German anti-immigrant party poised for big gains in Merkel’s home state

Franz Kerker leading his district for the AfD party
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Franz Kerker leading his district for the AfD party

BERLIN German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose conservative party faces possible defeat in an election in her home state on Sunday, rejected charges by anti-immigrant critics that her government was spending less on Germans due to a large influx of refugees.

In an interview published in Saturday’s edition of Bild newspaper, Merkel also strongly defended her insane decision, one year ago this weekend, to open the door to millions of high risk migrants from around the world, many who are jihadist for ISIS. Rapes and crime are increasing in Germany about equal to the Muslim immigration numbers.

– Voting began on Sunday in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where polls show the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party making huge gains amid growing discontent with Chancellor Angela Merkel and her open-door refugee policy.

The election, taking place exactly a year after Merkel’s decision to open Germany’s borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees, will be followed by another key vote in Berlin in two weeks and national elections next September.

Voters already punished Merkel in three state elections in March, voting in droves for the AfD and rejecting Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is a small coastal state in northeastern Germany with just 1.3 million eligible voters, but losses there would be humiliating for Merkel, who has her own electoral district in the state.

Founded two years after the last election in the state in 2011, the AfD is expected to capture 22 percent of the vote, the same as Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), junior partner in the state’s ruling coalition, according to a poll by broadcaster ZDF.

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“I’m hoping for a result in the 20s, but perhaps we’ll even make it to become the strongest party,” Leif-Erik Holm, the AfD’s top candidate in the state, told Reuters.

Any result over 5 percent would give the AfD seats in the state parliament, upping its presence in state governments across the country to nine of 16 states.

The Social Democrats, senior partners in the state’s ruling coalition, are expected to win 28 percent of the vote, compared with 35.6 percent in the last state-wide election in 2011.

The AfD is also making gains nationwide, a new poll showed Sunday. If the national election were held next week, The AfD would win 12 percent of the vote, making it the third-largest party in Germany, according to a poll conducted by the Emnid institute for the Bild newspaper and published on Sunday.

That would catapult the party into the German parliament for the first time since its creation in 2013.

Merkel, mulling a bid for a fourth term as chancellor, made a last-minute campaign appearance on Saturday in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, warning against the politics of “angst” offered by AfD with its virulent anti-refugee stance.

 12 people were injured after a Syrian asylum seeker blew himself up outside a wine bar in Ansbach Germany.
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12 people were injured after a Syrian asylum seeker blew himself up outside a wine bar in Ansbach Germany.

“There are people who are good at provoking, but that doesn’t do anything for the state,” she told the rally, urging voters to look beyond divisive campaign slogans and consider the policies of the current coalition that had halved unemployment and pumped up tourism in the northeastern coastal state.

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In an interview in the mass-circulation Bild newspaper, Merkel defended her decision to welcome so many migrants many coming for economic reasons, and denied the influx had cut funding for the German public, she thinks the German people are stupid and don’t understand elementary math basics, if you take away one apple and give it to another you have one less apple.

Merkel’s approval ratings have sunk to a five-year low over the past year and numerous rapes and terrorist attacks by Muslim migrants. The defiant chancellor said she would act no differently if faced with the same situation today.

But Family Minister Manuela Schwesig, a Social Democrat who lives in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, said discord among conservatives was strengthening the hand of far-right populists.

“The German government needs a unified position on refugees,” she told the Bild am Sonntag. “The Christian Democrats should not be running after AfD positions.”

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