German Federal Election – end of Merkel era

Alice Weidel, co-leader of Germany’s anti-immigration party AfD

Results are being declared of today’s German election for the Bundestag (federal parliament). H&D‘s assistant editor Peter Rushton has been in Germany during the campaign and will report here and in the November issue of H&D on the results and their implications for the racial nationalist and broad pro-White movement in Europe. (click here to view detailed NPD results from this year’s election)

The German electoral system is a combination of constituencies (which elect members of the Bundestag on a similar basis to the UK Parliament, i.e. first-past-the-post) and a proportional ‘additional member’ system. This means that parties polling more than 5% nationwide are guaranteed Bundestag members.

The main outcome was a strong result for the social-democratic SPD, whose leader Olaf Scholz seems very likely to become Chancellor. Meanwhile the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) slightly slipped back from 12.6% in 2017 to 10.3% this year.

The constituency held for thirty years for the CDU by retiring Chancellor Angela Merkel was among those lost to the SPD, who won every directly elected seat in Merkel’s Mecklenburg region.

Despite its vote declining nationwide, AfD has gained numerous constituency seats across its strongholds of Saxony and Thuringia (regions of the old East Germany), though once the proportional element is allocated AfD ends up with 83 seats in the new Bundestag, down from 94 last time.

Of the sixteen constituencies in Saxony, AfD retained two, also regained the seat won four years ago by former leader Frauke Petry who had since quit the party, and gained another seven (from the collapsing CDU). This makes ten Saxon constituencies for the AfD, while just four were retained by CDU (including the two Dresden constituencies), one (Chemnitz) gained by SPD, and one (in southern Leipzig) retained by the Left Party.

AfD is now the largest party in Thuringia, with four of the eight directly elected Bundestag seats and 24% of the vote: a triumph for its regional leader Björn Höcke (above) who also leads AfD’s most explicitly nationalist faction

Of the eight constituencies in Thuringia four went to AfD, three for SPD, and just one for CDU. Moreover in a highly symbolic victory AfD took the largest vote share in Thuringia with 24%, ahead of SPD on 23.4% and CDU on 16.9%. This is all the more significant as AfD’s leader in Thuringia (Björn Höcke) heads the party’s most hardline nationalist faction.

Slightly to the north of Saxony and Thuringia, AfD gained two of the eight constituencies in the Saxony-Anhalt region. While it’s often assumed that the seats won by European racial nationalist parties are because of the proportional voting system, the fact is that today AfD has won sixteen seats in parts of the old East Germany under the “UK style” first-past-the-post system.

The CDU’s collapse means that in large parts of the old East Germany it will now be AfD that is the main voice of opposition to the likely new SPD-Green government. The great pity for AfD is that had they been able to continue concentrating on their popular policies on immigration and crime, these results could have been much better. It’s clear from today’s results that the party’s flirtation with Covid/vaccine conspiracy theory has been an electoral liability. Various candidates and parties focused entirely on anti-lockdown and/or anti-vaccine campaigning fared even worse, polling insignificant votes.

The big losers of this election seem to be both conservatives and the far left (with the ex-communist Left Party losing 30 seats, down to 39 in the new Bundestag): the big winners are Social-Democrats and Greens.

AfD polled 12.6% at the last federal election in 2017, winning 94 seats to become the third-largest party in the Bundestag, but their 10.3% vote this year left AfD in fifth place nationwide (overtaken by both the Greens and the liberal FDP).

More radical racial nationalist parties (of which by far the largest is the NPD) have been electorally eclipsed for the time being by AfD’s success and tend to concentrate more on local and regional elections where they stand a chance of winning seats. In the 2017 federal election the NPD polled just over 175,000 votes nationwide (0.4%). This fell to just under 65,000 votes (around 0.1%) this year.

The one certain result of this election is the retirement of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been in power since November 2005 (latterly leading a coalition government of conservatives and social democrats). Her successor as head of the conservative CDU/CSU – Armin Laschet – had a disastrous campaign and seems most unlikely to become Chancellor: his party polled a record low vote and will finish slightly behind the SPD. Merkel will remain in post until coalition talks have agreed a new government, probably involving three parties in the new Bundestag: the SPD, Greens and liberal ‘Free Democrats’ (FDP).

One consequence of this conservative disaster will be a bitter battle for control, with the more ‘right-wing’ leader of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party CSU – Markus Söder – likely to push his claim to lead the conservative alliance, and probably arguing that it should drop its traditional refusal to negotiate with the ‘far right’ AfD.

see also “Return of the Schleswig-Holstein Question!”

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