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Can the far right win for the first time in a German province? The last strength test will be conducted before the national elections in the fall

A very close result is expected to determine which party wins today’s Saxony-Anhalt election. Opinion polls published in recent weeks show that the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which has ruled the region uninterrupted since 2002, and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) lead the polls. According to the latest research, a poll conducted by the INSA Bild polling firm on Friday, the CDU has the lead over the right-wing populist party, with the CDU’s support at 27 percent and the AfD’s popularity at 26 percent. The situation was reflected in a poll published last Wednesday in Bild newspaper: the AfD was somewhat ahead of the CDU (26 and 25 percent, respectively), which means that it could win a regional party for the first time in the populist party’s history. . Founded in 2013. Choice.

After 16 years without Merkel

The elections in Saxony-Anhalt are of particular interest because they are the last test before the national elections on September 26, which, for the first time in 16 years, will not be interrupted by Angela Merkel by the Christian Democratic Union and its sister party, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU). The chancellor announced in October 2018 that he would not run for chancellor in this year’s election, meaning he would not start his fifth consecutive chancellor.

The Saxony-Anhalt election also came into the limelight as it was the CDU’s first contest after being decided after heated internal debates: Armin Laschet would be the union’s joint candidate in the autumn Bundestag elections. The head of the CDU, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, was elected as a candidate for chancellor in mid-April by the CDU’s 46-member governing body. The decision was also gestured by the CSU, although in addition to Laschet, the head of the CSU, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder, entered the arena for the position of chancellor of the union parties.

Not only was there a debate between the CDU and the Christian Social Union over which EU parties could be more successful in the fall national elections, but many within the CDU believed that the choice should be made with the more popular Söder rather than with the gray magnate Laschet. . Several prominent CDU politicians, including three provinces, the current state of Saxony-Anhalt and the heads of government of Saxony and Saarland, and Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, also sided with Söder.

A possible AfD victory in Saxony-Anhalt would weaken Laschet’s already fragile position within the union parties and could spark another debate within the CDU over the identity of the chancellor’s candidate.

Spiegel considers Laschet’s loss to the CDU in Saxony a disaster, since since the 1990 reunification, the Christian Democrats have not won an election in the East German province just once. According to the newspaper, Laschet desperately needs a win so he can line up the union parties behind the hair of the Bundestag election campaign by shutting down discussions about his candidacy.

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The crucial issue is the relationship with the AfD

Spiegel also points out that the last thing Laschet now needs is a resumption of debate within his party about the Alternative for Germany, which will become inevitable if the populist party wins. Indeed, within the Saxon-Anhalt CDU, there are politicians who, despite clear guidelines from the central leadership ruling out collusion with the AfD, see cooperation with the populist party as possible. Wolfgang Renzsch, Professor of Political Science at the University of Magdeburg according to his teacher About a third of Saxony-Anhalt parliamentarians from the CDU will cooperate with the AfD. Rainer Hasseloff, the CDU’s prime minister in Saxon-Anhalt, was forced to oust his interior minister last December, who had adopted the option of an AFD-backed minority government outside the CDU due to controversy within Magdeburg’s coalition government, which includes the Social Democrats. and greens.

Laschet drew a sharp line between the CDU and the AfD in an interview on his national civil service radio this week when he said pro-democracy activists should unite and vote for the CDU in Saxony-Anhalt elections so that the AfD is not the same. The largest party in the provincial parliament. He said of possible cooperation between the CDU and the AfD:

His party must also contribute to the victory of the democratic center by saying that it will not negotiate, cooperate or enter into an alliance with the AfD.

The AfD has traditionally done well in the eastern German provinces, with support of more than 20 percent in the former German Democratic Republic, while at the national level it can currently show results between 10 and 12 percent. Hajo Funk, Free University of Berlin According to his political scientist Behind the strong support of the AfD in the former GDR provinces, the frustration and resentment of part of East German society over reunification;That hoped – to improve his financial situation was not achieved by German unification.

The situation in Saxony-Anhalt is well illustrated by the fact that it has lost a quarter of its population since reunification, so that now 2.2 million people live in the county.

