Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merkel electoral crisis as German far-right AfD party surges in poll after Berlin attacks

GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing an electoral backlash as her party loses support following the terror attack in Berlin this week.Approval for the three-year-old Alternative for Germany (AfD) has increased after 12 people were killed and 48 seriously injured on Monday evening. Anis Amri, who was killed on Friday in Milan, is suspected of carrying out the attack on a Berlin Christmas market. Now the far right group is set to make significant gains in next year's election after tripling its support.Founded in April 2013, the party won 4.7 per cent of the votes in the 2013 federal election, narrowly missing the five per cent electoral threshold to sit in the Bundestag. However in a poll published following the Christmas Market killings at the Breitscheidplatz, the AfD has surged to 15.5 per cent of the vote while Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrats have dropped to 31.5 per cent.The AfD was damning in its criticism of Merkel following the Berlin attacks and the police handling of the case after convicted criminal and failed asylum seeker Amri is believed to have crashed a truck into the venue. Now according to German newspaper Bild, the AfD has gained unprecedented ground leaving potential consequences for the Germany Chancellor as she attempts to run for a fourth term in office. Senior AfD member Marcus Pretzell tweeted Monday evening: “When will the German state of law strike back? When will this cursed hypocrisy finally stop? These are Merkel’s dead!”Meanwhile Beatrix von Storch, a MEP and vice-chair of the AfD, accused Mrs Merkel of endangering German citizens and being personally responsible for the Berlin terror attack. "It is not possible to let in so many refugees and as far as we know the terrorist was one of them," she told the World at One. "We always said the risk is rising and we cannot handle the risk anymore and this is why we say we think the policy of Angela Merkel and the way she is addressing the migrant crisis is responsible for what has happened. "We have to look after our security and for the needs of our people."We will not be able to help everyone in need by taking them in."This is not possible just by the numbers. "We have to take our money and help in the countries where people come from." The date of next year's German federal elections has still to be announced. German law requires that the next election should take place on a Sunday between 46–48 months after the assembly's first sitting. The earliest date they can be held is 27 August 2017 while the latest is 22 October 2017.

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