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Germany: Beginning of the End of the Merkel Era?

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The election in Meck-Pomm was widely seen as a referendum on Merkel’s open-door migration policy.

Germany: Beginning of the End of the Merkel Era?

Soeren Kern | Gatestone Institute | September 10, 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a major blow on September 4 when the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) surged ahead of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in elections in her home state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.

With 20.8% of the vote, the AfD came in second place behind the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) (30.6%). Merkel’s CDU came in third place, with 19% of the vote, the worst result it has ever had in Meck-Pomm, as the state is called for short.

The election in Meck-Pomm was widely seen as a referendum on Merkel’s open-door migration policy and her decision to allow more than one million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to enter Germany in 2015. The migrant influx has resulted in a notable increase in crime in the country. The growing sense of insecurity has been exacerbated by a series of attacks this summer by Muslim migrants in which ten people were killed and dozens more were injured.

The CDU debacle in Meck-Pomm yields two main conclusions: 1) Merkel’s hopes of winning — or even running — for a fourth term in general elections in 2017 are now in doubt; and 2) the AfD is a force to be reckoned with in German politics. It can longer be simply dismissed as a “fringe party.”

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