Comparing the platforms of the six parties competing in the German election reveals two divides:
The first is between the traditional left and right on spending and taxes. The Social Democrats, Greens and far-left Die Linke want higher taxes on the wealthy to fund public investment. The Christian Democrats, liberal Free Democrats and nativist Alternative argue for tax cuts.
The second divide is between the four mainstream parties and the extremes on defense and foreign policy. The Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats all support closer European integration and NATO. The Alternative wants out of the euro. Die Linke would swap NATO for a security pact with Russia.
Two members of the Alternative für Deutschland party have been asked to leave the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament.
A spokesman for the bloc said Beatrix von Storch and Marcus Pretzell, the German party’s two remaining members in the Strasbourg-based legislature, would be given a month to resign.
Von Storch alleged a deal between British and German leaders David Cameron and Angela Merkel. The former’s Conservative Party is the largest in the ECR; the latter is contesting state elections this weekend in which the Alternative is expected to do well. How such a conspiracy would help Merkel’s Christian Democrats, Von Storch did not say, though.
Bernd Lucke, the former leader of the Alternative für Deutschland, started a new Euroskeptic party this weekend, splitting a movement that could otherwise have posed a threat to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.
The new party, called Alliance for Progress and Renewal, reflects Lucke’s liberal economic policy and his focus on taking Germany out of the euro.
The economics professor resigned earlier this month from the party he founded in 2013 after losing a leadership election to the more right-wing Frauke Petry. She represents a conservative, nationalist platform and wants to challenge the ruling Christian Democrats from the right.
Behind a personal power struggle in Germany’s Euroskeptic party lurks the bigger question of what sort of a party it wants to be.
The conflict burst into the open this weekend when a group of deputy leaders attacked founder Bernd Lucke for his “despot-like style of leadership.” They specifically criticized his attempt to take sole control of the party.
Lucke, an economist, helped establish the Alternative für Deutschland in 2013. The name was chosen in reference to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s insistence that there was “no alternative” to bailing out Greece and other countries in the periphery of the eurozone if Germany wanted to keep the single currency. Read more “Right-Wing Politics Divide German Euroskeptics”
Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats seem to underestimate the political challenge the Euroskeptic Alternative für Deutschland party poses to them. This is not a fringe movement, as many in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party would like to believe. Rather, the Alternative threatens their monopoly on the political right.
Merkel’s hawkish finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble — whose hardline positions on the euro are really closer to the Alternative‘s than those of ardent European federalists — said the Euroskeptic party was a “disgrace for Germany” on Thursday. Merkel herself has altogether ignored the new party while other conservatives have been as dismissive as Schäuble.