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German election results unlikely to alter relations with Czech Republic

German election results unlikely to alter relations with Czech Republic

This leaves her main political opponent, Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz, without any serious alternative agenda to offer. He placed the AfD alongside European right-wing groups such as France's Front National, Italy's Northern League and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party.

German federal elections will be held tomorrow. He's a teacher who turned his back on the social democrats.

He said that some of the more recent EU members, in central and eastern Europe, were anxious that France and Germany would leave them in the EU sidelines after the United Kingdom, which used to keep the Franco-German bloc in check, departed the Union.

There are also many pro-Russian voices at both extremes of the spectrum: the far-left Linke party, which has the Soviet-era East German Communist Party in its DNA, and the cultural warriors of the far-right AfD both empathize more with Vladimir Putin's Russia than with the tolerant, pro-European, mainstreamer in the chancellery. This puts the A.F.D. well over the five-per-cent threshold guaranteeing representation in the Bundestag-a risky landmark.

"If the SPD did enter another a coalition with Merkel this year, it would cost us a lot of support which could be really damaging for the next election in 2021", he said. She could have C.D.U./C.S.U. form a coalition with the S.P.D. -a scenario known as a "Black-Red" coalition because of the parties' respective colors. Merkel must therefore seek to renew the current grand coalition with two weakened parties or enter into talks with the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens. This so-called Jamaica coalition is a reference to the black, yellow, and green colours of the parties.

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But the troubling question is, why is the A.F.D., with its ugly, racialized rhetoric, an alternative for anybody?

That is a small number since Germany's uniquely complicated system allows parliament to have between 500 and 700 seats, depending on how the parties fare and the regions involved.

The party arose as a response to Merkel's handling of the Syrian refugee crisis - with a lack of preparedness concerning the influx of 890,000 migrants in 2015 and their assimilation into German society and their adoption of German values. In a year when there was a chance of right-wing populist victories in the Netherlands and a real risk of France (Europe's second-largest economy) tearing up the European Union treaty and blowing up the Eurozone, Germany has threatened no such upsets.

Each voter has two votes, the first of which is for a candidate in his or her constituency, and the second for a state list of candidates put up by a particular party. It was Merkel who stood by the Bush administration's ill-fated foreign policy decisions, who brushed aside the NSA-wiretapping affair under Obama and who found clear but ultimately reconciliatory words after Trump's tirades against her stance on the refugee crisis during the USA election campaigns. Her pronounced social conservatism is on display voting against same-sex marriage as recently as this year, and her declaration of multiculturalism as a failed experiment, coupled with her constant calls for Europe to decrease is social welfare programs has branded her as a conservative.

A government with the Free Democrats aboard might take a tougher stance on efforts to reform the eurozone and bail out strugglers. By most accounts, Chancellor Angela Merkel should cruise to another term in office. Merkel was, as usual, controlled and directed; Schulz's response was, mostly, to defer. "There's enormous uncertainty. I think we're very likely to have a last-minute swing". "And we don't yet have that audience". One woman tells me that "Mrs Merkel is a bit too soft".

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As we walk along the lakeside here, among gulls and swans, Rolf Kronhagel explains why he shifted his allegiance to AfD.

"In a way", he says, "AfD is already sitting at the table of government".

Vimont said: "Germany understands these concerns and is eager to keep the door open as much as possible". And why would that be? The Left party was showing 11 percent support.

"You can see the concrete results of that in Germany's new asylum laws".

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