First it was the surprising Brexit vote. Now the anti-immigrant protest vote is sweeping across Europe, right into the heart of Angela Merkel’s home district in a German regional election held today. Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union, or CDU, won only 19% of the vote, down from 23% in 2011, and its worst ever showing for it in the state of Mecklingberg-Vorpommern.
In fact, all the other major parties lost votes this year compared to the last regional election in 2011 – except one – the anti-immigrant party, Alternative for Deutschland – or AfD – which won a stunning 22% of the vote – knocking Merkel’s party into 3rd place. The upset vote was good enough to win AfD – 18 seats in the state’s 71-seat state legislature – a record showing for a 1st time party. The winner was the SPD party with 30.2% of the vote. SPD has ruled this rural part of Germany’s northeast Baltic coast since 2006.
The SPD will form a coalition with Merkel’s party, the CDU, that will govern the state despite coming just under a majority of the vote.
However, the ramifications of this stunning win for a party that has risen from zero in only half of a 5-year election cycle is a wake up call to all Germany – every bit as surprising to Germans as the Brexit vote was to Britons on June 23rd. Some say Merkel may decide to not seek re-election next October with her approval rating slipping to an all-time low.
She saw it coming though – through the polls last week. Speaking in Berlin on Thursday, Merkel did a sudden 180 on her open door immigration policy that has flooded the nation with a migrant invasion the likes of which Europe has never seen before. All of a sudden, Angela Merkel has become an instant fan of deportation. Here’s what she said:
"For the next months the most important thing is deportation, deportation, and again: deportation."
AfD politician Lief-Erik Holm responded:
“We can’t take this unbearable dictator of a Chancellor any more.
"I would like to live in a democratic state based on the rule of law. This is why I say 'No' to a multicultural society."
Voters already punished Merkel in 3 of Germany’s 16 states in elections in March, sweeping aside Merkel’s Christian Democrats and voting in droves for AfD candidates, after mass immigrant attacks during normally-peaceful New Years Eve celebrations.
AfD’s win was cheered by Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front Party.
“What was impossible yesterday has become possible; the patriots of AfD sweep up the party of Ms Merkel. All my congratulations!”
Le Pen could well become the next president of France early next year. The first presidential elections are on April 23, followed by a run-off election – if needed – on May 7.