Saturday

3rd Dec 2016

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

MEP barred from questioning Oettinger on plane trip

The Hungarian Green MEP who uncovered EU Commissioner Oettinger's flight to Budapest on a private plane of a lobbyist was not allowed to ask the German politician on the issue in the EP.

News in Brief

  1. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start
  2. Lead MEP Dieselgate committee: Italy and Slovakia will cooperate
  3. Transparency NGO sues EU commission on Turkey deal
  4. Pro-EU liberal wins UK by-election
  5. Finnish support for Nato drops, Russia-scepticism grows
  6. Cyprus talks to resume in January
  7. Documents from German NSA inquiry released
  8. Transport commissioner 'not aware' of legal action on emissions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. CESIElects Leaders and Sets Safety & Health at Work and Gender Equality Among the Guidelines For Next Term
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationContinues to Grow its Membership and Welcomes its Newest Member Association
  3. ACCASupports the Women of Europe Awards, Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  4. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  5. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  6. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  7. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  8. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Trasport and Mobility in Rome
  10. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  12. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security