Angela Merkel’s party slumps as far-right surges in Berlin election

Germany’s two largest parties have suffered losses in the nation’s capital as large numbers of Berliners turned to the far-right.

Anti-immigrant party Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) will enter Berlin’s state parliament for the first time, after winning 14.2% of the vote, CNN reported.

Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has been knocked out of a ruling coalition with the center-left Social Democrats, after winning just 17.6% of the vote.

While the Social Democrats won the largest share of the vote, 21.6%, they will have to enter a coalition with two other left wing parties, Die Linke (15.6%) and the Greens (15.2%) to govern.

The Berlin result marks the second recent defeat for Merkel since Germany adopted its much vaunted but highly controversial refugee policy.
Refugee referendum

Merkel has stood firm on Germany’s position of accepting nearly all asylum seekers found to be legitimate refugees. Germany took in more than one million refugees in 2015, making it the most open country in Europe to asylum seekers.

AfD have openly targeted former CDU voters upset by Merkel’s stance, eating away at the party’s support on the right.

In an interview with CNN this month, AfD party leader Frauke Petry claimed the CDU is “falling apart.”

“We see that in many regions of Germany the CDU bases, the party bases, don’t agree with Merkel’s policy anymore.”

In the run up to the election, current mayor Michael Muller warned that a large showing by AfD “would be seen around the world as a sign of the return … of the Nazis.”

“Berlin has transformed itself from the capital of Hitler’s Germany to a lighthouse of freedom, tolerance, diversity and social cohesion,” Muller wrote on Facebook.


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