    • avatar
      Zille Vuk

      Brissel is corrupt till the bones !!! They dont care for people !!

  5. avatar
    Tin Ćurković

    The most popular party among voters with a non-German background (“Migrationshintergrund”) is the AfD with 34%.
    And the lowest % went to Greens, Die Grünen. On the end of the day, who else is there to vote for? All other parties are just different shades of the left, meaning of the same. And yes, that includes CDU, who Angela Merkel moved to the left over the years.

    Any explanation needs to take that into account.–119730853.html

    • avatar
      Uli Czeranka

      This is not for whole germany but just for one city. But interesting. Not sure what kind of people with migration background live in freiburg though…

    • avatar
      Denis Ionascu

      Uli Czeranka Most probably eastern europeans:poles,romanians,russians…

    • avatar
      Zille Vuk

      I have no problem with Russian,Polish,Czech,Romanian,Bulgarian ets. They like pig meat and drink beer so they are my friends !!

    • avatar
      Steven Stein

      That’s bullcrap, people with a “Migrationshintergrund” are also voting for the AfD.
      Taking that into Account with just counting one city shows that you have no idea.

  6. avatar
    Łukasz MachaUnder Bednarz

    Because the European Union has not solved the problem.
    This add-on strengthens this problem because blindness implies ideology lefist.
    The story of the bloody moon is repeated.
    that why… behavioristic masters xd
    You have to many of genetically groups and individuals who want blood (Hooligans)

  7. avatar
    Bryan Reynolds

    Because they’re fucking tax dodging 1%ers or are on their arses due to austerity from the banksters.

    • avatar
      Bert van Santen

      These idiots, as You`re referring to, have perhaps lost loved ones in terrorist extremists attacks all over Germany.
      The only bunch of bonkers idiots are the politicians who believe that integration of 1000s of uncontroled migrants is gonna happen without any problems.

  8. avatar
    Louis Jeffs

    Just the German version of Poland’s Law and Justice from what I’ve seen. In other words, folks who are oblivious to the irony that their policy platform involves rejecting Islamism whilst implementing a social policy that Islamists would agree with.

    • avatar
      Barbara Szela Lesniak

      Nonsense. Sorry sir …. You know nothing about what’s going on in Poland.

  9. avatar
    Tamara Jegorov

    Alternative for Germany is the only party who is fighting against the islamisation of Europe (Germany) and is trying to stop STASI-Merkel’s genocide of Europe.

    • avatar
      Andrew Kieran

      you don’t know what genocide means.

    • avatar
      Ben Oroshi

      kultural genocide brother!

    • avatar
      Jamie O'Rourke

      Andrew Kieran yes they do know what genocide is….because islamification will end in the genocide of the european volk

    • avatar
      Nuno Oliveira

      But who is fighting the germanification of southern beaches? Much more serious issue

    • avatar
      Asen Georgiev

      I like German tourists. Probably the friendliest folks you’d meet on the beach. Dunno what your problem with them is, Nuno.

  10. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    I support Angela Merkel

  11. avatar

    Nationalist , right wing , Eurosceptic ….whats not to like ?

    When will Merkel and her chums get it into their thick heads people don’t want mass immigration and people don’t want a Federal Europe .

  12. avatar
    Ramon Garcia

    to give an alternative to the German people? And to the Syrian people? and to the Yemini people? and to the Greek people? To find an alternative?

  13. avatar
    Luísa Cunha Ventura Gagean

    They are fed up of the “mainstreamdictatorship”. The single tought is dangerous when you talk about Islam. There are one Islam and not several. They want to islamize Europe. So we are afraid.
    Corruption is also a problem. Europe must find a way to be less burocratic, more federativ .

  14. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    Germany’s past and present economic successes may explain its current political behavior- as these statistics of its “strength & weaknesses” show:

    Probably, the ruling government is more concerned in maintaining their economic successes “at any” cost, while others are more concerned not to give up their German identity in the process. How high is everyone’s “fear” to decide & channel its economic strength and rather spend on “Germanysation” by countering its aging population & aging infrastructure- instead spending on “ready made” but “very foreign” influx from the Middle & Far East- to the detriment of all in the EU & Europe?

    While Germany “excels” economically within the EU & on the global front- it overlooked & fails in producing more “Germans”! Hence its present choice of welcoming all- “wir schaffen das schon”! Really- for how long?

    • avatar
      Nuno Oliveira

      Ironically you’re imitating what you criticize

    • avatar
      Krzysztof Wiewiorowski

      Stereotyping. Like saying all WASPs are intelligent.

  15. avatar
    Danny Boy

    Because the ordinary German in the street is sick and tired of this crazy uncontrolled migration,but the nation as a whole is so guilt ridden and conscious of its history that none of the main political parties dare to speak out against it.
    Truth be known a lot more Germans support the AFDs policies than the polls suggest,its just that the population will never admit to it.

  16. avatar
    Krzysztof Wiewiorowski

    Hi. The same in Poland. The Law and Justice (see the irony? )Party,who happens to hołd the power here-yet another variant of the populists-is the most corrupt party ever since 1989. They missled the electorate by promissing (amongst many other things) to clean up the political scene. Not that it was THAT dirty,mind you. If you repeat a lie often enough though,it becomes the truth. Is it not what dr. Goebbels said? Their sins are huge and numerous and keep growing by the minute untill such moment they inevitably loose power eventually. But at what enormous cost to the society! Let our lot be a warning to others ,do not choose to go down that path!

  17. avatar
    Graça Soares

    What a stupid question…. Why dont you rather ask “why do people vote for (insert establishment political parties)….??

  18. avatar
    Mercedes Meyer

    there’s about 5% – 15% idiots in Germany who vote any national fashistoid racist shit , that you serve them.. they’re the ones who vote the AfD .. but they’re on the down spiral at the moment.. these nazi groups in Germany come, have local success, destroy themselves with incompetence and stupidity and vanish again

  19. avatar
    Sanne Tanning

    Many people prefer easy answers, the AfD delivers them. In this process they make wise use of social media and play with racism and ultra right wing nationalism. That is it. AfD certainly doesn’t deliver alternative answers to today challenges.

  20. avatar
    Josepha Guillaume

    Because we are fed up with the status quo, politicians who are corporate and bank puppets destroying our society and our environment!!!

  21. avatar
    Josepha Guillaume

    Because we are fed up with the status quo, politicians who are corporate and bank puppets destroying our society and our environment!!!

  22. avatar
    Josepha Guillaume

    Because we are fed up with the status quo, politicians who are corporate and bank puppets destroying our society and our environment!!!

  23. avatar
    Josepha Guillaume

    Because we are fed up with the status quo, politicians who are corporate and bank puppets destroying our society and our environment!!!

  24. avatar
    Josepha Guillaume

    Because we are fed up with the status quo, politicians who are corporate and bank puppets destroying our society and our environment!!!

  25. avatar
    Daniel Parvanov

    People get enough cultural marxism … a little bit more and they will be ready to vote DJT as God Emperor

  26. avatar

    One reason might be that clash loving mass media presents them as system alternatives which they are clearly not. Voters start realizing that as support fades in polls.

  27. avatar
    catherine benning

    Why do people vote for the ‘Alternative for Germany’ (AfD) party?

    Because they want an alternative to what they presently have. Pretty obvious really.

    They don’t like what has and is becoming their homeland. They are not happy with their daily life the way it is. And why is that? Well, work it out for yourself you do live in the same country, do you not?.

  28. avatar

    The question that bugs me is why the rest of sovereign Europe should care about german elections?

    • avatar
      Bert van Santen

      Which country has any sovereignity left in the EU?

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