German far right’s breakthrough moment
German politics will be dealt a major blow in Sunday’s election. It will be the first time in the country’s post-war history that an openly nationalist, xenophobic, revisionist and anti-European political force will sit in the national assembly.
Projected to land in the low double digits, the Alternative for Germany’s share of the vote may appear modest compared to the reach of like-minded parties elsewhere in Europe. The fact that the party stands no chance of joining a governing coalition may reassure Germany’s neighbors. But for a majority of Germans who reject extremism, none of this is much consolation.
They sense that the AfD’s surge is more serious than the occasional radical right-wing flare-ups the country has witnessed in the past. They intuit that the result will irreversibly alter the political landscape as they know it. And their anxiety is all too justified.