The Washington Post has published an article on the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, implicitly linking it with the country’s Nazi past.
BERLIN — In a new German political ad, a young woman in a dimly lighted underground crossing gazes directly into the camera. She flashes a concerned look, then references the series of sexual assaults in the city of Cologne allegedly committed by migrants on New Year’s Eve.
“I want to feel carefree and safe when I go out,” the woman says in the spot. Afterward, a voice demands the deportation of criminal migrants .
Sponsored by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party ahead of key local elections this Sunday, the ad is heralding the rise of a new brand of right-wing populism in this nation still haunted by its Nazi past.
Polling as high as 18 percent in one of the three states where voters are heading to the ballot box this weekend, the three-year-old AfD is catching on as never before. It has done that in part by turning Sunday’s vote into a referendum on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy for asylum seekers.
After largely wallowing on the fringes of German politics, the party could leverage a strong showing this weekend, emerging as a significant new political force here — this despite harsh statements by its leaders deemed outrageous by German political elites and seen by some observers as downright Donald Trumpesque.
In recent weeks, the AfD’s chairwoman, Frauke Petry, went as far as openly suggesting that police officers could, as a last resort, open fire on asylum seekers trying to cross German borders. Later, a senior AfD politician, Beatrix von Storch, seemed to suggest that police could even fire upon women and children illegally crossing the border.
Von Storch later backtracked. But this is still strong stuff in a country that, given its past, had largely resisted the trend toward extremist politics that is sweeping both sides of the Atlantic. Right-wing parties with authoritarian bents now hold sway in Hungary and Poland. And in recent elections in Slovakia, a group of black-clad, storm-trooping, right-wing militants entered the national parliament.
Read more at the Washington Post.