AfD success prompted by protest sentiments across Germany
Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon the success of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union in the parliamentary elections, which were held on September 24. The bloc led by Merkel gained about 33% of the votes. But for the first time in its history, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) also made its way into the national parliament. It became third, gaining around 13 percent of votes.
The deputy head of the Center for German Studies at the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterina Timoshenkova, explains the success of the Alternative for Germany with the protest mood of German voters. "We should pay attention to the fact that the AfD is the second power in the east of the country, which indicates that the eastern Germans feel not integrated enough and offended. Germany's party-political system develops in different ways in the East and the West of the country. The elections confirmed this trend. It is unpleasant that so many voters have stopped to support the people's parties. According to the results of opinion polls, 60% of voters out of those voted for the Alternative for Germany voted not out of conviction, but in protest. This explains its popularity among the Left, the CDU and the Social Democrats".
Meanwhile, according to Timoshenkova, a positive moment can be seen in the fact that the Alternative for Germany scored only 13%: "However, this is the red rag that can make the recognized parties to consider the interests of citizens, in particular, in matters relating to refugees. This is a certain boundary for Germany that can't be crossed. It is necessary to pay attention to the migration issue and find a solution to it. Such a consensus is possible, because the political fate of all parties depends on it. "
Assessing Angela Merkel's prospects as Chancellor, Ekaterina Timoshenkova said: "I don't know whether she will be able to manage the coalition and the opposition for four years. Four terms is very difficult, there is always certain decision fatigue. Taking into account the fact that she made a mistake in 2015, in my opinion, by accepting a huge uncontrolled number of migrants, there is fatigue of both the population and her own party. There is a chance that another leader will appear who can present himself or herself better".