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Germany’s Election And The Re-Emergence Of Nationalism In Europe

Germany’s Election And The Re-Emergence Of Nationalism In Europe

The political fault line, along which the German elections rested, is chiefly globalisation; its proponents and those with resolve to push back against it.

Much like the recent elections in France, Holland, the United States of America, and Britain, this round, oscillated around issues of migration, religious conflict and failed cultural assimilation projects in the West.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been re-elected for a fourth term, while nationalists have made a historic surge in federal elections. Her party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), picked up 32.5 % of the votes, while the Alternative For Germany (AfD), a far-right party founded in 2013, won 13.5 % of the votes. While her alliance has remained the largest party, these polls bore the worst result for the alliance between the Christian Democrat (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) since 1949, when national elections were held in Germany for the first time after World War II. It is in that vein that similarities can be drawn between Merkel and Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May’s, June 8th elections that threw up a hung parliament, prompting the Tories to seek a ‘confidence and supply’ deal with the Democratic United Party of Northern Ireland, and Britain’s break away from its largest trade partner, the European Union.

Perhaps, the main determinant of the voters’ verdict, is Mrs Merkel’s decision to open Germany’s doors to one million refugees. On August 25th 2015, Germany decided to suspend the Dublin Procedure for Syrians, which meant that refugees from Syria no longer had to be sent back to the first EU country that they entered. The question of freedom of movement in Europe stoked heavy debates across the continent, championed by the likes of Marine Le Pen of the French National Front, Geert Wilders of the Dutch Party for Freedom, and Nigel Farage, before his resignation from the United Kingdom Independence Party following the unexpected Brexit outcomes.

Itumeleng Makgetla

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