Politics

Alternative for Germany wins big in state elections

Article published on March 14, 2016
Article published on March 14, 2016

The right-wing populist Alternative for Germany chalked up double-digit results in state elections in Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony-Anhalt and Baden-Württemberg on Sunday. For some commentators the results express a rejection of Angela Merkel's refugee policy. Others believe the chancellor's stance was endorsed at the polls.

Voters distrust naive chancellor -  The Times, United Kingdom

The results of Germany's state elections send a warning signal to Merkel regarding the parliamentary elections in 2017, the conservative daily The Times believes: "That message is that her open-borders decision was wrong, her efforts to keep them open have been misconceived and the deal she has championed with Turkey to prevent a second wave of refugees this year is too weak to trust. … Her disagreement with her EU counterparts and many German voters is fundamental. They see that Germany’s open-border policy is the magnet inducing tens of thousands of refugees to risk their lives heading for Europe. She refuses to acknowledge her naivety and has put her faith in a costly deal to process and accommodate most refugees in Turkey. If that deal does not hold, Mrs Merkel will pay in next year’s election as her party paid last night."

Merkel has not "done it" Protagon.gr, Greece

Chancellor Merkel has failed with her open-door policy, the liberal news website Protagon believes: "In Baden-Württemberg the Eurosceptic Alternative for Germany attained 15 percent of the vote. And in Saxony-Anhalt they performed even better (23 percent). The East Germans don't want any foreigners, and are behaving far worse toward the huge numbers of immigrants than some West Germans treated them after 1990. After the elections in three federal states, two political consequences may be drawn: ... Firstly: Angela Merkel's policy was correct at the start, but the large numbers of refugees has changed it into something that will prove fatal for Germany and the other European countries. Secondly: the two established parties in German politics as we have known them are a thing of the past." (13/03/2016)

Regional elections show support for MerkelBerliner Zeitung, Germany

Despite the success of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party German Chancellor Angela Merkel has emerged as the overall winner, writes the centre-left daily Berliner Zeitung: "Governing the country won't be any easier. With a strong fourth, fifth or even sixth party in the state parliaments obtaining majorities will be no easy task. But looking at other European countries this, too, is a normal state of affairs. Aside from the shock of the AfD's breakthrough the elections have produced a surprising amount of continuity. The Green politician Winfried Kretschmann remains state premier [in Baden-Württemberg]. The Social Democratic party continues to rule in Rhineland-Palatinate, as does the Christian Democratic Union's man Reiner Haselhoff in Saxony-Anhalt. And the chancellor? All the election winners supported her refugee policy. She - and not her party - has won these elections, for which the party only has itself the blame." (14/03/2016)

Berlin needs help from other EU members -  El País, Spain

The growing strength of the right wing populists in Europe means that the EU member states are more duty bound than ever to help Berlin find a solution to the refugee crisis, the centre-left daily El País believes: "A complex scenario is emerging in Germany. In the new political set-up Chancellor Merkel and her Social Democratic partners in the coalition government must confront the worst humanitarian crisis Europe has faced since World War II. Their ability to do this without breaking the basic principles on immigration will depend on Brussels and the EU member states making a concerted and genuine effort to establish an effective policy for dealing with the crisis."

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