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AfD party leader Alexander Gauland. Photo supplied
Berlin

AfD smashes poll record to become second largest party

It is a survey that illustrates a dramatic political development: The AfD, in a recent poll, is running head to head with the second largest party in Germany, the SPD.

Published: July 9, 2018, 10:46 am

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    For the survey 1894 representative selected persons were asked: “Which party would you vote for if next Sunday were federal elections?”

    In their “Sunday trend” carried out by the polling institute Emnid for the German tabloid Bild newspaper, both parties scored 17 percent.

    For the AfD, this is a record, irrespective of receiving the same approval rating as the Social Democrats.

    The survey acts a warning to the ruling coalition, known as GroKo: The “Sunday Trend” shows that the SPD lost 2 percentage points compared to the previous week – as did the Union of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    The CDU and CSU together only scored 30 percent of possible votes, and overall, the grand coalition has only a 47 percent approval rating.

    It means that only the AfD could profit from the losses of the Union and the SPD, as no other parties have gained either. The Greens, as in the previous week, are still on 12 percent, while the Left and the SPD also remain stable at 9 percent each.

    The growing popularity of Germany’s opposition party come in the wake of their human trafficking charges filed against several German migrant aid organizations. The AfD is accusing the groups of facilitating illegal immigration from Africa to Europe.

    The party says its lawsuit is based on a German statute that makes it a crime to “aid or assist in illegal immigration repeatedly on behalf of numerous foreigners, or for profit”.

    According to the AfD, they use their human-trafficking activity to ask for donations, while the groups are violating German law.

    The groups targeted in the suit — SOS Mediterranee, Sea-Watch, Doctors without Borders Germany, Save The Children Germany, Jugend Rettet, Mission Lifeline and Sea-Eye — pick up migrants off the coast of Libya and bring them across the Mediterranean.

    “These long overdue steps send a clear signal to all the illegal people-smugglers active in the Mediterranean, and to the world: These NGOs are human traffickers and radical leftist No Borders activists, not humanitarian life-savers,” AfD spokesman Petr Bystron said in a statement. “They need to be punished, not succored and supported,” Bystron added.

    The backlash that has contributed to the AfD’s rise has forced Merkel to look tougher on illegal immigration and introduce stricter asylum policies. Following difficult negotiations within Merkel’s governing coalition, Berlin said on Tuesday it will open “transit centers” for migrants.

    But the German political establishment and its media allies continue to support high levels of immigration for ideological reasons, the AfD says.

    “It is time to finally call a spade a spade and a crime a crime,” Bystron said. “Many other European countries have understood this, and closed their borders to mass illegal immigration.

    “It is only the media and politicians who continue to agitate for illegal mass migration against all reason and the interests of their own people,” he added.

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