AfD give Merkel a headache
Chancellor Angela Merkel has had a pretty torrid September with three sets of elections showing that support for her and her centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is declining. Even worse is that it is the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) which is picking up seats in a series of state elections this month.
On 4th September the AfD won 18 seats and 20.8% of the vote in the 71 seat Landtag of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in northern Germany. The CDU were knocked into third place dropping four percentage points and two seats to take 16 seats behind the AfD. The centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) also dropped two seats and five percentage points whilst the Greens and National Democratic Party lost all of their seats.
On 11th September the CDU held on in Lower Saxony taking 34.4% of the vote but that was down from 37% and the AfD managed to gain 7.8% of the vote. The SPD and Greens also dropped substantial numbers of votes.
Yesterday in Berlin State the AfD picked up 25 seats with 14.7% of the vote in the 160 seat Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin. The SPD remained the largest party with 38 seats (down nine seats) whilst the CDU stayed in second place with 31 seats, down nine seats.
In March this year the AfD also won double-digit support in state elections in Baden-Württemberg (15%), Rhineland-Palatinate (12.6%) and Saxony-Anhalt (24%). Overall the AfD now have a presence in 10 of the 16 state parliaments. Meanwhile the two big parties, the CDU and SPD are showing a decline in their support. The AfD was formed in 2013 as a Eurosceptic party but more recently has concentrated its main policy attack on Angela Merkel’s liberal refugee policy with considerable success.