Monday, September 16, 2013

The AfD Irony

Bavaria is of course a part of Germany, but it differs in some way from the rest. It is economically a lot more successful with for example an unemployment rate in 2012 of only 3.2% compared to 5.4% in Germany as a whole. It is also politically a lot more conservative, and has its own version of the conservative CDU called CSU, which despite being more right-wing than the CDU has greater support than the CDU got in the rest of Germany.

Bavaria held their election yesterday, one week before the national election. It was a success for the CSU who gained a majority of the seats in the regional parliament, but it was also a big setback for the free market FDP, the coalition partner of CDU/CSU on the federal level.

Opinion polls suggests that the national result the coming sunday will be pretty much the same, the CDU will gain while the FDP will lose seats. The big question is whether the gains of CDU/CSU will be enough to compensate for the FDP:s losses and secure a continued right-wing majority.

One thing that might doom the continued majority of the CDU/CSU and the FDP would be if the anti-euro party AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) gets above the 5% threshold and gains seats. If that happens, the CDU/CSU would probably opt for another "grand coalition" with the Social Democrats, the SDP.

The irony is that while support for the AfD is driven by opposition to the bailouts of Greece and other countries, the AfD:s entry could very well mean that the bailouts increase, as the SDP has criticized the current government for being insufficiently generous.

Thus, an electoral success for the AfD could ironically push actual policy in the opposite direction of their voters' preferences.


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