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Title: AfD – the alternative for whom?
Author: Ciechanowicz, Artur
Publisher: Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), 2017
Series/Date: OSW Commentary No.231 (10.02.17)
Source Origin: Professional/public/political organisation, Think Tanks
Source Type: Article - Blog/Journal/Series
Notes: When in 2013 a group of professors of economics founded Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland – AfD) it seemed that the name of the new grouping was exaggerated. Taking into account its slogans and its leaders, the AfD could at that time be an alternative for disenchanted voters of the CDU/CSU and the FDP alone. The party’s ‘founding fathers’, among whom there was a large group of former CDU members, did not conceal the fact that their ambitions were not particularly far-reaching. Their basic goal was to influence the CDU so that it would return to its former conservative values.

Over less than four years of the AfD’s existence, practically every aspect of the party has changed but its name. These aspects included: the leadership, the image, the political platform and the political power base. Professors of economics, who claim that Germany’s Eurozone membership is the country’s main problem, have been replaced with young activists focused on identity issues. The party gained an anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic profile and began to represent traditional non-voters, instead of disenchanted voters from other parties. This evolution turned out to be successful – the AfD representatives sit in the parliaments of most federal states and the party is likely to attain representation in the Bundestag after the 2017 elections. For the German political scene, this will be a shock comparable to the electoral success of the Greens’ in 1983.

The consequences of this revolution on the political scene have already been evident at the federal state level. The AfD’s presence in state parliaments forces other parties to establish alliances against it, which consequently prevents each of these parties from delivering on their electoral promises. Meanwhile, the AfD is shaping the public debate by referring to issues which other parties until recently considered as taboo. This forces the remaining parties to take a stance on these issues and adopt specific legislative solutions.
Source URL: http://aei.pitt.edu/84481/
Homepage URL: http://www.osw.waw.pl/
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Keywords: Germany: Political situation - Alternative für Deutschland / Alternative for Germany - AfD - European Migration Challenges - Refugees - Asylum seekers - Immigration policy - Populism in European politics - Euroscepticism - Frauke Petry - Modern conservatism - Xenophobia - Islamophobia - Pegida - Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident
Geographic Indicators:  Germany: Internal
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