ER Editor: German electors in two key regions, Bavaria and Hesse, went to the polls yesterday, and the populist-right party, Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) did very well, to the alarm of the establishment.
Politico.eu (MSM warning) picked up the story. Of note:
In two German state elections that are seen as a bellwether of the national mood, the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, surged while the three parties that make up the country’s federal coalition government suffered significant losses.
Conservative forces won clear victories in both the states of Bavaria and Hesse. In Bavaria, the Christian Social Union (CSU), a sister-party to the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is projected to win 37 percent of the vote. In Hesse, the CDU is set to win 34.6 percent of the vote.
But the biggest winner of the night was arguably the AfD, a party that has become increasingly extreme since its founding in 2013 (ER: For credible journalism, this claim of ‘extreme’ needs justifying). The AfD came in second place in Hesse and third place in Bavaria, according to preliminary results, landmark gains for the party.
The AfD’s strong performance outside its traditional bastion in the states of the former East Germany suggests the party has successfully expanded its base of support. This development has already sparked a renewed flurry of soul-searching among leaders of mainstream parties. …
In both Bavaria and Hesse, the three parties that make up German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ruling coalition — the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens, and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) — all saw their support drop. That outcome demonstrated widespread dissatisfaction with the federal government at a time of growing economic and social insecurity.
The German economy has been stuck in an extended rut, precipitated in part by the surge in energy prices that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A sharp rise in the number of asylum seekers entering Germany this year and a growing shortage of affordable housing has also fueled voter dissatisfaction.
German voters deal blow to ruling party
Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats have suffered resounding defeats in Hesse and Bavaria
The ruling Social Democrats (SPD) lost elections in the German states of Hesse and Bavaria on Sunday, as Chancellor Olaf Scholz remains dogged by low approval ratings.
In Hesse, the country’s financial hub, former chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is projected to win 34.6% of the votes, according to a forecast by broadcaster ARD. The Social Democrats are at 15.1% – more than four points down on its 2018 result.
The CDU’s sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), which has governed Bavaria since the 1950s, is projected to receive 36.6% of the votes (37.2% in 2018), while the Social Democrats are expected to get only 8.1% (9.7% in 2018). Bavaria, Germany’s second-largest state in terms of population, has a large economy and is home to many industrial companies.
SPD co-leader Lars Klingbeil acknowledged that the results were “two defeats” for his party. “There were many crises in recent years that have contributed to the situation being the way it is,” he added.
Meanwhile, the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party came second in Hesse and Bavaria with 18.5% and 15.7%, respectively. This represented an improvement of more than five points on its results in the last election in both states. The party is known for advocating tighter restrictions on immigration. It has also been critical of Germany’s ties to NATO and Berlin’s decision to supply weapons to Ukraine.
Scholz’s cabinet has been under pressure over high inflation and energy price hikes, as well as policies aimed at transitioning towards a green economy. The chancellor was heckled and booed at several campaign events, and was called a “warmonger” at one by angry attendees.
The government’s approval rating is at its lowest level since Scholz took office in December 2021, according to the ARD DeutschlandTrend poll, which showed that four out of five Germans were unhappy with his performance.
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