News / Europe

    Voters Punish Germany's Merkel Over Migrant Policy

    An election official waits in a polling station in Stoessen, Germany, March 13, 2016. Federal state elections will be held in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt on Sunday.
    An election official waits in a polling station in Stoessen, Germany, March 13, 2016. Federal state elections will be held in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt on Sunday.
    VOA News

    A nationalist, anti-immigrant party has won seats in three German regional elections, a result seen as a major rebuke to Chancellor Angela Merkel's open immigration policy.

    The 3-year-old Alternative for Deutschland party, or AfD, won representation in the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate in prosperous southwestern Germany, and in Saxony-Anhalt, an economically disadvantaged area in the eastern part of the country, according to results and exit polls broadcast on German state TV.

    The elections were the first major political test since Germany registered nearly 1.1 million people as asylum seekers last year.

    The AfD won 15 percent of the vote in Baden-Wuerttemberg and almost 13 percent in Rhineland-Palatinate, according to official results. The party finished second in Saxony-Anhalt with 24 percent, according to projections by ARD and ZDF television, with most districts counted.

    "There is only one path, a Merkel unity path, and people want an alternative, they want a real opposition and we want to take on that task," Andre Poggenburg, AfD leader in Saxony-Anhalt in the former East Germany, told Reuters news agency after voting.

    'Litmus test'

    Duesseldorf University political scientist Jens Walther told the French news agency AFP, "These elections are very important ... as they will serve as a litmus test for the government's disputed policy" on refugees.

    The loss is seen as a major blow for the chancellor, as she tries to use her status as Europe's most powerful leader to reach an agreement between the European Union and Turkey to stem the flow of migrants.

    Merkel has been under growing pressure to close Germany to migrants -- many of them Syrians, and others, fleeing war -- but she has refused to impose a cap on the number of arrivals. She is pushing, through the EU, a European-wide action that calls for distributing refugees among the EU's 28-member bloc on a proportional basis.

    You May Like

    Can EU Survive a Brexit?

    Across Europe politicians are asking if the British vote to leave the European Union will set in motion dynamics that will see other member states leave too

    Video Entrepreneurs at Global Summit Tackle Range of Challenges

    Innovators strive to halt sexual harassment in India, improve rural health in Myanmar, build businesses in Africa

    Key African Anti-Venom About to Permanently Run Out

    The tale of Fav-Afrique’s demise is a complicated one that reflects a deeper crisis brewing in global public health

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    by: Alice from: Canada
    March 14, 2016 8:06 PM
    Chancellor Angela Merkel decision to invite (!) undocumented migrants to enter Germany freely was/is madness. The migrants/refugees were safe staying Turkey. No one was shooting at them in Turkey. They had rudimentary housing, food, clothes, and schooling. It was not great but it was/is safe. They are entering the EU for their economic improvement. It is impossible to verify who these migrants really are. How many are Islamic State operatives or just criminals? Chancellor Angela Merkel is destroying the EU with her absurd invitation to every Muslim on earth to move to Europe.

    by: Ricardo from: Brazil
    March 14, 2016 7:27 PM
    What Chancellor Angela Merkel is doing should be considered a crime against Germany. She's not taking into account the will of their own people. The consequences of her actions will be severe and last forever.

    Fortunately the Republican Party did not allow the same to happen in the United States.

    by: Mason from: USA
    March 14, 2016 5:05 AM
    From the moment Merkel said Germany would welcome all refugees, I always knew voters would punish her. Her decision was the most naïve thing one could ever think of. After she exists, she would not be remembered fondly by majority of German people. Same great mistake Obama has made on the U.S. side, by thinking the primary job of a U.S. president is to cater for illegal immigrants and enemies of the U.S.

    by: lone eagle from: Bangkok, Thailand
    March 14, 2016 4:19 AM
    Well now that the Donald Drumpf anti-illegal immigrant stance, oops I meant the Donald Trump anti-illegal immigrant stance has now crossed the Atlantic into Germany.

    by: Anonymous
    March 13, 2016 7:51 PM
    What on Earth was she thinking? Did she believe she'd come out of this wretched mess unscathed? Watch Germany become more right wing and kick out all the scummy undocumented criminal trespassers.

    by: Anonymous
    March 13, 2016 3:10 PM
    The German people will speak and they WILL be heard!!!! The German culture is WORTH saving. The third world trash, not so much.

    by: BigRide from: My Town
    March 13, 2016 2:34 PM
    I hope they can get out all these invaders

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Marketsi
    June 24, 2016 10:43 AM
    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

    Video Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Markets

    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Video During Ramadan, Faith and Football Converge in Lebanon’s Megadome

    In Beirut, a group of young entrepreneurs has combined its Muslim faith and love of football to create the city's newest landmark: a large, Ramadan-ready dome primed for one of the biggest football (soccer) tournaments in the world. But as the faithful embrace the communal spirit of Islam’s holy month, it is not just those breaking their fasts that are welcome.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora