World View: Anti-Immigrant Party in Germany Hands Angela Merkel a Stinging Defeat

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This morning’s key headlines from

  • Migrants from Libya to Italy surge in the Mediterranean
  • Anti-immigrant party in Germany hands Angela Merkel a stinging defeat

Migrants from Libya to Italy surge in the Mediterranean

Rescuing an overcrowded migrant boat off the Libyan coast (Reuters)
Rescuing an overcrowded migrant boat off the Libyan coast (Reuters)

Italy’s coast guard rescued nearly 10,000 migrants in just two days, Monday and Tuesday of last week, as the number of migrants risking the dangerous trip is surging in the mild weather.

The migrants are believed to be mostly from Somalia and Eritrea. More than 100,000 migrants have made the journey so far in 2016, and 3,000 are estimated to have died.

The deaths are caused by increasingly dangerous practices by people smugglers. Rubber dinghies are overfilled with migrants to dangerous levels. The smugglers provide just enough gas and food to allow the boat to reach international waters in the Mediterranean, where they can only wait to be rescued by the Italian coast guard before the boat sinks. It’s an unbelievably cynical situation. Deutsche-Welle and Australian Broadcasting and Deutsche-Welle

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Anti-immigrant party in Germany hands Angela Merkel a stinging defeat

Three years after being founded on an anti-euro ticket in 2013, the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party has scored its fourth significant regional victory this year, by getting 21% of the vote in an important regional election in the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania in the former East Germany. AfD has gotten 15.1%, 24.3% and 12.6% of votes in other regional elections this year.

What makes Sunday’s vote so significant is that it occurred in the home district of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, and her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party received only 19%, putting it in third place, not only behind AfD, but also behind the center-left Social Democrat Party (SPD), which came in first with 30.5% of the vote.

There’s little doubt of the reason behind Merkel’s stinging defeat. There was only one major issue in the election campaign, immigration. It was a year ago that Merkel invited Syrian refugees to come to Germany with the slogan “Wir schaffen es” (“We can do it”). However, Germany has taken in 1.1 million refugees in the last year, and Merkel is being held responsible for any problems that have arisen, including allegations of rape. ( “7-Jan-16 World View — German ‘Code of Conduct’ for women shows pendulum swing on gender issues”)

The AfD party, founded in 2013, has moved on from its original anti-euro stance to an anti-immigrant stance, though this has not been without problems, as there was a split in 2015 when one of the leaders quit the party, saying that was becoming increasingly xenophobic. However, as I’ve written many times, this is consistent with the rest of the world, as countries around the world become increasingly xenophobic and nationalistic in this generational Crisis era. BBC and Deutsche-Welle and Guardian (London)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Italy, Libya, Somalia, Eritrea, Germany, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Alternative für Deutschland, AfD, Christian Democratic Union, CDU, Social Democrat Party, SPD
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