And now, some good news for liberalism.
No, no. Just kidding. This is, in fact, not good news for liberalism, or for the woman seen by some as its protector in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In state elections, her party, CDU, came behind the far-right, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany, or AfD, in her home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
The Sunday contest was viewed by many as a referendum on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policy, and her party suffered a significant defeat on her home turf.
Merkel admitted Monday that decisions on immigration played a role in the result, but insisted that she has made the right ones.
Alternative für Deutschland, or AfD, defeated the Christian Democratic Union—Merkel’s party—in local elections in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, coming in second behind the Social Democratic Party, according to exit polls.
AfD, founded in 2013, won 20.8 percent of the vote, compared to CDU’s 19 percent; both finished behind the Social Democratic Party, which won 30.6 percent. The far-right party’s leader Frauke Petry said AfD’s success was a personal defeat for Merkel and her party, and meant that it is time for Germany to close its borders. Germany, which took in more than 1 million refugees last year, is, per CNN, “the most open country in Europe to asylum seekers.”
AfD was originally anti-euro, but is now anti-immigration and anti-Islam. It turns its attention now to federal elections next year.
Merkel, meanwhile, has been at at the G20 summit holding talks with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and possibly putting off reading an article by German political economist Wolfgang Streeck that says her decision to take in refugees pushed Britons out of the European Union by way of Brexit—which she must now play a key (and potentially politically deleterious) role in navigating.