Merkel Faces Test over Refugee Policy in German Regional Elections

World | March 13, 2016, Sunday // 15:29| Views: | Comments: 2
  • Send to Kindle
Bulgaria: Merkel Faces Test over Refugee Policy in German Regional Elections German Chancellor and CDU leader Angela Merkel speaks at a press conference in Mainz, Germany, January 09, 2016. File photo by EPA/BGNES

Three German states hold elections for regional parliaments on Sunday which are expected to show strong performance of The Alternative for Germany (AFD), a right-wing group opposed to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy on refugees.

The elections - the first since the refugee crisis began – are seen as a direct challenge to Merkel as voters' concerns about the record migrant influx in Germany may boost support for AfD.

The three states are Baden Wurttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate in the west and Saxony-Anhalt in the east. Their combined population is about 17 million, around a fifth of Germany’s population.  

Polls suggest the results will be uncomfortable for both Merkel's centre-right conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and her partners in the national government, the centre-left Social Democrats.

AfD, which has campaigned against Merkel's open-door policy on migrants, is expected to enter all three state parliaments, according to polls conducted earlier this week.

A survey for German broadcaster ZDF has puts the AfD on 18% of the vote in Saxony-Anhalt, 11% in Baden-W?rttemberg, 9% in Rhineland-Palatinate.

More than a million people - mostly Syrians - arrived in Germany last year. Merkel’s open-door policy toward refugees has stirred deep divisions both in German society and the CDU as the Chancellor has rejected imposing a cap on new arrivals, favoring instead a plan to distribute refugees across the 28 EU member states.

A failure to win at least two of the three states would be a major setback for Merkel, who is trying to rally support among European leaders to strike a deal with Turkey to curb the migrant influx, Deutsche Welle has commented.

The AfD has said ahead of the vote that it will seek a ban on minarets and the Muslim call to prayer which is often played through loudspeakers throughout the day, according to Bild newspaper. They also plan to seek a ban on halal slaughter saying that they believe the special religious rules are contrary to the German Animal Protection Act.

World » Be a reporter: Write and send your article
Tags: Germany, regional elections, CDU, AfD, Merkel, migrants, refugees, states
Advertisement All Are Welcome! Join Now!
Please, log in to post a comment.
» To the forumComments (2)
Tania Oz - 13 Mar 2016 // 23:22:04

If the Germans had ANY sense whatsoever, they would give her the flick. Hopefully so. Stick a fork in her, she\'s done.

Bulgaria news (Sofia News Agency - is unique with being a real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Bulgarian news. The editorial staff also publishes a daily online newspaper "Sofia Morning News." (Sofia News Agency - and Sofia Morning News publish the latest economic, political and cultural news that take place in Bulgaria. Foreign media analysis on Bulgaria and World News in Brief are also part of the web site and the online newspaper. News Bulgaria