True Alternative?

Why Germans Support the Right

Anhänger der rechtskonservativen Partei "Alternative für Deutschland" (AfD) demonstrieren am 23.04.2016 in Stralsund (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). Foto: Stefan Sauer/dpa [ Rechtehinweis: (c) dpa ]
Prosperity chauvinists? Supporters of the right-wing AfD demonstrate in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The signs say "Pride in Germany."
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    September’s upcoming state elections are a test for Angela Merkel’s ruling conservatives, who are hreatened by the growing popularity of the Alternative for Germany party. But new research suggests left-wing parties may also suffer.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • A study by the German Institute for Economic Research shows that 20 percent of those who didn’t vote in 2013 are now AfD supporters.
    • Of those who voted for the two major German parties, the CDU and SPD, in 2013, only about 2 percent now prefer the AfD.
    • One researcher describes the AfD as the “party of prosperity chauvinism,” where supporters are proud of German stability and unwilling to share with outsiders.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Lorenz Caffier and Frank Henkel may work in different German states but they have a lot in common right now. Both are responsible for the internal security of their federal states – one in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the other in the city-state of Berlin.

Both are members of the relatively conservative Christian Democratic Union, Germany’s ruling political party. And as senior CDU members, Mr. Caffier and Mr. Henkel are both being forced to distance themselves from some of the policies of their party’s leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, all the while trying not to lose their credibility or the party’s. It’s a difficult balancing act.

Both men are plagued by a huge problem in the form of the anti-immigration, right-wing Alternative for Germany, or AfD, party. It is the new power on Germany’s right and is threatening to take valuable votes away from the CDU in state elections on September 4 and September 18, not least because of the refugee crisis.

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