Sunday, September 24, 2017

The German Election.

Today's German election is much the most important election in Europe this year. Particularly important bearing in mind the UK's decision to Leave the EU in March 2019. If I were a German voter, I would have supported the CDU/CSU alliance led by Angela Merkel. And would have been deeply worried by the rise of Alternative fuer Deutschland. In the event, it seems CDU/CSU alliance has takent 32.9% of the vote (making Theresa May's 42.3% look quite impressive) and the AfD seems to have taken over 13% (and predicted to win 89 seats). This is dramatic and a matter of deep concern to all of Europe. The UK media are focussing on Mrs Merkel winning her 4th election. The real news is the emergence of the AfD. It's not good news, but very bad news indeed.
And it gets worse. Because it seems the SPD have won only 20% of the votes (historically low) any thoughts of another 'Grand Coalition' between Germany's two biggest parties are probably stillborn. It will take a lot to persuade the SPD to serve as 'minority partner' again. Which means Mrs Merkel could spend next few weeks/months putting together a coalition with other parties (with very different philosophies) to govern Germany. A 'Jamaica Coalition' will not be at all easy to pull off. Brexit may well become a very secondary issue. It's not featured in the election to any significant extent. Can't see Mrs Merkel putting Brexit at top of her agenda over next few months.
The worst aspect of today's result, and by a very long way is the emergence of the AfD as a political force in Germany. The AfD is a party that is anti-immigrant, anti-Islam and associated (fairly or unfairly) with ultra right wing (National Socialist) parties that have so tarnished Europe's 20th century history. No other party will work with AfD in any circumstances. Regrettably, the AfD going to be a growing force in German and European politics. Time to start praying.

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