Friday March 11, 2016
The final results of the local elections in the central German state of Hesse last Sunday were a cold shower for the ruling coalition. The new opposition party Alternative for Germany (AfD) won seats in every municipal council in that state, receiving an unprecedented 16.2% of the vote in Hesse’s capital of Wiesbaden. They even pulled in approximately 12% in cosmopolitan Frankfurt am Main – the largest city in Hesse, where voter turnout was a record low (37.3%).
All in all, the AfD picked up more than twice (!) as many votes in Hesse as had been predicted. This success will likely be repeated during the state parliament elections in Baden-Württemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz, and Saxony-Anhalt on March 13.
Such a showing is undoubtedly the direct and logical outcome of the chancellor’s policy on migrants, which is viewed by many Germans as a betrayal of their national interests. Given that Hesse is one of the most prosperous states in Germany, the March voting patterns showed a drastic shift in electoral preferences. The one and a half million socially disruptive Middle Eastern asylum seekers currently on German territory, in addition to the growing indignation of ordinary burghers over these unwanted guests, are certainly burdens for which Merkel must accept full electoral responsibility.