Germany’s far-right party will make the Bundestag much noisier

Aged but unmellowed

A CHEER goes up as Jens Maier takes the podium at a packed sports club in Dresden. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) candidate for the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, rails against Angela Merkel’s refugee policies: “Who has to live with these ‘new citizens’? Whose children have to go to school with their children? Who produces the wealth they feed off?” Germany, he concludes, needs MPs “imbued with a sense of responsibility towards their own people” who can “show up the incompetent establishment”.

At the federal election in 2013 the just-founded AfD narrowly missed the 5% vote share required to make it into the Bundestag. Since then it has ditched free-market Euroscepticism for anti-Islam nationalism as its guiding ideology. Though it has fallen back from highs of around 15% in polls following the refugee crisis, its strategy of polarisation and provocation has allowed it to reach popularity ratings of around 9% today. If that holds,…

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