In 2013, German journalist and politician Alexander Eberhardt Gauland founded the right-wing populist group Electoral Alternative 2013 (German: Wahlalternative 2013) in response to the European debt crisis. The group published a manifesto stating that the Eurozone, the pan-European currency adopted by a sizeable amount of European countries, was an “unsustainable” system of currency and that it brought nothing but poverty to the European people. The group soon renamed itself the Alternative for Germany (AfG) and established itself as a mainstream political party in April 2013, holding its first convention in Berlin.
On 22 September 2013, the AfD won only 4.7% of the votes in the 2013 federal election, barely failing to enter the Bundestag, the federal parliamentary body in Germany (political platforms must surpass a five percent electoral threshold to earn a seat in the German Bundestag). In the 2016 Saxony-Anhalt election, however, the AdF enjoyed second place in the Landtag, receiving over 24% of the vote, and in the 2016 Berlin state election, they achieved over 14% of the national vote, making them the fifth largest political party in Germany.
According to EuroWars, the party is winning hearts with the slogan of “Burkas: we’d prefer bikinis,” and demands the immediate closure of borders, to “stop what it sees as uncontrolled mass immigration.” It is estimated that the party’s “voters fall into two categories… on the one hand, a mostly male lower-middle-class on a below average income; and on the other, well-educated high earners.”
There is much talk that this party will become the third largest party in Germany, third only to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party, headed by politician Martin Schulz. As a party dedicated towards criticizing Merkel’s immigration policies, it is an enormous step towards a massive socio-political shift in favor of a more conservative immigration policy.
Will the Alternative for Germany party succeed in their mission to make Germany great again? Or will their purpose falter and wither like a broken fever? Only time will tell.