Merkel’s Party and Alternative for Germany will compete in elections

On Sunday, 6 June, elections will be held in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt – the latest in a series of regional campaigns ahead of the decisive political battle for the Bundestag this fall. Although the current prime minister from the Christian Democratic Union, 67-year-old Rainer Haseloff (by the way, a physicist by education, like Chancellor Angela Merkel) has every chance of retaining the post, which he has been holding for 10 years, the intrigue is still great. After all, the far-right “Alternative for Germany” is literally on the heels of the CDU. Five years ago, she won 24.3 percent of the vote in this eastern land, and now the party expects to confirm the result or even improve it. According to some polls, “alternatives” can get up to 26 percent in Saxony-Anhalt and bypass Merkel’s party, that is, become not even the second, but the first political force in the region, Deutsche Welle admits.

1.8 million voters will decide the fate of Saxony-Anhalt. The population density here is one of the lowest in the country (only 235 thousand people live in the capital of the land – Magdeburg), while the average age of local residents in 2019 was almost 48 years. The local problems are typical for the territory that became part of the Federal Republic of Germany 30 years ago as a new land. The average salary is 700 euros lower than the average in Germany, there are not enough teachers in schools, many hospitals have closed. At the same time, a large number of wind turbines is striking – the authorities have relied on “green” energy, announcing their exit from the coal industry.

Discontent of workers and engineers from closed enterprises was skillfully included in its agenda by the local “Alternative”, confidently playing on the feelings of the middle class. “The middle class does not need a renewable energy law. The middle class does not want a CO tax 2. The middle class doesn’t want all of this. Climate rescue should not start with Germany, “Oliver Kirchner, 55, the head of the AfD faction in the state parliament and the main candidate for this election, a former mechanic and car dealer, told MDR television.

As experts admit, one protest against migrants, which became the party’s hobbyhorse five years ago, will not leave. Therefore, now the main targets of the AfD are “climatic hysteria” (a stone in the garden of the “greens” who cheerfully squeeze the Merkel party in the west of the country, but in general are not very popular in the east and barely made it to the Landtag of Saxony-Anhalt in 2016) and government policy in the fight against the “crown”. “Ms. Merkel, if you want to lock yourself up, lock yourself in! But we no longer want to sit under Frau Merkel’s lock!” – Kirchner campaigned on Friday in the main square of Magdeburg. However, the situation with the pandemic in Saxony-Anhalt is quite favorable, and this plays into the hands of the CDU prime minister, who is still the most popular among local politicians.

But still, the topic of refugees remains in the AfD. “People who have joined our social system should be sent home, let them be engaged in the reconstruction of their country,” Kirchner wrote recently in an article for the newspaper Narodny Golos. Critics also draw attention to his emotional statements on sensitive historical topics. “Throughout German history, not everything was bad. If everything was bad for you, I suggest you emigrate to a country that you like best,” the head of the Alternative’s electoral list told reporters.

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Experts admit that the members of the current black-red-green coalition (also called the “Kenyan” coalition) are Christian Democrats, social democrats and “greens” – may fall short of the parliamentary majority. Then a wide variety of scenarios are possible – for example, inviting liberals from the Free Democratic Party to the land government, if they go to the Landag (and there are chances for this). Then Mr. Hazeloff would be able to continue to calmly manage the region, without entering into negotiations with “Alternative”, which he had previously ruled out. “Such an alignment would suit many. But there are also many skeptics who say: the formation of a coalition of four political forces – and all in order to keep AfD away from power – can hardly be called a good approach to democracy for the whole of Germany,” – encloses DW.

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