AfD eyes election gains

AfD eyes election gains

Germany’s traditional parties could lose further seats to extremist parties if another election is held amid a failure to patch together a coalition. 

The right-wing Free Democrats walked out of negotiations with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union and the Greens.

The extremist Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) became Germany’s third biggest political party in the Bundestag after the September 24 election.

And the AfD’s campaign head in Berlin, Goetz Froemming, said “we will be ready” for another election.

The party’s key election issue, immigration, helped end coalition talks at the weekend over a failure to agree on the matter of family reunions for refugees.

“Historically, big rulers have failed to recognise when their time is over. Ms Merkel may think this country cannot go on without her but this is a historic moment and she should be passing the baton to someone else,” Froemming told the Independent. An election would be welcomed “if it is the only way to get rid of Angela Merkel”, the new parliamentarian said.

“This is not a good situation for our country and I am not sure new elections will change anything.”

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has the constitutional role of overseeing the formation of a new government, demanded parties act responsibly and “make the formation of a new government possible in the foreseeable future”.

Steinmeier met Christian Lindner, who pulled his Free Democrats out of coalition talks with Merkel at the weekend, in an effort to persuade him to return to the negotiating table.

But after the meeting, Lindner said further coalition talks “made no sense”.

Steinmeier reminded the political parties that they had a duty to compromise and form governing alliances rather than just call for a new election.

He has an appointment with SPD leader Martin Schulz today [Wednesday].

Merkel said on Sunday that she would rather have a fresh vote than rule as a minority government with the Greens.

Steinmeier is a former vice-chancellor, two-time German foreign minister and SPD chancellor hopeful who is known for his pragmatism. He has served with and run against Merkel but now is her main potential saviour.

The 61-year-old has called upon the SPD to abandon its hardline stance against returning to coalition with Merkel.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is putting pressure on his old party. Picture credit: Wikimedia 

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