Five million voters turned their backs on the governing parties, and 1.5 million of them voted for the AfD.
Berlin: Chancellor Angela Merkel got down to work Tuesday in the fractured political landscape left by Germany’s “earthquake” election, seeking a ruling majority to help neutralise a newly empowered hard right.
Ms Merkel was to hold meetings at the Bundestag lower house, where her conservative CDU/CSU group saw its number of seats axed to 246 from 309 previously following its worst poll showing in seven decades. Joining her at the glass-domed Reichstag parliament building for the first time were the 93 deputies of the Alternative for Germany, a party branded far-right by many German media outlets and officials.
“The language of the campaign is different than the one in parliament,” one of the party’s leading members, said Alexander Gauland. “We know that we have a big responsibility in parliament, also to our voters.”
Mr Gauland, a CDU defector, had sparked outrage in the run-up to the election for incendiary comments, including urging Germans to be “proud” of their WWII veterans and calling for a government official who is of Turkish origin to be “dumped in Anatolia”.
The AfD poached support from both mainstream camps, the conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in the “grand coalition” that has led Germany for eight of Merkel’s 12 years in power. Five million voters turned their backs on the governing parties, and 1.5 million of them voted for the AfD. Most of those voters pointed to anger over Ms Merkel’s border policy,