Minority Germans raise alarm after far-right political scandal
A demonstrator holds a banner reading ‘#neveragain’ during a protest outside the Free Democratic Party headquarters in Berlin, Germany [Felipe Trueba/EPA-EFE]
Berlin, Germany – German minority communities living in the eastern state of Thuringia have raised the alarm after a political storm that saw an anti-immigrant far-right party gain a stronger footing in regional politics.
In last Wednesday’s local elections, politicians from the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) worked with the nationalist Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) to overthrow popular incumbent Bodo Ramelow, of the socialist party Die Linke.
The FDP’s candidate, Thomas Kemmerich, won by a single vote to become state premier.
Merkel condemned the debacle, saying the election was “unforgivable”.
After winning, as criticism mounted, Kemmerich resigned to “remove the stain of the AfD’s support for the office of the premiership”.
The development broke a long-standing position within German politics in which mainstream parties refused to collaborate with the populist AfD party, which peddles an anti-immigrant, anti-European Union agenda.
The shift sent shockwaves across the country’s political landscape, prompting calls by Chancellor Merkel for fresh elections, and sparked anti-fascist protests from Thuringia to Berlin and Frankfurt.