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.

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    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

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