The fact that Angela Merkel was elected to her fourth term as Chancellor is not the big news in European politics. It was that her coalition partner; the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) won only 20% of the vote. Her own party the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won only 26% of the vote. This was the parties’ worst showing since the Second World War.
The results of the German elections showed that nationalism is alive and well in Europe. The far- right group Alternative für Deutschland won 12.6% of the vote; much higher than expected. For the first time in 50 years, a far- right party won seats in the German Parliament.
The signs are very clear. With victories in Hungary and Poland and strong showings in France and the Netherlands, nationalism is alive and doing well in Europe. The anti- immigration rhetoric which was associated with the new political order in the United Kingdom and the United States has resonated in Europe.
Chancellor Merkel saw the challenges that lay ahead when partial results showed the AfD winning 13.5% of the total votes cast. She immediately vowed to address the concerns of those who supported the AfD’s stand on anti- Muslim and anti- immigration issues.
The alarming results prompted SPD leader Martin Schultz to forego resuming the alliance with Chancellor Merkel who appears set to re-form a Coalition with the liberal Free Democratic Party or FDP and for the first time the Greens. The FDP garnered 10.5% of the vote while the Greens got 9.5%.
Without that coalition in place, Merkel will have to face the reality of the AfD becoming the official opposition party in the Bundestag. It would seem the SPD prefers to be the in the opposition role rather than surrender its perks and prestige to the AfD.
For supporters of globalism, the victories of Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron do not mean the world is back on the course it set 60 years ago. Voters are no longer easily swayed by political promises and want results.
Already Macron’s popularity has taken a hit. His move to implement a series of budget cuts on a number of sectors has caused his popularity to drop by 10%; the largest decline for a new President in the last 22 years. Macron stated he wanted to slash defense spending by $969 Million.
If Merkel’s administration wavers, it may open up opportunities for the far-right nationalists to assume the seat of power at the next election.