Regarding the AfD’s strong support in the former GDR provinces, Marco Wandrowitz, the Berlin government’s Commissioner for East German provinces, recently told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that some social people in the dictatorship “have not reached democracy in thirty years.” According to him, a very small percentage of AfD supporters can be “returned” and we can only hope for this in the “next generation”. However, experts note that the CDU cannot play for a while, as the AfD is more popular with younger voters than older voters.

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The AfD campaigned against the lockdown ضد

The AfD has criticized measures taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic as a key element of its campaign in Saxony-Anhalt, saying the party’s “unjustified” restrictive measures “have pushed many people into poverty with few infections”. The anti-lockdown campaign has bolstered the party’s anti-elite power, which experts say the AfD has been able to win over more voters. Currently, measures taken due to the pandemic, five years ago, at the height of the refugee crisis, immigration policy, while the party was formed in 2013, criticizing the European Monetary Union, the euro with populist votes, is at the center of the party’s messages.

According to a survey conducted by the Magdeburg government last year, Saxony-Anhalt, which has the lowest GDP per capita in Germany, considers the economic problems caused by the pandemic to be the main problem, followed by concerns about immigration and asylum policy. Follow the traditional alternative.

The Prime Minister of Magdeburg can start another term

Even if the AfD wins the elections in Saxony-Anhalt, it will certainly not be able to form a government, as all parties rule out the possibility of an alliance with the AfD. The new Magdeburg government is expected to be formed under the current prime minister, but poll data indicates that the current coalition – the CDU, SPD and the Greens – will not have a parliamentary majority after the election. Instead, in addition to the three parties, the Free Democrats (FDP) will join the coalition.

Despite the CDU’s problems, the prime minister of Saxony-Anhalt is still considered the most popular politician in the province.

On the most important public issue currently, the treatment of the coronavirus pandemic, Haseloff could show as a result that the county has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. Its standing is also reinforced by the fact that since 2011, since taking over as chancellor, unemployment has fallen by 27 percent in the county.

The greens have broken forward

In addition to the CDU and AfD, the role of the Green Party will also be highlighted in Saxony-Anhalt, where the environmental party, according to opinion polls in recent weeks, has come close to, or even surpassed, the CDU, which has been in the front line. For the first time in their history, the Green Party has now nominated a candidate for chancellor in the person of the party’s co-chair, Annalena Barbock.

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The Environment Party has not traditionally performed well in district elections in East Germany, but current polls suggest it could double its 5 percent result in the 2016 Saxony-Anhalt election this year. Such an outcome could boost the Greens’ hopes in the autumn elections in the Bundestag.

According to the latest poll, a poll published yesterday by the Kantar pollster, the CDU-CSU party has 24 percent support, while the Green Party has 22 percent support, but in mid-May, several polls also showed a preference for the Greens.

According to polls, for the first time, the Greens have a chance to form a Berlin government under their leadership, and they will give the chancellor. In any case, it can be said that they will certainly be members of the ruling coalition, and the only question is what parties it will consist of. Opinion polls conducted in “Forsa” at the end of May saw the leadership of the Green Party Scan data Converted to seats, it appears that the Greens, along with the CDU, will be in the majority in the Bundestag (they will have a total of 380 seats out of 711). The largest majority would be available if the Greens met with the SPD and FDP, the ruling coalition would get 400 seats.

According to a recent survey in Der Spiegel, 25 percent of respondents want the Green Party’s candidate, Annalena Barbock, to be a chancellor, compared to only 22 percent for Laschet. Experts also point out that the Greens have been at the forefront of opinion polls since the union parties nominated Lachet for the chancellor. Manfred Gollner, president of Forsa, said Laschet – considered by many to be a charismatic but credible politician – was doing so poorly that he couldn’t imagine how he could sufficiently improve his support by September.

Laschet must persuade and energize voters among unsafe voters, but there are no indications of that

. said Reuters The president of the polling company.

Cover image source: Florian Gaertner / Photothek via Getty Images