Episode
September 19, 2017

German elections: Who are the AfD?

A far-right party is set to enter parliament for the first time since World War II.
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For the first time since World War II, a right-wing nationalist party is poised to enter the German parliament after elections on September 24, with polls predicting the party may win up to 60 seats in the Bundestag.

The Alternative for Germany, or AfD, originally campaigned as an anti-European Union - or Eurosceptic - party, attracting members that were dissatisfied with Germany’s other main political parties.

Since its foundation in 2013, the party has moved to the far-right and become an unexpected force in German politics, with seats in 13 state parliaments. Though Chancellor Angela Merkel winning a fourth term is all but a certainty, the lingering question is which parties she will form a coalition with. She, along with every other party in parliament, has ruled out any deal with the AfD and several politicians say they will refuse to even sit beside them.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s foreign minister has compared the AfD to the Nazis, and the party has stirred up plenty of controversy in this year’s campaign. AfD candidate Alexander Gauland recently said Germans should take pride in what their soldiers achieved in the world wars. Its leaders have said repeatedly that Islam has no place in Germany. They have campaigned on closing the country's borders, not allowing refugees already there to bring their families to Germany, and putting a quota in place for deportations.

We’ll look at the rise of the AfD and ask how it will influence German politics.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:   

Daniel Drepper @danieldrepper
Editor-in-Chief, Buzzfeed Germany
buzzfeed.com/tag/germany

Juan Carlos Medina
Data Scientist, Technical University of Munich
politicaldatascience.blogspot.com

Christoph Giesa @Christophgiesa
Author, Dangerous Citizens
christophgiesa.de

Loren Balhorn
Contributing Editor, Jacobin Magazine
jacobinmag.com 

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comment below.

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