Germany: ‘Mass hack attack’ against politicians raises eyebrows in Berlin | Euractiv

Hackers posted personal data, including credit card details and mobile phone numbers, of hundreds of German politicians, national media reported on Friday (4 January). All major German parties except for the far-right AfD have been affected, the report said. The identity of the hackers and their motive are not known yet. The data, published on a Twitter account seen by EURACTIV, also included addresses, personal letters, and copies of identity cards, the public broadcaster said. The data was spread on Twitter before Christmas, staged as an advent calendar, but the breach was not noticed until Thursday evening. The operator of the account in question claims to be based in Hamburg and had more than 17.000 followers as of Friday morning. Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the report as it was initially open if all data is authentic.

Germany: Russia trip exposes Alternative for Germany ties to Moscow | Handelsblatt

It’s hardly a secret that the Alternative for Germany party (known as the AfD in German) is a huge fan of Vladimir Putin. Unlike other German parties, the anti-immigrant group is prone to vocally endorsing the Russian president and his policies, both at home and abroad. And the appreciation is clearly mutual. But this time, the AfD’s cozying to Moscow may backfire. The German parliament has opened an administrative inquiry into a trip to Moscow that three leading AfD members took in early 2017, according to German media. Earlier this month, it emerged that an unidentified Russian sponsor paid for the private jet that flew them back to Berlin, footing a €25,400 bill. The AfD delegation was made up of then-party leader Frauke Petry, her husband Marcus Pretzell, who at the time was also a key party figure, and Julian Flak, a lawmaker in Saxony’s state parliament. Both Mr. Pretzell and Mr. Flak have confirmed the reports. However, they declined to say which person or organization paid for the trip.

Germany: Far right’s Frauke Petry plans new political party in Germany | Politico

Frauke Petry said she plans to form a new political group in the German parliament after leaving the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). Petry, the party’s former leader who quit following the group’s stunning election results last week, told newspaper Welt am Sonntag in an interview Sunday that she wants to form a new party in the Bundestag, but would not reveal what it would be called. She also said that she and her colleagues would “soon form a group and perhaps a faction” with the goal of running in the 2019 Saxon regional parliament election. Still, Petry said she does not hope to see members leaving the AfD en masse along with her.

Germany: Is Germany’s election result ‘the revenge of the East’? | The Guardian

Two days after a historic vote saw an overtly nationalist party enter the German parliament for the first time in more than five decades, a group of over-60s vent their grievances over lunchtime beers and cigarettes in the smoky back room of a dry petrol station on the border between the German state of Saxony and the Czech Republic. The German government is throwing cash at refugees “while native pensioners can’t afford to buy a new pair of glasses”, they complain. Putin is Europe’s “only guarantor of peace”, they argue, and Germany is still “under occupation” by America. A retired lorry driver with a handlebar moustache cites a joke he read in the tabloid Bild, which says that in the wake of Sunday’s federal elections, Angela Merkel should consider handing Saxony to the Czechs in exchange for some of their toxic waste. “Let’s have it,” he shouts. “We’ll become Sudeten Germans again.”

Germany: How Russian Voters Fueled the Rise of Germany’s Far-Right | Time

While fighting for a seat in the German parliament over the last few months, Sergej Tschernow, a candidate for the right-wing Alternative for Germany, or AfD, knew that he could only rely on a few media outlets to give his party the coverage it craves: the Russian ones. “They show our points of view in full,” he told TIME on Election Day, Sunday Sept. 24, when the AfD became the first far-right movement to enter into the German legislature since the end of World War II, winning a remarkable 13% of the vote and going from zero to more than 90 seats in a chamber of 631 lawmakers. The party’s rise has been caused by a range of factors, not least the widespread frustrations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose political party, the Christian Democratic Union, had one of the worst showings in its history on Sunday. It won only 33% of the vote – most likely enough to secure Merkel a fourth term in office, but hardly the commanding lead the CDU anticipated.

