Germany: Sunday’s election, which could break decades of tradition

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The far-right xenophobic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is very close to winning state elections for the first time.

Sunday’s elections in the former East German state of Saxony-Anhalt, in Germany, threaten to break a decades-old tradition, while the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) has only once lost state elections.

All this, less than four months before the federal parliamentary elections.

The confrontation for the Parliament of Saxony – Anhalt is the last great test of German intentions after a prolonged lockdown and in view of the first elections after the “Merkel era”, as AMPE explains.

The latest poll, on behalf of the ZDF channel, is the first in recent times to give the CDU a clear lead of 30% over 23% of AfD. The rest of the polls give the Christian Democrats a marginal lead – in the latest BILD poll, AfD leads with 25%, compared to 24% of the CDU. In the previous elections, in 2016, the CDU won 30% of the vote and formed a government with the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens. AfD had reached 24%.

Germany: What will mean a possible dominance of the far right?

The possible dominance of the far right probably does not mean its participation in the state government, as all parties reject the prospect of cooperation. But it will be a great success in terms of symbolismand certainly a very serious blow to the Christian Democrats and even at the most critical moment, while it will further weaken the party leader and candidate for Chancellor, Armin Lassett. Der Spiegel describes such a prospect as a “disaster” for the CDU President, with some analysts, such as Hayo Funke, a political science professor at the Free University of Berlin, predicting that if the CDU loses the day after tomorrow, they will start inside. party talks even about changing the candidate for Chancellor.

The CDU’s 16 years in power, the federal government’s handling of the pandemic, internal party problems and recent corruption scandals involving lawmakers in suspicious purchases of medical supplies in the midst of a pandemic have weighed heavily on the party’s electoral position. Angela Merkel. Similarly, the AfD, which since its inception has based its existence on major problems such as the euro crisis in 2013 and the refugee crisis in 2015, has found its new “golden opportunity” in the pandemic and the constraints that accompany it, identified with its deniers coronavirus. “Resistance to the unconstitutional restrictions of our freedoms”, is the central slogan of the election campaign in Saxony – Anhalt of 2.2 million inhabitants.

The apparent reinforcement of the AfD, however, will not have purely political consequences. “It will dramatically weaken Saxony-Anhalt financially and worsen its prospects. “Companies need well-trained professionals, open-mindedness and tolerance,” said Marcel Fratzer, president of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), who told Handelsblatt it is becoming more and more divided. “The higher the ratio of xenophobic voices and discrimination in society, the more highly skilled talent will not find the state attractive and will be channeled elsewhere,” said Leibniz Oliver, vice-president of the IWH Institute for Economic Research. Holtemeller.

At the same time, the Greens, despite their dramatic rise at the federal level, traditionally difficult in the former eastern states. But now, the forum that accompanies them seems likely to secure them former Christian Democratic votes. Polls suggest they will double the 5.2% they received in previous elections. “The party is benefiting from the situation at the central level and with the candidacy of Analena Berbok for Chancellor,” said the leader of the Greens in the state Sebastian Strigel a few days ago.

The first assessment of the result of the elections in Saxony – Anhalt is expected as soon as the polls close, at 18:00 (local time).

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