Open Europe Blog

Germany’s new anti-euro Alternative für Deutschland party is still in its infancy but it has already generated huge interest at home and abroad. While we are not expecting it to cross the 5% threshold in September’s federal elections – not even close – with polls between the CDU/CSU and FDP vs the SPD and Greens as tight as they are (see here for latest figures), AfD’s electoral result could have a huge bearing on the nature of any coalition government that emerges from the elections, a point also made by Thorsten Junghold in today’s Welt. He cites the recent regional election in Lower Saxony, where the CDU incumbent David McAllister came up short by 335 votes while the Free Voters (a separate euro-critical movement) scored 39,000.

As such the AfD could mirror the UKIP factor in the UK (though note that AfD is a very different beast to UKIP), where a party unlikely to enter parliament can still have a decisive effect on the election by tipping vote shares one way or another (ironic given the different voting systems in both countries), and consequently being able to enjoy a disproportionate impact on the national debate and media agenda.  For this reason it is very interesting to see where AfD’s votes could come from – and this weekend saw the first (to our knowledge) breakdown of AfD’s potential support measured at 24% of all voters:

Source: Infratest dipmap for Die Welt

So clearly the biggest share of AfD’s potential support comes from the economically liberal FDP (46%) followed by the ‘old left’ and former communist Die Linke (29%), the SPD (21%), Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU (19%) and finally the Greens (14%).

This is interesting because it shows that despite AfD’s ideological groundings and personnel make-up being more on the centre-right it could attract voters from all parties (also like UKIP). The strong support from Die Linke voters could be explained by the fact that the party has strongly campaigned against the eurozone bailouts, which AfD also opposes (albeit from a different ideological perspective), or even more simply purely as an alternative protest party now that the pirate party appears to have run out of steam.

Definitely a phenomenon we will be keeping a close eye on, meanwhile its worth reading the Sunday Telegraph‘s interview with party leader Bernd Lucke.

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