Agonies of pluralism: Germany and the New Right

Summer 2018
DOI: 10.3898/SOUN:69.04.2018

Germany’s centripetal politics won out again in the saga following the federal elections in September 2017. But, despite the outcome - a third round of grand coalition under Angela Merkel - the emergence of the AfD as a parliamentary party and as the largest party of opposition places beyond doubt the unsustainability of the status quo. Taking just over a million votes from the CDU/CSU and just over half a million from the SPD, as well as 1.5 million votes from previous abstainers, the AfD was the direct beneficiary of GroKo’s diminishing appeal - which at 53.4 per cent now barely deserves its predicate. The altered party landscape is the predictable culmination of the misfit between the centrist logic of German politics and the conservative groundswell in public opinion, which has been long in germination but was catalysed by the events of 2015-16. Contrary to The Economist’s reassurances, Germany is not just going through a periodic bout of disorientation. Rather, this is a ‘Republic in ferment’.

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