The results of the German parliamentary elections (in the Bundestag, the Federal Diet) are very worrying. Yet it was not totally unexpected because these elections come after many others just as disturbing but quickly forgotten by the liberal, Europeanist, political and media optimism. They become excited a moment for results considered as catastrophic and forget them the next day having found the miracle cure: close their eyes and continue or accentuate the policy sanctioned by the voters.
The nomenclature of the European Union (EU) has already been disappointed on several occasions.
In France, in 2002, the Front National (FN) participated in the second round of a presidential election to which Jean-Marie Le Pen obtained 17.8% of the votes. In 2017, Marine Le Pen did much better: 33.9%!
But the voting method helps, Emmanuel Macron is elected by a very large majority, as any candidate would have been facing Marine Le Pen. The newly elected, strong of these results and of an exorbitant constitutional power, can engage resolutely in a policy approved by a quarter of the electors.
The FN is virtually excluded from the National Assembly and all oppositions are very limited.
Between these two presidential elections, the no won in the referendum of 2005 on the proposal of European Constitution. But the politicians, right and left confused, despised the result. The parliament adopted the text, little modified, refused by the French people.
Everything is for the best in the best of democratic worlds …
At the European level, whenever a people has said no to a question asked about the EU, politicians have erased this result, sometimes by a new vote of the people.
In Hungary, Viktor Orbán, leader of the Fidesz (1), supporter of the national revolution and a very conservative policy has been in power since 2010. On bases close to those of the AfD today.
In October 2015, the Poles gave an absolute majority to Democratic Right and Justice (PiS), a conservative and Eurosceptic party.
In December 2016, in Austria, in the first round of the presidential election, the candidates of the two parties of government, Social Democratic and Conservative, are eliminated. In the second round, great satisfaction: the green candidate is elected President of the Republic, the far right candidate gets only 48.3% of the vote.
There are more demanding satisfactions.
In the Netherlands, in March 2017, the Prime Minister’s Popular Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) led the legislative elections by losing 8 seats compared to the previous election in 2012 and its Social Democratic partner, the Labor Party (PvdA) receives only 5.7% of the votes and gets only 9 elected (29 seats lost).
This defeat of the ruling parties is hailed as a victory because Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) did worse than it could have hoped for and only got 13.1% of the vote and 20 deputies (5 seats won).
Since then, the Netherlands is looking for a government …
In January 2015, Greek citizens brought Syriza and Alexis Tsipras to power, challenging the Greek government’s austerity policy and its European tutelage. Notably Angela Merkel.
Greece has not finished paying for this crime and has been on the brink of expulsion from the EU.
Everywhere, the parties of government, whether in power or in alternation with the government and the opposition, lose ground here on the right, there on the left, or on both.
Germany was exceptional for its apparent stability until the last parliamentary elections (2). However, the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland, Alternative for Germany) progressed to the various elections.
The AfD was created in 2013 by economics professors on an anti-euro, liberal, Russian-speaking program. It has evolved into anti-immigration and anti-islam party.
A few months after its foundation, it shortly missed its entry in the Bundestag with more than 2 million votes, or 4.7%. She would have had to collect 5%!
In the European elections in 2014, it obtained 7% of the votes and 7 out of 96 deputies. Since 2014, in every regional election, the AFD obtains elected representatives: in all, it currently has elected people in 13 regions out of 16 (3 regions in 2014 , 2 in 2015, 5 in 2016, 3 in 2017), reaching up to 20.8% in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and 24.3% in Saxony-Anhalt. In the 2017 legislative elections, with nearly 6 million votes (12.6%), it became the third party in Germany and elected 94 deputies (out of 709).
Angela Merkel, designated 10 times (2006-2009 and 2011-2016) as the most powerful woman in the world, became Mutti, the mother of the nation and, recently, by journalists like Jakob Augstein, « the mother of the monster « .
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of powerful Germany for 12 years, can not be held to be irresponsible of the disaffection for the EU, in all even the most Europhile countries, and the rise of the extreme right across the EU. Angela Merkel and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, have imposed their austerity policies on all EU countries, with the more or less forced, more or less enthusiastic agreement of national governments.
In France, the economic and social policy of the German government is presented as the model, often with some oversights: development of renewable energies, stoppage of nuclear energy, immigration …
Until the last few weeks, politicians and the media have been praised for its excellent results: thanks to the reforms of Gerhard Schröder, Social Democratic Chancellor 1998 -2005, and to the policy followed by Angela Merkel and her coalition governments with the SPD (2005), the FDP (2009) and again the SPD (2013): growth rate at the highest, partly boosted by the arrival of immigrants (3), unemployment divided by three in twelve years, falling government debt, positive balance of public finances, strong trade balance, particularly with other EU states
More recently, data have been published that are known but discreetly ignored because they are less flattering and less appealing: doubling the percentage of the poor population since 2015 and the number of working poor, with full employment obtained with mini-jobs. In addition to the 2.5 million official unemployed, 1 million people are underemployed and many of them are working poor who are not counted as unemployed. Increase of 30% of poor pensioners … cities in budget crisis, poor state of infrastructure due to lack of investment
Finally, the policy of rigor has exacerbated the cleavage between countries of northern and southern Europe. But even in so-called prosperous countries such as the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Austria and now Germany … the development of inequalities, an increase in the number of very rich and poor, leads to the emergence of contestation. The CDU / CSU of Angela Merkel and Worfgang Schäuble has clearly won the legislative elections but with the lowest rate since 1949. And since 1933, for the SPD, its ally to the government in the last legislature !!!
This is the sanction of the policy followed since Gerhard Schröder by the two governing parties, CDU / CSU and SPD.
Faced with the success of the AfD, only the Liberal Party (FDP) has improved its position. Belonging to the government, it did not reach the 5% in 2012 and was no longer present in the Bundestag. He returned to it because of his evolution towards European skepticism.
The entry into the Bundestag, for the first time since the end of World War II, of a far-right party created a shock. Demonstrations took place on Sunday 24 September in the evening in several German cities in Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin. Here the cries of « all Berlin hates the Nazis« , « Nazis out » or « racism is not an alternative« , « we are united, you are shit« , « crush nationalism » …
It is not clear that this is the right way to stop the AfD’s progress. The French experience has shown the limits of this type of manifestation.
The SPD decided not to participate in the next coalition government, not because its policy was bad for the population, for Germany or for the EU, it was the party who was behind with Gerhard Schröder, which supported it during two of the three mandates of Angela Merkel: 8 out of 16 ministers in the Merkel I cabinet, including those of Labor and Social Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Finance; 6 out of 16 in the Merkel III cabinet, including those from the Economy and Energy (4), Foreign Affairs, Labor and Social Affairs … But because of the bad results in the elections.
There is no doubt that it will profit from its passage in the opposition to give color to its future program … to win votes … But what degree of confidence will the German voters be able to grant it?
The Merkel IV government announced could regroup the CDU / CSU, the FDP and the Grünen (the Greens). Difficulty due to divergent positions of the FDP and the Grünen on the EU. That is to say that only Die Linke who defends an anti-liberal line and democratic socialism could embody a left-wing opposition, which has not been the case so far while the SPD was in government. This is likely to be even more difficult with an SPD officially in opposition
1 – The Fidesz for Fiatal Demokraták Szövetsége (Alliance of Young Democrats) is the most common name of the party chaired by Viktor Orbán. From 1995, its official name was Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Párt (Hungarian Civic Party), and from 2003 Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség (Hungarian Civic Alliance).
2-Results: CDU / CSU: 32.93% (-8.6), SPD: 20.51 (-5.2), AfD: 12.64 (+7.9), FDP: 6), Die Linke: 9.24 (+0.7), Die Grünen 8.94 (+0.5).
3 – Growth in the German economy, which stands at 1.9% in 2016, is half a percentage point higher than the average of the previous ten years (1.4%). The increase in government spending and the overall increase in consumption due to the arrival of refugees have had a strong spillover effect on the economy. Le Monde Économie, 13/01/17.
4 – Shortly after his retirement from politics, Gerhard Schröder was appointed head of the consortium for the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, the first partner of which is the Russian company Gazprom (Wikipedia).