Sunday

24th Sep 2017

Anti-EU party continues to poach Merkel votes

  • The impoverished capital city took in 70,000 asylum seekers last year (Photo: Sascha Kohlmann)

German leader Angela Merkel’s party has suffered a further setback in local elections, while the anti-EU AfD party continued to make gains.

Exit polls from Sunday (18 September) said her centre-right CDU won just 17.5 percent of votes in Berlin, while the centre-left SPD came first on 22 points.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Both of the mainstream parties lost more than 5 percent compared to their previous result.

The outcome meant that the two factions, which are allied at the federal level, no longer have a majority in the city, prompting speculation that the SPD would join up with the far-left Die Linke (15%) and the Greens (15%) instead.

The anti-immigrant and anti-EU AfD party came fifth, but its score, of almost 14 percent, saw it enter the regional assembly for the first time.

It did better still in east Berlin, which is financially less well off than the west, and where it came third on 17 percent after Die Linke (24%) and SPD (19%), beating Merkel's CDU (13%).

The results prompted hand-wringing in Merkel’s bloc.

Frank Henkel, the CDU's top candidate for Berlin, said it was "a black day” and that "it is very alarming when fringe parties like the AfD or Die Linke between them attract a quarter of the vote."

Monika Gruetters, another leading CDU candidate, called it “a sad day for the popular parties”.

Markus Soeder, a leading figure in the CDU’s sister party, the CSU in Bavaria, blamed the outcome on Merkel’s policy of welcoming refugees, saying she must “regain citizens' support on the refugee question and finally strictly limit immigration and get a handle on the security problems”.

But the AfD’s Berlin front-man, Georg Pazderski, celebrated the fact that his side had come “from zero to double-digits”.

The party’s co-leader, Beatrix von Storch, called it “a huge success”. “We've arrived in the capital," she said.

Analysis showed that the AfD picked up the most votes from people who had not voted before (53,000) or from former CDU supporters (32,000).

The Berlin outcome meant it now has a presence in 10 out of Germany’s 16 regional assemblies ahead of next year's federal election.

It also made headlines two weeks ago by beating the CDU into third place in Merkel's home region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommen, a poor part of eastern Germany.

Opinion

Stop the hysteria over Germany's little election

Media and politicians have made a doomsday scenario out of a few thousand far-right votes in an obscure region, instead of dealing with Germany's real problem - social exclusion.

Merkel faces backlash over Berlin attack

The German chancellor says Monday's deadly crash at a Christmas market was a terrorist attack, but calls for calm. Her critics are already blaming her refugee policy.

Analysis

Merkel-Macron: An EU motor in the making

Merkel's re-election is expected to revive the Franco-German EU motor, but the German leader and France's new ruler are still searching for a common vision.

EU 'embarrassed' by Catalan 'taboo'

Faced with the growing tension between the Spanish and Catalan governments, the member states and EU institutions would prefer not to get involved.

Quiet showdown in Barcelona

Thousands of Catalans have taken to the streets, in protest against the Spanish government's efforts to prevent the independence referendum. Both sides know that violence would go against their cause.

News in Brief

  1. EU to hail 'aspirations' of former Soviet states
  2. UK says credit downgrade was wrong
  3. Dutch state appeals ban on taking air-polluting measures
  4. May proposes 2-year transition period after Brexit
  5. May to call on EU's 'sense of responsibility'
  6. Catalonia has 'contingency plans' for independence vote
  7. Last German polls confirm Merkel's lead
  8. EU to step up sanctions on North Korea

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  2. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  3. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  4. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  6. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  7. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  10. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  11. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  12. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel