Germany’s vice chancellor called on Sunday for the surging Eurosceptic political party – Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) – to be put under observation by the government agency that tracks extremists.
Sigmar Gabriel made his announcement to the Bild newspaper on Sunday, claiming that after AfD’s leader suggested police be allowed to shoot refugees trying to enter the country, he felt it necessary for the country’s “democratic order”.
The news has sent shockwaves through German politics, perhaps due to perceived similarities to the 1933 Enabling Act, which abolished all political parties in Germany except the Nazi Party. It is also broadly reflective of attempts made by dictators across the Middle East and North Africa – a region which Chancellor Angela Merkel has become increasingly sympathetic towards in recent months.
Mr. Gabriel told Bild: “there is massive doubt that (the Alternative for Germany party) stand by the free democratic order of the republic.”
Frauke Petry, the head of AfD, told the Mannheimer Morgen daily on Saturday that a border police officer “must stop illegal border crossings, and also make use of his firearm if necessary.” Pushed by the newspaper for more, she continued that “no policeman wants to fire on a refugee and I don’t want that either. But the last resort includes the use of armed force.”
Recently, AfD has been climbing steadily in the polls, reaching 13 per cent to the ruling coalition’s 32 per cent. While not an immediate governing threat, these numbers could give AfD around 70 seats in Germany’s Bundestag (parliament) at Federal Elections in May due to the mixed member proportional representation system.
If there were the same system in Britain, it would have left UKIP with around 80 seats at the last general election – a threat that the establishment could never allow, hence the two-party fealty to Britain’s First Past the Post system.
But Mrs. Merkel’s CDU/CSU coalition doesn’t have this luxury, and a crackdown on AfD is likely as a result.
Recently, constitutional law experts in Germany have claimed that Mrs. Merkel’s open borders policy actually runs contrary to the constitution of Germany, leading anti-Islamisation groups like PEGIDA, and indeed supporters of AfD, to quote Article 20, section 4 of the document, which states: “All Germans shall have the right to resist any person seeking to abolish this constitutional order, if no other remedy is available”.
Germany has so far seen an influx of over 1.1 million migrants since January 1st 2015. The New Year’s sex attacks in Cologne have precipitated a downward slide in the polls for Angela Merkel’s government. Recently, a leading psychoanalyst in the country described her behaviour as “completely irrational” and said that her migrant policy is evidence of a potential “mental breakdown” that endangers society.
AP contributed to this report