Nationalist party in Germany set to make big gains in election

The right-wing nationalist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is set to enter the German parliament for the first time thanks to the reaction to Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policies.

The election will be held this Sunday, where Merkel's SPD coalition of conservatives and Social Democrats are expected to win easily, giving Merkel a fourth term.  The socialists, led by Martin Schultz, have been dropping like a stone in the polls, largely because they are in favor of letting in even more refugees than Merkel.

Seeing an opening, AfD has countered with a strong nationalist campaign that has resonated with German voters.  They would likely be in an even stronger position without the hysterical charges by the media and other parties that they are Nazis.


Leading AfD candidate Alexander Gauland denies they are Nazis, saying others only use the term because of the party's popularity. It has won support with calls for Germany to shut its borders immediately, introduce a minimum quota for deportations and stop refugees bringing their families here.

"We're gradually becoming foreigners in our own country," Gauland told an election rally in the Polish border city of Frankfurt an der Oder.

A song with the lyrics "we'll bring happiness back to your homeland" blared out of a blue campaign bus and the 76-year-old lawyer said Germany belonged to the Germans, Islam had no place here and the migrant influx would make everyone worse off.

Gauland provoked outrage for saying at another event that Germans should no longer be reproached with the Nazi past and they should take pride in what their soldiers achieved during the World Wars.

The AfD could end up as the biggest opposition force in the national assembly if there is a re-run of the current coalition of Merkel's conservatives and Social Democrats (SPD) - one of the most likely scenarios.

That would mean it would chair the powerful budget committee and open the general debate during budget consultations, giving prominence to its alternatives to government policies.

Georg Pazderski, a member of the AfD's executive board, told Reuters his party would use parliamentary speeches to draw attention to the cost of the migrant crisis, troubles in the euro zone - which the AfD wants Germany to leave - and problems related to the European Union.

Gauland said the AfD would call for a committee to investigate the chancellor after entering parliament: "We want Ms Merkel's policy of bringing 1 million people into this country to be investigated and we want her to be severely punished for that."

It has been a given in German politics since the end of World War II that the taint of Nazism was on not only political leaders, but the entire German military.  Is it time to recognize that many German soldiers were not Nazis and were forced to fight for Hitler?  This would be an attack on the concept of "collective responsibility" that has dominated German politics to the point that it was a sacrilege for Gualand to state otherwise.

Germany is not ready to put the past behind itself in that sense.  And Gualand made a political blunder by making that statement.  But "Germany for Germans" is an effective theme for a campaign, which is why AfD will probably shock the world and gain more support than expected.

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