How a Fledgling Nationalist Party Upended German Status Quo

With Germany’s September 24 elections, “populism” finally reached the country, until now a showcase of consensus politics. Whereas populism had been anathema for decades, now the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland, or Alternative for Germany) has become the third-largest party with 12.6 per cent of the popular vote. Moreover, the former Volkspartei SPD (Social Democratic Party) was relegated to a distant second with barely more than 20 percent of the vote, and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU (Christian Democrats) lost the most of any ruling party ever in a national election, plummeting in standing by 8.6 percentage points.

In 2013, the AfD emerged in opposition to the massive bailouts that was funded primarily by Germany for the European Union’s southern states. These de-facto breaches of the Treaty on the European Union impaired if not annihilated Germany’s fiscal sovereignty and made it hostage to European Central Bank and EU policies far beyond the realm of monetary policy. Former French President Francois Mitterrand, who once called the landmark Maastricht Treaty a “Versailles without Versailles,” would have felt vindicated. Back in 2013, the AfD’s year of origin, it gained 4.7 percent of the vote in the general elections, barely missing the 5 percent hurdle for representation in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament. That led to an internal power struggle directed against most of the party’s founders, who were largely economics professors-turned-politicians, focused primarily on economic issues. These founders were forced out by broader patriotic and populist forces…

Source: The American Conservative

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