Editorials: Like it or not, the far right is heading for Germany’s Bundestag | Alan Posener/The Guardian

On the face of it, Sunday’s general election will be the most boring in Germany’s history. The only question seems to be: will chancellor Angela Merkel continue her “grand coalition“ with the Social Democrats (SPD), or will she rule with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) or the Greens, or both? One thing, however, seems as certain as Merkel’s continued premiership, and it’s more important: the far-right populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party will enter the Bundestag. Polls put it at 10% or more. For the first time since the Reichstag fire of 1933, a nationalist, reactionary, racist party will sit in the building where the republic was proclaimed in 1918, where Nazis and communists helped destroy the democracy of Weimar, where the red flag was raised by Soviet soldiers in 1945, and which – redesigned by British architect Norman Foster – has come to represent the modern, multicultural and friendly Germany the world saw during the football World Cup in 2006, when Merkel had been in office for just one year.

Germany: A far-right grouping may become the biggest opposition party in Germany | The Washington Post

Frauke Petry, the head of Germany’s new AfD party, just spent a few days in Moscow to build connections with Russian politicians. The AfD party is one of a number of right-wing populist parties that have sprung up in Europe over the last few years. While it is not as well established as France’s National Front party — which is leading in some polls for the forthcoming French presidential election — it has representatives in 10 of 16 German states (this is tough under Germany’s electoral law, which discriminates against small parties through imposing electoral thresholds). Its influence on political debates in Germany is far bigger than its number of elected politicians would suggest. So what is the AfD, and how is it changing German politics?

Germany: Far Right rises again in Germany |

Five days after Donald Trump became the next president of the United States, the south Munich chapter of Germany’s far-right party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), held its first meeting since the U.S. election. In a traditional Bavarian tavern on a quiet residential street, 50-some party members and supporters drank beer and celebrated the victory that they felt was, in many ways, their own. The theme of the meeting was supposed to be the local elections in May, when the AfD is expected to pick up seats in several of Germany’s state parliaments. (The party currently holds seats in 10 of Germany’s 16 state parliaments, up from five one year ago.) But instead of local elections, talk that night centered almost exclusively on Donald Trump. Dirk Driesang, a member of AfD’s federal board, stood to address the packed restaurant, where party placards reading “AfD Loves Deutschland” adorned every table. He began with Trump’s roots in Germany. The president-elect’s grandfather Friedrich was born and raised in Kallstadt, a village in the southwest. Friedrich eventually was deported, Driesang smiled as he told the crowd, for evading his mandatory military service. But that was fine because his grandson had gone on to do in the U.S. what the AfD hopes to do in Germany. “America First is coming to Deutschland,” boomed Driesang, his adaptation of Trump’s campaign slogan giving way to resounding applause.

Germany: Angela Merkel’s party suffers slump in Berlin election | The Guardian

Berlin is likely to get the first leftwing triple-coalition government in its history, after Angela Merkel’s CDU party and the ruling Social Democrats both plummeted to their lowest result in the Germany capital. Centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) came out top with 21.6% of the vote, ahead of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) on 17.5%. Leftwing Die Linke came third on 15.7%, ahead of the Greens on 15.1%. Anti-immigration populists Alternative für Deutschland are set to enter the German capital’s state parliament for the first time, with 14.1%. Days before the election, mayor Michael Müller had warned that a double-digit score for the AfD “would be seen around the world as a sign of the return of the rightwing and the Nazis in Germany”.

Germany: Far-Right Overtakes Angela Merkel’s Bloc in Elections in Her Home State | The New York Times

Voters in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political home state delivered her a stinging rebuke on Sunday, propelling a far-right party to second place in the state legislature, ahead of her center-right bloc. It is the first time in an election in modern Germany that a far-right party has overtaken Ms. Merkel’s bloc of Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union. Official results released early Monday showed that Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democrats had received 19 percent of the vote, against 21 percent for the far-right Alternative for Germany. The center-left Social Democrats, with whom Ms. Merkel governs nationally, got 31 percent in the state, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and are likely to continue their coalition there with Ms. Merkel’s bloc. The vote took place a year to the day after Ms. Merkel agreed with Austria that the two countries would admit thousands of mostly Syrian refugees then trapped in Hungary, with several hundred desperately marching on foot toward the West.

