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Merkel’s necklace worries Germans more than Syria, NSA

Ahead of the parliamentary vote, Germans seem to be totally uninterested in major issues, like the NSA scandal or war in Syria, and talk more about things like Angela Merkel’s necklace, says Christian Schmidt from the anti-euro party.

That is baffling everybody around,” none of important issues have surfaced during the pre-election campaign, Dr. Christian Schmidt, deputy head of the Berlin branch of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, told RT.

As Germany's political heavyweights make their final pitch for seats in Parliament, the new party that seeks to scrap the euro is making serious political inroads. Barely half a year since its creation, it is already close to making it into the Bundestag. Recent polls suggest that the AfD could win 5 percent of the votes in Sunday's election, which is just enough to get in.

RT:You're looking at a major success for a party that has just been founded. Do you see this as a sign of growing frustration with mainstream political forces in Germany?

Christian Schmidt: I believe that the fact that the euro is not working the way it was supposed to from the beginning is finally making headway with some of the voters who look beyond today’s difficulties and look into the long term where Germany at one point will have one way or the other to pay the bill for all the systems that have been set – one measure after the other – to bailout Greece and other countries. There is a rising discontent that this very subject – the euro – has so far been swept under the carpet by the main parties.

RT:Angela Merkel looks set to become Chancellor for the third time. Surely that shows that Germans are actually happy with the way the country is going?

CS: Well, it’s basically clear that Ms Merkel will become the next Chancellor. Whether it will be in the current coalition with the Free Democrats or else if they won’t master the 51 percent they need in the parliament and they would go with the grand coalition with the Social-Democrats. But who knows? Everything is open at this point. Possibly, Merkel would also tend to go with the Free Democrats again and even consider going into a coalition with others in case she doesn’t get an agreement with the Social Democrats.

Supporters of German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend an election campaign event of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party on September 21, 2013 in Stralsund, eastern Germany, a day before the German general elections. (AFP Photo / John Macdougall)

RT:It has recently emerged that Greece is going to need a third bailout.  Are you happy with Germany throwing more money at this problem?

CS: This particular problem was also swept under the carpet and only through the [mistake] of the Federal Minister of Finance a couple of weeks ago did that third measure resurface in the national politics. This did help us to gain more votes. The third rescue effort for Greece will possibly come two days after the election is over. So we are all waiting for this even though the ruling coalition is sweeping it under the carpet. 

RT:This election has been quiet. The major candidates did not discuss what many pundits view as the major issues, like growing income inequality and even Syria. Why do you think that is?

CS: That is baffling everybody around. None of the issues – like the NSA, Syria, of anything else – have surfaced. More discussed is that Merkel is wearing a special necklace or that the head of the Social Democrats is giving the bad finger. Major policies do not seem to be of interest for the German electorate. It cannot be understood. I can’t see why people are not interested in major issues, but that is the fact.

RT:Let's take a look at the scandal surrounding the NSA's surveillance of Germans, which did create some heat in an otherwise calm campaign. How do you think it affected the election?

CS: It did not affect it at all. If it had done, the Pirate Party –which are already in four regional parliaments – would have definitely gained much more support for their current activities. But the Pirates are hovering around 2-3 percent and they are not going to get into the parliament even though internet activities are their main issue. That shows again that the German electorate basically says: “Ok, the NSA scandal was what it is but it does not really bother us. We have to take a certain degree of measures. There are spies even in the internet, there were always spies. So if life veers now more to the internet, then they are spying on the internet as well.” But the German population does not seem to care much.