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NUMERO 24 - 19/12/2018

 Which Germany after the Vote: the 'case' in the Media

An initial glance at an electoral district map showing which parties emerged victorious on Sunday reveals a common pattern: District after district is shaded in the familiar colors of black, signifying Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, red for the Social Democrats (SPD) and violet for the Left Party. But in the east, there are also scattered patches of light blue, the color used to denote the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD). And those patches bear witness to the epochal shift that Germany's political party landscape has experienced. The success of the right-wing populists becomes even more obvious if you take a look at a similar map showing the parties that came in second in each district. The AfD easily beat out the Greens, the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) and the Left Party to become the third largest party in the Bundestag, Germany's parliament. Its nationwide total was 12.6 percent, but it received more votes than any other party in the state of Saxony, where it ended up with 27 percent of the vote. Across all of eastern Germany, including what used to be East Berlin, the party received 21.5 percent of the vote according to the pollsters at Infratest dimap, putting it in second place in the region behind Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), who garnered 26 percent of votes. Where did the party's voters come from? According to calculations performed after polls closed on Sunday, 1.47 million non-voters cast their first-ever ballot for the AfD, a statistic which also helps explain the increase in Election Day turnout, from 72.4 percent in 2013 to 76.2 percent on Sunday. In addition, 1 million people who had traditionally voted for the CDU or its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), decided to support the right-wing populists. The center-left Social Democrats lost 500,000 voters to the AfD while the far-left Left Party saw 400,000 defections… (continues)

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