INCREASINGLY dubbed the ‘far right’, Germany’s new political party has done well at the recent election.
Only four years old, the Alternative for Germany Party (AfD) won 12.6 per cent of the vote and 94 seats in the 709-seat Bundestag.
Its two main concerns are an ever-increasing federalist Europe and immigration.
Both are significant reasons why Chancellor Merkel’s Party had its worst showing since the 1940s, losing a million votes to the AfD.
The bulk of press comment ignored concerns about the EU, instead focusing on the immigration debate, thereby reinforcing the AfD’s far-right credentials.
That viewpoint understates the growing concerns of many Germans, who have seen an estimated 1.3 million migrants, mostly from the Middle East, enter the country in 2015.
The backlash to this influx, especially in smaller rural areas, has taken the politicians by surprise.
The German media is full of horror stories, ranging from sexual assaults to knife attacks by asylum seekers and refugees, which the authorities have strenuously downplayed.
Notoriously, Cologne lost its police chief after he covered up a spate of rapes on New Year’s Eve.
By last September’s local elections, the writing was on the wall.
Mrs Merkel’s Party came third to the AfD in her own constituency.
Now, AfD, which campaigns against mosques and minarets in Germany, has the potential for real power.
They’re calling for permanent border controls and a commission into Mrs Merkel’s “breaches of the law” in allowing the mass immigration.
And, unless Mrs Merkel creates a solid coalition with two smaller parties, the AfD will be her official opposition.
I don’t believe this is the rise of a militaristic-style right-wing, but simply ordinary Germans feeling they are being more and more disenfranchised.