Two leading businessmen in Germany have now endorsed the Alternative For Germany (AfD), a radical party that wants Germany to leave the Euro currency altogether. The businessmen in question will also donate money to the party, according to Open Europe:
FAZ reports that…Heinrich Weiss, CEO of the SMS-Group – a global leader in plant and machinery construction – and former President of the German Federation of Industry, has officially shifted his endorsement from Angela Merkel’s CDU party to AfD while Hans Wall founder of Wall AG has joined the party, arguing that in terms of EU policy, “Germany should see Great Britain as an example to follow”.
This is another step toward political legitimacy for the AfD, which remains in many ways a marginal party. It has a long way to go if it wants to wield serious power in Germany—it isn’t even as great a force as UKIP is in England, for example. The latest Economist has a piece on Merkel’s leadership that describes the obstacles to further AfD growth. Merkel remains popular, with 79 percent of respondents to a recent poll backing her continued performance in office. The Economist believes she has yet to use this clout to do anything very impressive for her country, but it is a roadblock for the AfD, even if several more businessmen defect.Still, this opposition party continues to grow, not only picking up new support from wealthy Germans, but also winning some regional elections. It would be easy to write off the AfD as too marginal to take a bite out of Merkel’s huge approval ratings, but that kind of complacency often works out poorly for leaders who fall into it.