Time for alternative parties in Germany, not ‘lesser evil’

Around one-third of Germans did not show up to vote in the Parliamentary election, while a large number of those that did are not represented. According to journalist Manuel Ochsenreiter, Germans no longer wish to vote for the ‘lesser evil.’

Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Party may celebrate the opportunity to continue with its major initiatives due to a large majority in the Parliament. But they would be mistaken in thinking that their victory is a true reflection of Germany’s political sentiments, according to Ochsenreiter, the editor-in-chief of the German monthly news magazine, Zuerst.

RT:With Merkel coming out a winner again, will her government be strong enough this time around to push her policies through?

Manuel Ochsenreiter: Yes, I think they won’t change too many things, if we compare the next four years of Angela Merkel to the last four years. We have to see an all-important decisive project of Angela Merkel…she has a vast majority in the Parliament, who support the big decisive projects. Let me give you two examples. The first example is how to rescue the Euro – the Euro rescue project. Another example is in foreign politics: to send German soldiers on foreign missions. It will not change so much, because in the decisive projects she has the majority.

RT:The brand new party, Alternative for Germany, almost got into Parliament with 4.7 percent of the vote – was this a surprise to you?

MO: When we talk about the AFD, we have to see that we are really talking about here with the oppositional party. I told you before that for the big projects, like the Euro rescue project, Merkel can rely on a vast majority in the Parliament. The AFD is a Euro-skeptic party; it would be a new party. We know from polls that in Germany almost 20-30 percent of the people would support a Euro-skeptic party, so it’s not a surprise they almost had 5 percent. For a lot of people it’s a pity that they didn’t get into the Parliament. But of course, also for Germany, it is a way of democracy also to give a voice to those people who oppose Angela Merkel’s politics towards the European Union and against the rescue project of the Euro currency.

Germany's fledgling anti-euro party Alternative for Germany (Alternative fuer Deutschland, AfD) members play a scene with a person wearing a mask featuring German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) and AfD members extinguishing a fire set on fake Euro Banknotes during an electoral action in front of the Brandenburg Gate on September 16, 2013 in Berlin, ahead of the General election. (AFP Photo / Barbara Sax)

RT:So, in your opinion, why are we seeing so many non-mainstream parties gain strength in Germany?

MO: Firstly, we have to analyze the election we had yesterday [on Sunday]. The first point is that we have a huge party nobody’s talking about – and that is the party of the non-voters. Almost one-third of the Germans didn’t participate in the elections yesterday. In 2009 there were a little bit more who didn’t participate. So, almost one-third of the people aren’t represented in the Parliament. Then we have to see that almost 15 percent of the people who participated yesterday are not represented in the Parliament. This means there are all the voters for the Euro-skeptic party AFD; these are the voters for the Liberal Party and for the other parties who reached around 6 percent. So, we see that this so-called ‘huge majority’ for Angela Merkel is not so huge anymore, when we take into account that so many people are not represented in our Parliament. And this is a sign of crisis. A crisis of democracy in Germany and it’s time for alternative parties who speak out for what those people think and what those people mean.  And they don’t always want to vote for the lesser evil. They want to vote for a party they can support with their heart. And so I think, yes, it’s time for alternative parties, for example – the Alternative für Deutschland.