Sep 1, 2019

German far-right party posts best-ever results in key state elections

Joerg Meuthen (R), leader of AfD, with Jörg Urban (C), AfD's main candidate, and Beatrix von Storch (L), parliamentarian of AfD, at an election night party in Saxony on Sept. 1. Photo: Carsten Koall/Getty Images

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) came up short of victory in eastern state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg on Sunday, but still finished with its highest vote share ever, Politico reports.

Why it matters: The anti-immigrant, nationalist AfD is one of several far-right parties across Europe that have made significant gains at the expense of the political establishment, including in May's European Parliament elections. Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) remained the strongest party in Saxony with about 32%, while the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) held onto first place in Brandenburg with 27.2%, according to initial results.

  • Worth noting: The results are being viewed as a victory for AfD, but all parties have sworn not to work with the far right in a coalition government. That could be a difficult promise to keep, however, with vote share dispersed across a number of smaller parties.

The big picture: The state elections are being viewed as a crucial test for Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK), the hand-picked successor to Merkel. A series of missteps have Germans — including some in AKK's own party — questioning her leadership. Her CDU has become especially vulnerable with AfD chipping away at its popularity in recent elections.

Saxony result projections
  • CDU: 32.3% (-7.2% from 2014)
  • AfD: 27.8% (+18.1%)
  • The Left: 10.3% (-8.6%)
  • Greens: 8.6% (+2.9%)
  • SPD: 7.6% (-4.8%)
  • Free Democratic Party: 4.8% (+1%)
Brandenburg result projections
  • SPD: 27% (-4.9% from 2014)
  • AfD: 23.8% (+7.3%)
  • CDU: 15.5% (-7.3%)
  • The Left: 10.4% (-8%)
  • Greens: 10.2% (+4.3%)
  • Free Democratic Party: 4.7% (+3.2%)

Go deeper: More early election analysis from Politico

Go deeper

State elections in Germany offer limited relief for Berlin

Brandeburg State Secretary for the Interior and Local Government Katrin Lange (SPD) and CDU Brandenburg State Chairman Ingo Senftleben leave exploratory coalition talks. Photo: Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Images

The results of two state elections in the former East Germany on Sunday cast a troublesome picture for the region — confirming fatigue with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Grand Coalition government in Berlin and signaling further political fragmentation.

The big picture: Both major parties — the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) — lost voters but managed to hold the line against the far-right, xenophobic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. They will now seek to form a majority and build a coalition with parties other than the AfD, making the right-wing populists the largest opposition party in Brandenburg and Saxony.

Go deeperArrowSep 5, 2019

Austria's youngest chancellor wins election months after far-right scandal

Sebastian Kurz. Photo: Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The center-right Austrian People's Party appears to have won the country's snap election on Sunday after claiming 37% of the vote, according to Politico Europe.

Why it matters: Sebastian Kurz, the head of the Austrian People's Party and the country's youngest-ever chancellor, is expected to win back his job after a cash-for-contracts scandal crippled his government 4 months ago.

Go deeperArrowSep 29, 2019

Israeli election: Netanyahu says he won't concede, blames media bias

Netanyahu addresses supporters on election night. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he'll still fight to keep power despite exit polls from today's elections showing his Likud party trailing the center-left Blue and White party and his right-wing bloc falling short of a majority.

What he's saying: Netanyahu accused the media of biased coverage during the campaign and insisted that after waiting for the final results, he'd attempt to form a governing coalition. Netanyahu also said Israel needs a Zionist government committed to Israel's identity as a Jewish state, adding: "No government can be based on support from Arab parties." Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister, also stressed that he's the man to deal with President Trump's peace plan and the Iranian nuclear threat.

Go deeper: Early election results.

Keep ReadingArrowSep 18, 2019