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Seehofer and Merkel. Wikipedia

AfD shows highest support ever as second biggest party in Germany

The AfD has achieved an absolute high in the polls. A poll published on Friday says Alternative for Germany (AfD) would win 18 percent of the vote if elections were to be held now. That makes them the second-strongest party in the country after the Union.

Published: September 22, 2018, 11:47 am

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    The chancellor’s conservative bloc, according to the new poll, was only supported by 28 percent of respondents who said that they would cast their vote for her alliance.

    The Infratest Dimap polls show that the SPD would only receive 17 percent of the vote. Two weeks ago, the AfD improved by two percentage points compared to a survey two weeks ago, while the SPD lost one percentage point.

    The Union is at its worst score in history having also lost one percentage point. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and its sister party the Christian Social Union (CDU and CSU) is currently at their worst result since the “Deutschlandtrend” poll started in 1997.

    The Greens have improved their score to 15 percent (plus one percentage point) and the FDP to nine percent (plus one percentage point), and the Left Party has remained unchanged at ten percent.

    The latest scores mean that the coalition government of the Union and SPD would only receive 45 percent of the vote – meaning that a grand coalition majority government would not be possible, because the grand coalition of the Union and the SPD would no longer have an absolute majority. A black-green-yellow Jamaican coalition of Union, Greens and FDP, however, would come to 51 percent.

    The “Deutschlandtrend” survey was by done German broadcaster ARD.

    The huge dip in the Union’s popularity comes in the wake of Merkel publicly repeating fake claims by Antifa activists that conservatives had been “hunting down” migrants after the death of a German man at the hand of asylum seekers in Chemnitz.

    Hans-Georg Maaßen, German domestic intelligence boss, was subsequently fired from his job after he called out Merkel on her lies.

    The former spy boss was given another position in the Interior Ministry, but the move has attracted fierce criticism from the media.

    Maaßen had questioned the authenticity of “xenophobic” footage from Chemnitz, saying there was no proof that “hunting down of foreigners” had taken place, contradicting Merkel.

    The case has now grown into a government crisis with Merkel’s contested description of “very clearly revealed hate” expressed by conservatives. Her spokesman referred to the scenes as a Hetzjagd, or hounding of migrants.

    The AfD’s co-leader, Alexander Gauland, also accused Merkel of spreading fake news on Chemnitz.

    Another casualty from the Maaßen scandal engulfing the country has been Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU). Seehofer had been a close ally of Maaßen who will now be appointed as state secretary in the federal ministry of the interior.

    “Interior minister Horst Seehofer values his competence in matters of public security, but Mr Maaßen will not be responsible for the supervision of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in the ministry,” the statement on his appointment read.

    But German media pointed out that the former spy chief has effectively been promoted: as state secretary, he will belong to a pay higher grade.

    Only 28 per cent of respondents said they considered Seehofer as a good Interior Minister, down from 39 percent in April, while some 59 percent of Germans respondents said they believed Seehofer was “a bad choice”.

    At the same time, the support for the 69-year-old Bavarian has also dwindled considerably among Union supporters. Only 31 percent said they were still satisfied with his work, compared to 45 percent in April this year.

    Seehofer’s approval ratings have taken a huge hit in the aftermath of the scandal, just weeks ahead of a Bavarian election in which his party — which has dominated the federal state’s politics since World War II — looks likely to lose its absolute majority.

    Seehofer, however, can still count on the support of the AfD. The poll found that 61 percent of AfD voters were behind him, despite allegations that he had provided the anti-immigrant AfD party with confidential government material.

    For the survey, Infratest Dimap asked voters to give their views as if Bundestag elections were taking place this Sunday.

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