The anti-mass immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party looks set to become the kingmaker in at least one German state after next month’s local elections.
A poll for broadcaster SWR now puts the insurgent party in third place in Rhineland-Palatinate, ahead of the Greens who form part of the state’s governing coalition.
The state is currently controlled by a left-wing coalition of Social Democrats and Greens, but if the figures from this poll are born out next month, they look set to lose their majority. Meanwhile, the Christian Democrats would become the largest party, but without the support of AfD they would be unlikely to form a government.
In fact, without the support of AfD, no combination of parties would likely be able to govern the state, unless the two main establishment parties are so scared of the anti-mass immigration party that they agree to form a “Grand Coalition” to freeze it out of power.
AfD’s growing support comes as Germany tries to deal with an ongoing migrant crisis that saw well over a million people enter the country last year.
Figures released earlier this week showed that despite the huge influx, authorities in Rhineland-Palatinate deported just 482 failed asylum seekers last year, compared to over 4,000 removed from states such as Bavaria and neighbouring North Rhine-Westphalia.
Rhineland-Palatinate is one of three states to go the polls next month. AfD are also scoring high in Baden-Württemberg, where they are set to enter parliament for the first time with 11 per cent of the vote.
In Saxony-Anhalt, the party is doing even better with 15 per cent, possibly putting it in a kingmaking position there.
The success of the insurgent party has caused panic in Germany’s political and media establishment, with newspapers publishing endless negative headlines and politicians trying to keep it out of mainstream political debate.
Breitbart London reported how last month German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel even called for it to be monitored by the Government agency that tracks extremists.
The party’s call for stronger border control led Mr Gabriel to say: “There is massive doubt that [AfD] stand by the free democratic order of the republic.”