Germany: Far-right AfD claws back some support after attacks | Reuters

The anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany (Afd) gained support as Germany was hit by a spate of attacks this month, including by Islamist militants, but support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives held steady, a poll showed. Germany remains deeply unsettled after 15 people were killed and dozens wounded in five separate attacks between July 18-July 26. Two were claimed by Islamic State, and three of the attackers were asylum seekers. This has led to accusations that Merkel’s open-door refugee policy is to blame, under which over a million migrants, many fleeing war in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, entered Germany in the past year. An Emnid poll for weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag showed support for the AfD rising by 2 percentage points from the prior week to 12 percent. The poll was conducted between July 21 and July 27.

Germany: Anti-immigration party in Germany hits crisis over MP’s antisemitism | The Guardian

Germany’s anti-immigration party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has been plunged into a leadership crisis over antisemitic views expressed by one of its MPs. Thirteen members of the AfD, including the co-leader of the party that is currently polling between 9% and 14%, walked out of its parliamentary group in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg on Wednesday in protest at the failure to expel fellow MP Wolfgang Gedeon. Comments made by Gedeon in a book published in 2012 surfaced in the media after he entered state parliament following regional elections in March. In the book, entitled Green Communism and the Dictatorship of Minorities, Gedeon compares Holocaust deniers such as David Irving to Chinese dissidents, claiming, among other things, that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a faked historical pamphlet purporting to outline a Jewish plan to control the global economy and media, were in fact real. Holocaust denial is a criminal offence in Germany.

Germany: Election bruises Merkel, but isn’t a knockout blow | Reuters

“It’s the refugees, stupid.” That might as well have been the catchphrase in Sunday’s regional elections in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition suffered a crushing defeat. A budget surplus of 19 billion euros and the lowest unemployment rate in 25 years weren’t enough to keep the loyalty of voters in three states. The 1 million asylum seekers who reached Germany in 2015 — and the prospect of a similar number arriving this year — turned these elections into a referendum on Merkel’s refugee policy. The right-wing populist party, Alternative for Germany (AfD) burst into all three regional legislatures, winning not only a quarter of the vote in Saxony-Anhalt, a rustbelt state in the former East Germany, but also 15 percent in wealthy Baden-Wuerttemberg, according to preliminary results. The AfD was founded as an anti-euro party during the Greek debt crisis, but has since taken a hard line on refugees. The upstart party now holds seats in half of Germany’s 16 state assemblies.

Germany: Voters Punish Angela Merkel Over Migrant Policy in State Elections | Wall Street Journal

German voters dealt a stinging rebuke to Chancellor Angela Merkel and her open-door refugee policy in three state elections Sunday, delivering historic gains for an upstart anti-immigrant party and showing how the migration crisis is scrambling politics in Europe’s largest economy. The populist Alternative for Germany, which focused its campaign on opposition to Ms. Merkel’s migrant policy, won nearly a quarter of the vote in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt. The result—several percentage points higher than recent polls had suggested—represents the party’s best total in a regional election since its founding three years ago. The party, known as the AfD, also won parliamentary seats in two former West German states, giving it representation in eight of the country’s 16 state legislatures. That strengthens the AfD’s status as a significant political force to the right of Ms. Merkel’s conservative bloc—a turning point that her Christian Democrats long tried to prevent.

Germany: A right-wing party in Germany hopes to capitalize on anti-migrant anger | The Washington Post

In a new German political ad, a young woman in a dimly lighted underground crossing gazes directly into the camera. She flashes a concerned look, then references the series of sexual assaults in the city of Cologne allegedly committed by migrants on New Year’s Eve. “I want to feel carefree and safe when I go out,” the woman says in the spot. Afterward, a voice demands the deportation of criminal migrants. Sponsored by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party ahead of key local elections this Sunday, the ad is heralding the rise of a new brand of right-wing populism in this nation still haunted by its Nazi past.