Migrant Policy
A Warning Sign for Merkel?

A new poll is sending tremors through Germany’s political establishment ahead of this weekend’s local elections: the anti-immigrant Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD) has overtaken Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Reuters:

The poll, conducted by the Insa Institute for the monthly Cicero, forecast the AfD would win 23 percent of the vote in Sunday’s state election, compared to 20 percent for the CDU, which would mark a huge setback for Merkel in her home state.

“It would be a complete meltdown for the Christian Democratic Union if a new party was able to establish itself on a statewide level to the right of the Union, and actually exceed its size,” Cicero wrote on its website. […]

Cicero’s poll showed the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD), part of Merkel’s ruling coalition in Berlin, led in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with 28 percent of the vote. The SPD heads the state’s current governing coalition.

The latest polling results would allow the current SPD-CDU coalition government to continue to govern the northeastern state, with a combined 48 percent of the projected vote.

It could also enable a governing combination of the leftist Linke party, which is projected to get 15 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election, together with the SPD and the Green party, which is projected to get 6 percent of the vote.

Merkel has been steadfastly clinging to her open-doors migrant policy, but her popularity has been flagging. And the griping within her governing coalition has gotten louder and more insistent, especially from the Bavarian sister-party, the CSU. If AfD manages these kinds of numbers in Sunday’s election, Germany-watchers are expecting Merkel to start listening to her critics more, and modulating her approach in earnest ahead of next year’s federal elections.

Stay tuned.

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